The most successful video game film franchise ever wraps up its saga in “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.”
But — spoiler alert here — if you think that title represents truth in advertising, there’s there’s this bankrupt billionaire con artist I’d love to sell you as your next president.
The definition of madness is going back to the umpteenth “Resident Evil” movie, back to the hive in Raccoon City with Project Alice (Milla Jovovich), back into battle with the computerized Red Queen (Ever Anderson) and the evil oligarch Dr. Isaacs (Ian Glen) and his Umbrella Corporation, and expecting a different result.
That different result being a half-decent action movie, of course.
They’ve all been shades of dreadful, six semi-plotless romps through video-game-style set piece fights where no villain is truly vanquished because, you know — CLONES — with brutal fight choreography, dimly-lit dystopian settings and ear-splitting effects and music.
Jovovich has soldiered on through this 15 year film cycle like a woman with a mission — or a mortgage. She throws herself into the fights and seems bored every other minute she’s on screen. Her character is supposedly engaged in a suicide mission. Jovovich doesn’t do doomed fatalism, though.
And as Alice narrates “This is my story, the END of my story,” I was reminded of Milla’s straight-faced huxtering for that alien-encounter “true story,” “The Fourth Kind.”
She’s not the most reliable narrator.
In “The Final Chapter,” Alice emerges from the ashes of Washington, D.C. with a tip from her foe, The Red Queen. Turns out, the business model for The Umbrella Corporation wasn’t to just wipe out human life on Earth, and thus end any chance of turning a profit.
There’s an anti-virus to combat the T-virus that turns everybody into zombies — excuse me, “the Undead,” copyright pending.
Alice has X-hours to get this serum out of the hive back in the bombed-out Raccoon City (in Kentucky, maybe?). And that bad guy she keeps killing, Isaacs? He’s back, and he’s got bus-tanks, an army of “the Undead” and a religious zeal about hunting Alice down and making her pay for his sins.
There’s a fascinating satire of America’s unholy alliance of heartless corporations and the religious dupes who worship them just sitting here. But it’ll take a wit far cleverer than action hack Paul W.S. Anderson to work that out.
Here, he burns screen time re-establishing the timeline, hurling Jovovich into epic brawls and shootouts on assorted burnt-out, emptied landscapes, and dragging her behind his neato bus-tanks.
Just more adventures of Alice in Umbrella Land, in other words.
Ali Larter returns, Ruby Rose — the gamin-haired tough broad of C-movie action pictures (“xXx: The Return of Xander Cage”) has a bit part.
And the story concludes. Or so they promise.
MPAA Rating: R for sequences of violence throughout
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Ian Glen, Ali Larter, Ruby Rose
Credits:Written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson . A Sony/Screen Gems release.
Running time: 1:46