Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter ★★★½

Alice, a security-guard-turned-super-soldier played by Milla Jovovich, has fortunately survived a trap set for her and other survivors during a battle against flesh-eating zombies that were created by the T-Virus, an engineered plague unleashed by the Umbrella Corporation, a multinational conglomerate with sinister plans for a new world order. Unfortunately, she has awakened in a desolate post-apocalyptic landscape where the last remaining humans will be wiped out in a matter of hours unless she can find the antivirus and release it into the atmosphere. In order to accomplish her last mission, our ever-determined heroine must return to the Hive, the secret underground research facility where her adventures began years ago.

The 2016 action horror sequel, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, helmed by screenwriter and director Paul W.S. Anderson, is the sixth and last live-action installment of a lucrative franchise where Jovovich's Alice wielded guns and roundhouse kicks through adventures and misadventures that were launched in 2002 with the first Resident Evil film, which was loosely based on a video game of the same name. This curtain-closing effort is the weakest entry of the series, due in large part to a drab color palette that stands as a visual representation of the fatigue that sets in when viewers have endured a few too many repetitive callbacks to earlier movies, but the narrative thankfully manages to preserve momentum by pitching a few curveballs into the fold. Alice is joined by other key players, including fellow freedom fighter Claire Redfield, played by Ali Larter, Umbrella Corporation kingpin Dr. Isaacs, played by Iain Glen, Albert Wesker, reprised by Shawn Roberts, and even the "Red Queen" artificial intelligence entity, but these characters all display some unexpectedly multilayered tendencies.

The demonic mutated Doberman Pinschers, crowd-pleasing mainstays that were conspicuously absent from the previous film, Resident Evil: Retribution, make a glorious comeback during a chase scene in the ruins of Raccoon City as Alice leads her team back to the Hive. A booby trap laser hallway, which provided one of the most memorable moments in the original film, makes a rousing comeback as well.

As always, the onscreen charisma of Jovovich makes the endeavor worthwhile. Inevitable reboots are on the horizon, but this particular lead performer will be forever irreplaceable. Thanks to her efforts, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter ends with a bang and not a whimper, even as the lights of creative inspiration begin to flicker and fade.

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