Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Mr. Arkadin

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016, dir. Paul W. S. Anderson)

10 posts in this topic

Link to our thread on all the earlier films.

I haven't seen *every* film in this series, but 2010's Resident Evil: Afterlife is the only one that really did anything for me, mainly because it made genius use of digital 3D, which was still a fairly new format at the time.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm more excited for this movie than most Oscar contenders this year.  Resident Evil: Retribution built on the wild 3D of Afterlife, and then set up a multi-layered world filled with twists and meta-references to past entries in the series, and shot with a genuinely gorgeous use of color and geometric compositions.  The series as a whole is mostly dumb, empty fun with a few clever, creepy, or cool moments to liven things up, but that last entry is something special, I think.

Edited by StephenM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, StephenM said:

The series as a whole is mostly dumb, empty fun with a few clever, creepy, or cool moments to liven things up, but that last entry is something special, I think.

I quite agree. I revisited Retribution last night.

It's much more my speed than, say, the Marvel films. Lightweight and fun without being smug or snarky, suffused with striking images (colored umbrellas scattered on a rain-soaked Tokyo street), and gloriously precise action filmmaking.

Its suggestion that the demands of love transcend the boundaries of the real and the virtual is surprisingly profound for a film of this type, made all the more affecting by its relentless efficiency.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anderson's decision to go full-on fast-cut shakycam is something of a bummer, but the action is still propulsive enough to keep things moving. Thankfully, Anderson's penchant for outlandish scenarios remains intact, as is his sense of lean, goal-focused plotting.

In its own so-absurd-it's-almost-smart way, the film does well by the ideas about technology and identity that have run throughout this wild series, and therefore The Final Chapter ultimately serves as a strong conclusion (even if, when you get down to it, its conclusion isn't all that final).

Iain Glen is pretty awesome here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Saw it on Sunday night.  Liked it quite a bit.  Doubt anyone not already on board with the series will like it at all, though.

As Ryan H. said, the cutting here went absolutely insane.  Anderson brought in the guy who cut the Crank movies, and then cut up every fight scene into a million pieces going about as fast the human eye is capable of following.  This is in sharp contrast to the other movies in the series, especially the last two, which have remarkably clean, clearly defined action.  I hated it at first, and I didn't exactly like it by the end, but eventually I felt like there might be a strategy to it.  1. The movie as a whole is clearly indebted to Mad Max: Fury Road, and the cutting here resembled a few of the sped-up sequences there.  2. The action sequences did appear to be blocked in a coherent way, and the shots all showed different angles on the action clearly, even if they went by in split seconds (the camera here wasn't shaking documentary style or anything). 3. The movie just had so much stuff to get through that speeding it up like that might have been the only option to get it in under 2 hours (it's still by far the longest in the series).

Anyway, as an overall story it was actually pretty satisfying.  It put all the focus on Alice (and a little on the villains), not on the expendable side characters which never have much personality anyway, and gave her character a real emotional fulfillment and ending, which means that it was probably the most dramatically compelling movie in the series.

It also had some religious elements to it:  Ian Glen's character (or one of them, anyway) turns out to be an evil religious fanatic--which had never been part of the series before.  It's a tired trope, but it kinda worked within the almost Medieval framework of the film (dragons, castles, etc.).  He (or another him) also makes the argument that causing an apocalypse and restarting the world with a chosen few worked before with Noah and the Flood, justifying this movie's apocalypse.  It's terrible logic, and giving the only religious views in the movie (series?) to villains like this is pretty offensive and stupid, but it does end up putting the villain in a situation of falsely playing God, meaning defeating him is more like defeating the Antichrist than an actually religious or Christlike figure.  In fact, Alice herself is given more of a Christlike, sacrificial role, and the whole film seems structured like the testing of a saint or something (which fits in with the Medieval stuff again).

 

Sean Gilman (a terrific blogger and an authority on modern Asian cinema) takes this significantly further than I would here: 

Quote

Paul WS Anderson makes genre films and the language of genre is cliché. What makes him unique is the boldness with which he reconfigures his appropriations and his willingness to accept the truism behind the cliché for what it is on its own terms, without any inkling of subversion and nary a wink. Writing about his Alien vs. Predator years ago, I compared Anderson to a kind of backwoods preacher, every breath a bible verse, except for Anderson, the bible is genre film. This enables some shocking combinations: Death Race 2000 remade as a prison film; a steampunk Three Musketeers with ninjas; Spartacus meets Voyage in Italy meets Volcano. Each of the Resident Evil films has a genre forerunner: Aliens, Escape from New York, The Road Warrior, Assault on Precinct 13, to name the first four films in order, though each have elements of other films thrown in as well (The Matrix films forAfterlife, for example). The fifth film took for its template the Resident Evil series itself, with environments and characters returning in the form of simulated locations deep underground and clones of Alice’s fallen comrades providing both allies and enemies (or both). The ur-text of The Final Chapter is the Bible (might as well have named that final chapter: Revelation). But before that becomes clear, the movie must first return to the beginning, to the simple “gang of heroes whittled down one-by-one by monsters and traps” storytelling of the first film, including a return to the infamous slicing-laser hallway. The cyclical nature of the series was revealed, and its reverse direction began, after what I think is the pivot point of the series, the prologue to the fourth film, in which Alice leads an army of her clones (the literal Army of Milla) to attack Umbrella headquarters. That’s the moment when the series goes through the looking-glass, out of the recognizably real environments of the first three films and into the digital creations of the fourth and fifth. The Final Chapter runs that trajectory all the way back to the zero point: through the deserts of Extinction, to the city of Apocalypse and down into The Hive of Resident Evil. And what we find, when we get back there, to the Before the Beginning, is something wholly unexpected in this most secular of built-worlds. We find God.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

StephenM wrote:
: As Ryan H. said, the cutting here went absolutely insane.  Anderson brought in the guy who cut the Crank movies, and then cut up every fight scene into a million pieces going about as fast the human eye is capable of following.  This is in sharp contrast to the other movies in the series, especially the last two, which have remarkably clean, clearly defined action.  

Haven't seen the film yet, but this worries me, as the last two films were the only two films in the series (until now) that were in 3D, and you kind of *need* the cutting to be slower for there to be any point to the 3D. The eye needs time to adjust, otherwise it never really "takes in" the depth of each image. (This was a huge problem with Ben-Hur, too.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would strongly recommend skipping the 3D. I saw it in 2D on the recommendation of a friend, and I'm glad I did. The cuts are very, very fast, even by "chaos cinema" standards, and the images are often dark and shadowy.

Edited by Ryan H.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Too late -- I saw the 3D version last night! But yeah, there were only a few shots where it really made much difference (monsters baring their teeth at the camera, etc.).

Of course, when I see Iain Glen talking about the book of Genesis, the first thing I think about is the fact that he played Jacob in The Red Tent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glen is delicious in this movie. He makes the most of every little moment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0