Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Playtime is over. Anderson delivers the stylistic antithesis to his previous masterpiece, Retribution. The sun sets on humanity, enveloping the planet in a shroud of eternal night. Nearly all color has been drained from the image. The rapid cutting and spitfire pacing of the action is Anderson moving beyond a simulated dreamworld; now he's emulating the information overload we experience in our daily lives. Every news cycle heralds another catastrophe and whatever happened last month is ancient history, memory-holed into oblivion. It helps the elite keep their subjects in the perpetual present. No frame of reference, no context, no taking a deep breath and reorienting. Just like Alice in the grim world Umbrella has created.

The Final Chapter depicts the anxious, agitated state we find ourselves in, the constant barrage of emotion and propaganda we're bludgeoned with, disseminated at light speed by the media and online social networks. Anderson fast forwards to our bleak future to show us the end of days. After the ruling class has ravaged the Earth, while they hide underground in their secure bunkers. Although Alice pursues the airborne anti-virus as this film's McGuffin which sets up its fairy tale ending, the only thing she can be assured of is revenge. Anderson can't bring himself to conclude on the same note as Alien³, resurrecting his hero instead for a wish fulfillment finale. She's given her creator's memories, and the earned emotional weight of this scene—augmented by the real-life knowledge that it's Milla's daughter playing her character as a child—is overwhelming. He made the right decision for his protagonist, who had been through too much to suffer Ripley's more honest fate. The Red Queen tells Alice she was being tested: "This is something no one at Umbrella would have done." The ruling class don't understand the concept of putting others before themselves; they're inhuman monsters who will bleed the populace and planet dry in order to enrich their portfolios. Alice is the 21st century Ripley: a true hero and inspiration who never stops trying to save lives.

The Alice and Isaacs clones kill the originals. It's ironic justice for the real Isaacs and richly deserved karma for the clone, who experiences existential terror just moments before his own death. Both versions of Isaacs twist the Bible to suit their own purposes. Everyone in authority who claims to be religious does the same thing. Power corrupts; they're not at all concerned with whether Christ would be capable of committing or endorsing such acts. A cybernetically enhanced Isaacs emerges from cryogenic storage. The elite embrace transhumanism, desiring to resemble immortal machines.

The first half feels like a disappointment compared to what's come before, but Anderson starts delivering the goods once Alice reenters the Hive and the Red Queen briefs her on Umbrella's conspiracy. There are fun death traps preventing Alice from returning to the Source, along with outrageous plot and character retcons that nevertheless are in keeping with the series' anything-goes mantra. Anderson even calls attention to the prepper plans of the super-rich. Sadly, there would have to be an enormous uprising of people as moral and courageous as Alice to alter the world's present doomsday course, and we are running out of time. The panopticon of surveillance and control the elite wield is so intimidating that no serious threats to their dominance have emerged. Minor revolts are easily quelled. The Final Chapter hammers home the series' arc words that reveal the simple and inevitable truth awaiting us: "You're all going to die down here."

A six-film "fuck you" to the pharmaceutical and medical industries from Paul W.S. Anderson.

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