It has been a rough road for Milla Jovovich's Alice, who has for the last decade and a half fought the undead in six prior Resident Evil films. Although their subtitles may be generic, Director Paul W. S. Anderson's films have remained remarkably consistent in quality and entertainment value. If you hated the original, nothing about the sequels or this Final Chapter will change your mind. If you are a fan, this is an acceptable conclusion to this first, extended survival story. Alice returns to franchise roots, Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation's headquarters lies below the ruins. The Red Queen (Ever Anderson) tells Alice that Umbrella has crafted an anti-virus to combat the ravaging effects of the T-virus. She travels a wasted landscape and prepares for one final showdown at the altar of death.
Alice awakens in the ruins of Washington D.C., and learns that Umbrella orchestrated its own apocalypse to cleanse the world of undesirables. Its top brass released the T-virus and went into hiding to wait out the plague. Now, the original Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen) and Umbrella goon Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) want to release the anti-virus, kill all the remaining zombies and begin rebuilding a perfect world. Alice vows to stop Umbrella, even if it means her own demise, and reconnects with Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), Doc (Eoin Macken), Abigail (Ruby Rose) and Christian (William Levy) to stage a final assault on Umbrella. Isaac's clone temporarily halts Alice's plan, but she manages to again evade capture en route to Raccoon City.
A lot comes full circle here, particularly in the film's final minutes. Isaacs and Wesker are again the main antagonists, and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter treats its zombies like an untamed mass, focusing instead on the human bad guys behind Umbrella doors. Series fans will enjoy the resurgence of the Red Queen and her backstory, and Anderson uses footage from the original film in flashbacks to depict the T-virus's deployment. Alice also returns to the "laser corridor" at Umbrella headquarters, which is looking a bit worse for the wear. This is not exactly intimate human drama, but Anderson offers a reasonably satisfying explanation for six films worth of carnage and destruction.
The best moments of this "final chapter" occur as the crew tries to break into Umbrella. There are moments of suspense as the long-dormant traps within the building's walls and corridors spring back to life. The action outside the corporation's walls is fairly crude and uneventful, and the film does not really get going until its halfway mark. Some of the late-game revelations are not particularly surprising, but Jovovich, as always, is game for the action. This is not likely to impress viewers unfamiliar with earlier films, but, as a cap to Alice's story, it works. The ending leaves open the possibility of future sequels. I have no doubt we will see more of Jovovich and Anderson on this franchise. They managed to keep things reasonably fresh for seven films. That is an accomplishment in itself.
THE 4K ULTRA HD:
Sony releases Resident Evil: The Final Chapter on 4K Ultra HD with a 2160p/HEVC/H.265 transfer at 2.40:1. Anderson shot the film digitally at 5K, and it was mastered at 4K, making this a true 4K presentation. That said, The Final Chapter is not necessarily the most impressively shot film in history. The colors are drab, and much of the action is cloaked in darkness. The 4K disc actually looks worse than the Blu-ray in a number of scenes, as macroblocking is very noticeable in unlit corners. The film looks digital and artificial, a product of the filmmaking techniques used, and the 4K's increased resolution only enhances that unnatural appearance. Shadow detail is often compromised, and that aforementioned pixelation is not unnoticeable. Brighter scenes are more impressive, and the 4K disc offers excellent fine-object detail and texture. The interior of Umbrella offers pleasing depth, and the disc's HDR enhancement gives colors a vibrant boost in these scenes. Although the 4K disc offers enhancements to the Blu-ray, it also comes with its own set of issues.
The Dolby Atmos mix, which I sampled in 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, is strong. This is an immersive, consuming soundtrack, complete with frenetic LFE support and blazing sound pans. Dialogue is clear and balanced appropriately with effects and score. Ambient effects like building groans and zombie moans waft through the surrounds, and action effects are bold and impressively rendered. This is a theatrical-quality mix. The disc also includes a host of 5.1 Dolby Digital dubs and subtitle options.
PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:
This two-disc set includes the 4K Ultra HD disc, a Blu-ray disc and an UltraViolet HD digital copy. The discs are packed in a black case that is wrapped in a matching slipcover. You can find the bonus features on the Blu-ray disc. You get Retaliation Mode with Paul & Milla (2:16:42/HD), which allows you to watch the film with cut-aways to behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the director and star. You also get Stunts & Weaponry (9:03/HD); Explore the Hive (4:18/HD); The Bad Ass Trinity & The Women of Resident Evil (6:32/HD); and a Sneak Peek at Resident Evil: Vendetta (4:22/HD).
This seventh film in the Resident Evil franchise from Paul W. S. Anderson again stars Milla Jovovich as zombie-killing Alice, and the narrative takes the action back to Raccoon City and the Umbrella Corporation's headquarters. An acceptable conclusion to nearly twelve hours worth of action-movie mayhem, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter offers explanation for much of the T-virus chaos. Jovovich is expectedly game, and the film survives a slow start to offer suspense and action inside Umbrella walls. This is a true 4K presentation, but it is not a perfect transfer. Recommended.