News: Alice Returns in ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’
In “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” Ms. Jovovich’s Alice, a virally superpowered avenger on behalf of a highly diminished human population, is assisted by her onetime nemesis the Red Queen, an artificial intelligence program that takes the holographic form of a young girl. Deep in “the Hive” of Raccoon City, where all the “Resident Evil” trouble began, is a vial that can save humanity. A time-sensitive gauntlet is laid down, and the never-ending action begins.
Because their director, Paul W. S. Anderson, is an exceptional talent in action cinema, and because their star, Milla Jovovich, is a charismatic, exceptional and very credibly kinetic action performer, the movies in the “Resident Evil” franchise, of which this is the sixth, have always been a terrific time. Provided you like that sort of thing — that sort of thing being post-apocalyptic and necessarily grim sci-fi mayhem adapted from a popular, genre-mashing video game.
There’s some really hair-raising stuff here, including a rain-of-fire set piece for which Mr. Anderson’s last film, “Pompeii,” might have served as a kind of dress rehearsal. Among Alice’s foes are hordes of flesh-eating undead, and it’s to Mr. Anderson’s credit that even in a pop culture glutted with postmodern zombies, he can make his creatures startle viewers. But the blindingly fast cuts and the inflated reprises of the franchise’s greatest hits — the startling undead Dobermans of the first film are back — yield diminishing returns. This is, I think, the weakest picture in the franchise.
Nevertheless, the movie percolates enough that even when, at its climax, it shamelessly recycles a grisly punch line from 1987’s “RoboCop,” it’s kind of endearing, not least because Mr. Anderson and company make it work.