Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter ★★★★

Paul W.S. Anderson hears your complaints about action editing being comprised of too many quick, incoherent cuts, and goes lightspeed, trading in the geometric and slow-mo action of Retribution for the messiest, most hyperactive camerawork you'll ever see. Blink and you'll miss a couple frames -- entire punches, kicks, and stabbing motions lost in milliseconds. It's like the whole thing is played on fast forward.

The craziest part isn't that I actively defend this entire franchise towards my very film-oriented friend group, or that I defend it at all (the reasoning for that is evident in this write-up, and in the dozens of conversations that we've had about the series); it's that Anderson's action makes so much sense. His experimentation goes against my understanding of how I understand images -- his frames blend into each other, and it feels almost as if I'm subconsciously discerning each movement. The characters effortlessly cycle through weapons, incorporate the environment, and interact through each edit. Some of the sequences manage to be more poetic than that. Sometimes the sound bleeds through and almost feels a part of the physical landscape. At one point, a strobe effect practically conveys the intensity of an action scene, without the actual presence of one. Shit's wild man.

It's like the peak of one of those "Bee movie but everytime they say bee it speeds up" videos, where the images only speed up to the point where they start skipping, and the sound maxes out at a high pitched beep.

And then there's the revisionism of the prologue, which rewrites itself into making little sense, and the technological revisionism, which ups the scale and the stakes of each fight with neither set-up nor explanation, and that wild corporate plot that seems to come out of nowhere. Its premise has transcended the simplicity or need of its source material, or of any of the earlier films, really, and it's all just a sandbox for Anderson to create the most "action" setpieces possible.

Though whatever prior topical resonance that come with the surveillance camera aesthetics or the digital globalist plots still stand. I'm a sucker for reading too much into films that I want to like.

I almost teared up when it ended.

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