Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter ★★★

Shooting for post-conversion rather than with legitimate 3-D cameras scrambles the fight choreography and editing, the impossibly time-stretched slo-mo shots and deep compositions of Afterlife and Retribution mostly absent. The profound clarity of the action set-pieces in those films has been replaced by arrangements and edits so ferocious that fights explode into a blur and mash of sound, muted color, motion, light + shadow, blood + fire.

This illegibility has a certain thrilling avant quality, but betrays what makes the series so vivid. The film's palette is muddy, reminiscent of Extinction only without that film's blistering desert light and contrasting deep blues. There's a concerted effort to strip back the maximalist and acinematic elements of Retribution, surely in support of the third act's emotional theming.

Demerits aside, Milla as Alice is still a relentless, hyper-credible action hero that shames any Avenger or Star War with ease, and she's brilliant at metabolizing and unifying the series' convoluted, overripe history + lore. The film's highlight is her solo fight against a blood-starved beast in a research hall, a more successful monster fight than the roadkill dragonfly that loops the film.

The long gap and budget cut between Retribution and Final, combined with the film's poor financial performance, indicates that this will really be the last one. And while it's a weak entry, the series overall will always slay, and the Jovovich/Anderson fam isn't tired, and end the thing with hit-or-miss experimentation and enthusiasm, rather than half-hearted resignation or regurgitation.

I was really dragged-down when I thought I had missed the film, breaking a tradition for me stretches back to the 2002 film. But miracles are real, and my Cinemark theater brought it back! Cinemark screenings of The Final Chapter even begin with a special thank you message to RE fans from Milla + Paul. No, friends, thank you.

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