Plot: What’s it about?
All good things must end. Now, I seriously doubt many people will consider the Resident Evil films to be good things, but the final entry is here. Or so it seems. I admit that I was a fan of the 2002 original film. I recall a review stating that it’s one of the rare video game based films that doesn’t feel like you’re watching a friend play. Something about it just seemed fresh and exciting back in 2002. Now, with each passing sequel, my interest began to wear off quickly I found the stories to be less involving, and too often a case of “Been there, done that”, so to speak. Heck, even the 4th film toyed jumped on the 3D train during its theatrical release, but that couldn’t compensate for the stale feeling. I sat out the next film in theaters, but eventually saw it home video. I don’t know what got in me, but for one reason or another, I chose to see The Final Chapter in theaters this past January. I think it was the knowledge that it would be the last entry, and I had felt invested at this point. I must say that while I’d hardly call this 6th and (supposed) final entry a great film, it still satisfies in a strange way. Let’s see what it’s all about.
The film throws us right into the action as the opening moments get us up to speed. I’m never a fan of a film spelling things out for an audience too much, but Alice (Mila Jovovich) gives us a nice opening narration. It gives us the essentials of what went down across the previous 5 films, and nicely brings us back into its world. True that the plot isn’t the selling point behind a film like this, but I that with this entry we have more of a hook than we did before. We learn of Dr. James Marcus, founder of the Umbrella Corporation and his ailing daughter. She had a premature aging disease, and he was trying to find a cure for her. Marcus discovered the T-Virus which could save his daughter, but had negative side effects as well. There was an incident in Raccoon City that caused a boy’s death. When he learned of this, the Dr. tried to have the program shut down, but another Doctor, Alexander Isaacs continued to keep the T-Virus going. We then cut to Alice who’s still trying to fend off zombies and other potential threats to her. We learn that Alice must return to Raccoon City to the hive. There has been a development at Raccoon City that’ll kill off everyone that has been infected by the T-Virus, thus saving the rest of mankind before it’s wiped out. While Alice travels to get there, she has Isaacs on her tail. That’s essentially the plot, but it’s actually a good and concise one this time around. The race against the clock element is good for a film like this as there’s an impending threat that can’t be stopped. That is unless Alice arrives to Raccoon City on time. There’s plenty of carnage along the way.
I admit that I was worried my issues with the previous sequels would plague this film as the novelty had worn off. Still, something about this entry somehow worked for me. I enjoyed that Alice’s journey felt more cinematic this time around, and the stakes seemed higher than before. The plot is simple, but effective enough to keep us with it. It’s fairly straight forward stuff, but there are a few surprises along the way. It thankfully doesn’t overstay its welcome, either. That’s a common problem with many films these days. The Final Chapter turns into a surprisingly effective closing chapter in the long running series.
Video: How’s it look?
Each of the Resident Evil movies have had their own unique look ranging from the stark white of the second one to the earthy-toned third installment. This latest (read: final) installment features a sharp and crisp look and there’s a bit of underlying grain, though it fits well with the theme of the film. The movie was shot for 3D and it shows, but the 2.40:1 HEVC 4K transfer does benefit from HDR whereas the Blu-ray seems a tad bit bland by comparison. Whites are very white, no blooming here and the characters seem a bit muted in comparison to some of the other elements involved. Taking into account the visuals alone, this one is worth checking out.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The Resident Evil movies might be lacking in plot, but they excel in the technical categories. And this Ultra HD version ups the ante by adding a Dolby Atmos soundtrack that really rocks. Let’s see, where should we begin…dialogue is rich and crystal clear and if you can factor out what’s actually being said, it’s amazing. The front stage soaks up most of the action and effects but the LFE are very, very active and take control on more than one occasion. Surrounds are almost constantly humming away adding some depth to the scene. Quite simply, this is one of those discs that you put in to show off your speakers and how loud everything can get. An amazing soundtrack and a worthwhile upgrade in the audio quality alone.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Retaliation Mode – This actually sounds a lot cooler than it actually is. Director Paul W.S. Anderson and actress Milla Jovovich (who are like an old, married couple by now) break down some of the key sequences in the film as well as discuss the franchise as a whole.
- Stunts & Weaponry – Paul W.S. Anderson, among others, discusses some of the techniques and input that the cast members have in the fight scenes. He describes the progression of Alice’s character and how her fighting has improved and adapted for this film. A look at the different types of weapons in the film are profiled as well.
- Explore the Hive – The movie (as well as the cast) head back to where it all started – the hive. Yes, we journey back to Raccoon City and revisit some very familiar places like the killing room floor and the ever-so-lovely glass corridor.
- The Bad Ass Trinity & the Women of Resident Evil – We start off with a quote from Director Paul W.S. Anderson who quotes Jean-Luc Goddard “all you need is a girl and a gun…” and that we have. Some of the stronger female roles are profiled as are our attraction to them.
- Sneak Peek: Resident Evil: Vendetta – A look at the new video game from Capcom.
- Previews – Other Sony titles are featured.
The Bottom Line
I had long grown tired with these films, and was expecting that same feeling to hit me here. Surprisingly, this 6th and final entry proves entertaining. The plot is simple yet effective enough to make us care and keep us with it. Whether you’ve followed the films and just want to see how it all ends, or you’re simply curious, this chapter comes recommended.