Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

“Albert Wesker, you’re fire”

Did... Anderson gave a middle finger to the entire audience?
Not only killing one of the most memorable characters of the original canon (and with that every single one that belong to it) and one of the most OP of this series, but literally reducing his role into the servant of the real antagonist, rewriting his entire dynamic to one of an employee, that can be literally defeated with one line of dialogue and a door. It’s beautiful.

If Retribution was about appropriation and understanding the value within the fiction that we have build upon ourselves, The Final Chapter is about reclamation, destroying and building something out of these prisons.
That scene correlates to this new perception, emboding the entire nature of the filmmaking in display and this new narrative. Not only did the ending of Retribution was completely scraped, but a lot from this series has being rewritten to the point that now we are trying to understand what the hell is happening: the T- Virus was created by another person, Alice lost her powers (again), Washington was a hoax, a lot of the characters are death or never make an appearance again, and Dr Isaacs, the villain of the third film, was behind all of this.
This sounds bad, like Rise of the Skywalker level of bad. Not only you already have a bunch of fans angry because you literally torn apart every single one of their favorite characters and plots, but you are literally making a new canon for this series in your final film. It’s imposing itself in extreme ways. And to add more salt in the wound, Anderson met editor Doobie White and now the filmmaking is in nightmare mode, with shots lasting barely seconds and space and time colliding with one and other like if Stan Brakhage made a visit to the editing room. But that’s what makes it so great. Because, unlike RotS, this is commentary on those aspects. He’s rejecting fan expectations and expressing the ideas of these franchise over anything.

Alice's identity is specially emphasized a lot here. Just from the start, as always with these movies, we see the series forming her face, her identity build upon the bad guys that he fought, the horde of zombie that he kill, but also the relationships that he build and lost, and the narrative and role that she has being reduce to -nothing relatable on that-. This is her story being appropriated again, with a past that never existed and a new Alice is (metaphorically and literally) born out of it, but when a sense that everything has lost a place in this universe (the same fear of a surveillance state is as present as ever) means that you already know how these pieces work and is time to go even further, show how chaotic this entire system is.

Apparently, these days “Good” editing means one that is seamless and dynamic rather than having purpose or being alienating, a match cut or a nice transition seems more valuable rather than the context behind it. A lot of films dare to do something this ludicrous and because we are so accommodated to what is “acceptable” we are incapable to view other ways of perceiving an object, a place or a person. But Anderson doesn’t. I agree with Logan Kenny in how the erratic nature of the editing shows how little time Alice has before watching the world ended, the high tension, the urgency that everyone feels at this state of their lives, but also we are talking about Anderson destroying what has characterized him. The beautiful choreography of Afterlife and Retribution is now replaced for senseless expressionism. This film gives more the idea of action rather than the action itself. The colors are off, they seem to shoot a lot of coverage and it seems like they use all of it for one scene, lot of handheld, and sometime unfocused shoots. It’s pure chaos. But all has a reason.
When The Red Queen brought back Alice to the place where everything started, you realize that even she is two steps behind on what Isaacs is doing. When she perceives ways to kill him, Anderson shows different futures in which she can defeat the bad guy with the objects in her environment, different Alices that then are eliminated when we change to Isaac's POV. Because this is what this movie is about. The perspectives are always changing, battling one and other for the spotlight and, like Wesker does, we are perceiving it through monitors, through a digital world that has being consumed because of this hierarchy.
This is the battle now. The world is in decay. Not only Alice, but other characters use the experience they had before the apocalypse, despite the pain they produce to each other (one of the characters build mechanism out of a her experience of job that her father imposed her to do and make her uncomfortable, only to use that to defend her home and people). Everyone (and I think even Anderson) is tire by the act, by following roles and norms. So the best way to solve all of it is to destroy the same rules that people above has imposed them. Rather than wanting the editing to make you understand the visuals, it wants you to focus on the ideas themselves.

Anderson revisits himself, comes back to a religious reading in his work, portraying Isaac not only as the one who thinks that creating a new version of the flood and saving the 1% can save the planet, but he thinks that he is the one who deserves to control it. It’s the kind of fundamentalist view that Anderson since Event Horizon found as oppressing as the space that these characters inhabited. So when OG Isaacs meets his clone, it shows how ridiculous this ideas are and how pathetic this play is. Both believe they are original so when one realizes that’s not the case, he feels desperate for the validation of his beliefs so he kills the original, contrast to the Alices (The trinity of bitches, as Isaacs says) have accept one and the other as individuals with their own humanity. Isaac's ideology will only end with both of them dead, because the power is so arbitrary it comes as delusional to sustain any of this. Best example is the scene that I was referring at the beginning of this writing. Again, Wesker dies (it’s execution sounds like a meme), but this time the original Alice is so pissed that he hold the dream of Umbrella his entire life, being a traitor to the people in that are in his place who try to survive in the same way as him because he feels secure within a role that has dehumanize them so much, she’s the one who makes that happen. And Alice dies with him. In the same way as Southland Tales, the proposition here is simple: make it all burn, all the structures that has supported the oppression of these people and all the people who have directly and indirectly contributed to it. Not only narratives within cinema, but within the industry that made it happen. Not that we will completely eradicate it, the sequels will always resurface like the ending understand. But there’s hope in that assumption, something that we should aspire as Alice does: Understand history, rewrite our present and keep fighting for it.

Alice's story is probably one of my favorite examples of queer subtext in a blockbuster. When she is finally free to make her own choices, to fight for a cause that she created and believed, I felt moved by it (she also lives in an apocalyptic world where capitalism has totally screwed her and everyone around her... so, again, nothing relatable). Milla Jovovich watching footage of her real daughter as the climax of a film is something that I want more. It’s so personal. These memories are as valuable as the one she would create. As valuable as anything in this movie is, despite its flaws. Anderson realizes that this is their baby and they show her to the world without hesitation.

I can understand people not liking this film, or this series, or technically a lot of films that share some of its elements. And it’s fine. Hell, I wasn’t a fan the first time.
But I’m glad other people find something out of these films. I’m glad these movies exist.

(Okay, a little note, but What happened to Olivia Jackson should be more discuss. It’s sad to realize that something that you love had repercussions in someone’s life, and that the creator of said thing was responsable of her suffering. But that people like her exist and that the security of stunt doubles (and everyone involved in this productions) doesn’t have the same value as the storytelling in display needs more attention. Good for her for winning the case, but we have to acknowledge the risks because if not, how many cases will be in which people like her end up with nothing? "I miss my old face. I miss my old body. I miss my old life. At least I now finally have a court judgment that proves this stunt was badly planned and that it was not my fault”)

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