Video game adaptations have had a hard run of it – many artists have tried to replicate the magic from the keyboard or console but to mostly disappointing results thus far. Last Christmas, Assassin’s Creed tried its luck with a hugely promising artistic group of director Justin Kurzel and actors Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons. The results, yet again, were underwhelming. But one franchise, Resident Evil, has been flying the flag for the rest and despite questions about its true quality, the series has now grossed over $1billion and thus returns with its sixth entry – The Last Chapter. But with such a lucrative money-maker on its hands, is it really the final addition?
Starting with an almighty bang (quite literally in fact, as the film is perhaps one of the loudest and obtrusive films in recent memory), The Last Chapter’s relentlessness will win many fans who enjoy their films brash and brashier. We pick up the action as Alice (Milla Jovovich) is coming too after the events of Retribution, where the undead were supposed to have been dealt with once and for all, but in franchise world such luxuries (like definitive closure) aren’t the special of the day. Soon our intrepid heroine is sucked back into the nightmare of the T-virus and its after effects with seemingly only one way out – to head back to The Hive, epicentre for the entire disaster and eradicate all that has died in its wake.
Director Paul W.S. Anderson has been ensconced with Resident Evil since his first entry back in 2001 and while the latest episode (and it is firmly the “latest” rather than “last”) is on a par with some of his previous efforts, you can’t fault him for his work as he is making exactly the film fans want and audiences will expect from him – it’s a brazen, monochromed, balls-to-the-wall bloodfest that moves at a frenetic pace as it shifts from one crazy set piece to the next, just like each chapter has before it.
It’s as if the writer/director was sat at his desk in a method similar to how Family Guy “described” the processes of the great Stephen King: “scary stuff, scary stuff – bing. Scary stuff, scary stuff, lunch”. But if it ain’t broke, then why fix it? For a franchise that has made multimillions across the globe thus far, it certainly has an established audience who love this kind of thing, and while it’s pretty nonsensical throughout, one thing you can’t accuse it of is being dull.
Key to keeping the ship afloat is Jovovich who continues to frolic in a role that has kept her career ticking over quite nicely in recent years, and once again proves the films MVP. Game of Thrones’ Iain Glen looks like he’s having ball throughout, hamming up the villainy to within an each of his life, and Ruby Rose (as ever) brings it.
While it won’t win any new fans or indeed awards for its ingenuity and originality, Resident Evil: The Last Chapter does exactly what it says on the tin and fair play to Anderson and co. for continuing to give it’s public what it seems to crave and in spades. It’s nonsensical and abrasive but never as much of a slog as it may seem and while it jumped the shark a few films ago, we will probably see a few more before the umbrella folds in on itself for good.
Resident Evil: The Last Chapter opens in UK cinemas on 3rd February.