Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Screen 9 articles

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

2016

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Poster
  • 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.

  • The volume of _stuff_ isn’t helped by the fact that The Final Chapter is cut much, much faster than any of Anderson’s previous films, by the memorably named Doobie White, a longtime associate of Crank: High Voltage directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. Combining Anderson’s symmetrical camera style with frenetic editing ends up imploding the sense of depth and space that has long made the director’s movies must-sees in 3-D.

  • Anderson gets carried away with his fealty to Fury Road, attempting to recapture its distinctive velocity. Anderson employs uncharacteristically frenetic editing, squandering the beauty of his remarkable compositions, resulting in the sort of spatial mishmash that's common of much contemporary action filmmaking. The film's editing has a cumulatively subliminal power though, and many compositions justify one's patience with Anderson's formal excess.

  • The final sequences here are as overwhelming as the breathtaking climax of Pompeii, the first Anderson film that could be said to be deeply, profoundly emotional. This is all that and more, an expression of hope that even in our blasted, fungible, unreliable world of fascists and capitalists and unnervingly fit blond scientists, there’s still a possibility of grace, a chance for us to claw our way out of the mire, just beyond the grasp of the rough beasts of darkness and indignant desert birds.

  • With the full thrust of series behind him, Anderson feels free to enjoy the play of contrasting types of images and the perspectives they represent. Anderson’s palette has compounded, and in tandem the narrative stakes compound: in Final Chapter we are given an exact number of human survivors left on Earth, and a time table within which to save them. But Alice and humanity repeatedly find a way to endure, and this denouement-installment unlocks the full flourish of Anderson’s optimistic spirit.

  • ++

    Sight & Sound: Nick Pinkerton
    February 03, 2017 | March 2017 Issue (pp. 68-69)

    The cutting in The Final Chapter moves at a cracking tempo far fleeter than that of the first film, but Anderson knows that speed alone is not enough – as Alice suggests when signing out of a ribcage-rattling slugfest with Korean star Lee Joon Gi: "You're fast, but you're not too smart." The pleasure and the individuality of Anderson and Jovovich's action pieces isn't, obviously, in the cliché-grab-bag dialogue, but that they're fast _and_ smart, paced at the exact speed of thought.

  • Instead of going for depth and space, the frenetic cutting (by Neveldine/Taylor stalwart Doobie White) telescopes Anderson’s still-working spatial arrangements to split-second legibility, making The Final Chapter the most relentless series entry (despite being the longest, at a challengingly quick 106 minutes), closer in style to Death Race than to any of its franchise predecessors; it’s almost as if Anderson wanted to transmit the rush of completing Alice’s saga after years of withholding.

  • Anderson's style is one of the best arguments against 3-D (not that he’s above it): It’s proof of how much of a gut punch smart, resourceful filmmaking can deliver without it. The Final Chapter, for all the goofiness of the franchise’s ongoing premise, is full of original, distinctly cinematic pleasures. That’s more than I can say for a lot of movies—but especially the ostensibly “better” ones, and most especially the ones so many of us pay to see.

  • Anderson’s Resident Evil films frequently reinvented themselves over the years, beginning with a riff on Assault on Precinct 13 before evolving into a Wachowskian affair until finally at full circle becoming a grand amplitude ballet with dense, complicated geographic patterning and the messianic arrival of the heroine Alice (Milla Jovovich). The Resident Evil franchise is the most abundantly rich formal genre spectacle of the 21st century, and went out with maybe its best film yet.

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