Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

When I first watched this my only excuse for thinking it was just good was apparently a really shit rip (I swear the first time I saw this most of the second half was borderline unwatchably dark but on this viewing its lighting was on point?? imma blame bad rips).

Anyway this is aesthetic heaven, and proof of Anderson's trust in his audience's awareness of the filmic language. Nothing about the cutting is confusing because we as viewers have been trained to process information almost down to the frame. Anderson used that to his advantage with rapid fire cutting where the shots used are actually coherent in their flow and momentum. All of the editing makes perfect sense, it's just escalated for increased tension. The compositions and color grading are pitch perfect. Cutting on movement is smooth as butter. This is the physicality and immersion missing in so many action movies I dislike from recent years. It's a music-like momentum. I shift and react to the movement, I'm as immersed as I can get into an action sequence. I just love so much how it feels to watch The Final Chapter. This is also pretty easily the most moving of the Res Evils and if there's only one thing keeping it from topping Retribution as my favorite it's my preference for the modern leanings of that film. It's a bit of an apples/oranges situation where it all comes down to my aesthetic preference, and while the humanism and style of Final Chapter is as good as it gets, I still find myself more drawn to the existential shenanigans at play in the predecessor. But this is all pointless comparison between two great films, and I guarantee within the next week I'll start jumping back and forth between the two about which one is my "real" favorite.

It's exhilarating to watch this. Retribution doesn't really get much in the way of gut-punch reactions when I watch it because it's more rooted in balletic rhythm (for reference compare the Retribution hallway fight with literally any Final Chapter action sequence), whereas this is more visceral and reliant on increasingly harsh momentum. I thought about how it's practically the filmic version of a Converge track lol. And looking at it now, I realize that this is such a natural and necessary evolution of Anderson's style, since he's still more or less telling the same narrative he's been telling since the first Resident Evil, doomsday clocks, underground death traps, ensembles getting picked off one by one. But his abilities as a storyteller and filmmaker have only gotten stronger and more complex. The anti-capitalist overtones haven't changed much on the surface, but the way they're relayed to the viewer and garner our sympathy has. He shows more intelligence and social awareness than he might've in 2002, there's more layers at play. More overtly clear fascist ideologies being fought against. Also I'm realizing now while writing this that this movie brings up a lot of the same points that First Reformed did funny enough. Obviously towards a notably different end, but the scene of Isaacs making his case for an engineered apocalypse seemed a little eerily similar to Michael's "the end is nigh" speech. I digress. It's also interesting how, to a degree, this moves past the video game/simulation/life-as-a-video-game approach Anderson usually goes for in favor of a grounded sense of reality (note I'm not calling this realism though). Instead of real people trapped in the illusion, these are real people in a real wasteland. Imo I prefer the digital rabbit hole of Retribution but again, apples and oranges. What this does with its chosen path is still really special.

It's such a great film, and even if the broader conceptual scope of Anderson's usual style that I love so much is partially sacrificed, at least it's in favor of an aesthetic so irresistible and a humanism so moving. I'm so excited for Monster Hunter.

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