There’s a point early on in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter – around the time when Milla Jovovich is riding along a motorway in her zombie-proof battle tank – where the film reaches critical levels of schlock, a sort of self-aware tipping point after which the rest of this mad ordeal makes a strange kind of sense.
It’s the moment when our undead-hunting hero comes face to face with the bad guy from the previous movie, whom she had expressly murdered in climactic scenes. “But I killed you,” she howls, with all the confusion of somebody who hasn’t spent five Resident Evil films encountering reanimated corpses. “Unless… I killed your clone!”
It’s not a spoiler, honestly, and it’s a line that places Resident Evil right there in the seat next to you, winking and nudging and asking with barely concealed pride if you’ve noticed the intricate detailing that adorns this particular crock of excrement. Director Paul W.S. Anderson has been working in this sloppy brown medium for 15 years now, and has become an adept of the form, producing a zombie-blasting horror anthology that is at worst a guilty pleasure and at best b-movie gold.
The Last Chapter is no high-note for the critically disdained series, but is stupidly entertaining guff nonetheless, with an action-to-standing-about ratio that makes this year’s genre flagbearers xXx: Return of Xander Cage and John Wick: Chapter 2 look like National Theatre productions. Jovovich continues to be so much more than the budget Sigourney Weaver the film’s accountants take her for, throwing herself into silly and inventive action sequences that ratchet gore and ask you not to think very hard about what’s going on.
While not the triumphant final act of the hexalogy many would have hoped for, this is a tasty enough pitcher of swill to end on. Strange Resident Evil films, you will be missed.