Resident Evil: The Final Chapter may kill off $1 billion zombie franchise
ZOMBIES are remarkable predators: voracious, relentless, untouched by emotion and virtually unstoppable (so long as they don't lose their heads). The slavering undead have risen time and again in the Resident Evil film series, based on the popular Capcom video games.
British director Paul WS Anderson kick-started the cinematic blood-letting in 2002 with Ukrainian-born actress Milla Jovovich cast in the role of feisty warrior Alice. Since then, there have been four gore-slathered sequels of diminishing purpose and plausibility, and Anderson has married his leading lady.
The sixth iteration of zombie-slaying mayhem promises to hammer a final nail into the franchise's rapidly rotting coffin. But since Alice's exploits have generated in excess of $1 billion, don't be surprised if Resident Evil: The Final Chapter – which features Irish actor Eoin Macken – turns out to be a misnomer.
The flimsy story unfolds shortly after events of Resident Evil: Retribution.
Alice (Jovovich) has been left for dead in the smouldering ruins of Washington DC by sunglasses-clad assassin Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), one of the shadowy figures behind the Umbrella Corporation, which released the T-Virus and transformed humanity into snarling predators.
The plucky heroine fends off creatures above and below the rubble-strewn ground until Umbrella's computer operating system, The Red Queen (Ever Anderson), unexpectedly makes contact and urges Alice to return to the epicentre of the outbreak, The Hive. The Red Queen claims some of the 4,472 uninfected humans on the planet can be saved if an airborne antivirus, secretly engineered by the corporation, is released within 48 hours.
Alice is understandably suspicious of the operating system's motives. Nevertheless, she screeches and scythes her way back to Raccoon City. En route, the gun-toting angel of death clashes with conniving Dr Isaacs (Iain Glen) and seeks refuge with a ragtag group of survivors.
Alas, a zombie horde is heading straight for them, so they must gather weapons, muster courage and brace for one last stand.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is indistinguishable from previous instalments, and edited with the same dizzying fury. Director Anderson orchestrates a greatest hits apocalypse, reviving familiar computer-generated beasties – zombie dogs, the Licker – and death sequences while crudely bolting together action-packed set pieces by borrowing liberally from the vehicular slaughter of Mad Max: Fury Road and the wanton flesh-ripping of The Walking Dead.
Jovovich cartwheels, pirouettes and punches through each tiresome showpiece, spewing one-liners as she dispatches foes in lurid close-up.
"My name is Alice. This is my story, the end of my story," she purrs in a voiceover that neatly plugs holes in the series' narrative.
RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER (15, 106 mins) Horror/Action/Thriller/Romance. Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter, Ever Anderson, Shawn Roberts, Eoin Macken, William Levy, Ruby Rose. Director: Paul WS Anderson