The titling of the Resident Evil films leaves a bit to be desired, clarity-wise. I don’t know about you, but without opening up Google I’m going to be fuzzy on where precisely Resident Evil: Retribution fits into the franchise. That’s probably for the best, since these films are barely a ‘franchise’ by today’s definition; each shares some defining characteristics – Milla Jovovich, zombies, corrupt corporations – but are hugely diverse stylistically and tend to obscure any narrative connections.
So what’s the story with the comparative bluntness of The Final Chapter’s subtitle? The film itself has the answer, offering a full-throated sequel that’s thick with references to Russell Mulcahy’s sandy, Mad-Max-esque third instalment, Extinction and spends its final third remixing and revisiting elements of the first film from way back in 2002. For the first – and final – time, it actually feels like fanservice.
The Final Chapter doesn’t live up to heady potential of fourth sequel Retribution, which twisted its convoluted storyline into an exultation and deconstruction of action cinema, a zombie movie mutating into an art film. This is, comparatively at least, by the book, exploiting James Cameron’s horror-action model (since, appropriately, adopted wholesale by video games) in the interest of baser thrills.