HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
HTS Overall Score:78
I’m going to borrow a line from my review of the last “Resident Evil” film. Think of the “Resident Evil” series as being a loaf of bread. With the first one or two slices, it’s nice, fresh and new. Everyone loves it. As time goes on those next few slices start to show their age, wilted corners and it gets a little tougher to swallow. By the time the 5th comes along, there’s some mold and it definitely leaves a stale taste in your mouth. That still holds true today considering that we’re wrapping up the 6-film franchise some 15 years after the first film came out. Honestly, I still really like the first three “Resident Evil” films (even the 2nd one), but that was where the really good films ended. “Afterlife” is a surprisingly DECENT film, even though it acts as filler to get us to “Retribution”, which is where the series fall off a steep cliff. “The Final Chapter” was SUPPOSED to have come out a year ago, but just days before heading off to film the movie, director Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich found out that she was pregnant, thus delaying the film another year. While I’m glad they have such dedication to finishing the franchise, the lack of steam and creativity that came from this entry (as well as “Retribution”) makes it a bit of a bittersweet experience.
You remember how we left off in “Retribution”? Alice (Milla Jovovich), Jill Valentine, Claire (Ali Larter), Wesker (Shawn Roberts), Ada Wong, and the rest staring out over a nearly destroyed Washington DC with Wesker offering them the opportunity to team up with him to wipe out the zombies? Yeah, well that whole scenario go scrapped and we’re left with nothing but a short monologue by Alice telling us that Wesker betrayed them, everything went south, and he only PRETENDED to give Alice her T-virus powers back. Now Alice is running, like usual, and is running out of options. Her salvation (and maybe doom) comes in the form of a message from the Red Queen (who’s actually Milla’s eldest daughter) who informs her that there has always been an antidote to the virus back at the HIVE in Raccoon City. If she can get there in the next 48 hours, Alice can unleash the antivirus and save the remaining humans before the Umbrella Corporation forces wipe out the last bastions of humanity.
Well, even if the Red Queen DID try to kill her last time, this antivirus is the ONLY chance humanity has, so what choice does Alice have but to buckle up and put on her big girl undies. Once arriving in Raccoon City, the beleaguered soldier finds out that there are still remnants of humanity struggling to survive in the nearly devastated ruins. There she finds a reluctant ally with Doc (Eoin Macken) and an old friend, Claire. Rounding up a team, Alice and her new allies head down into the HIVE once more to face a ravenous Dr. Isaacs (yes yes, clones and all that means bad guys never stay dead) and whatever forces the impenetrable HIVE have in store for them, bringing Alice’s journey back full circle.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=97074[/img]“The Final Chapter” actually has a pretty cool concept here. Alice finally has to go back to the beginning where her journey started 10 years ago (10 years in the films, 15 years in OUR timeline since the first “Resident Evil” was released back in 2002) and face the creators of the T-virus and the truth about their horrible plan to end all of humanity. The only problem is that the series had steadily been dropping downhill and the budget was obviously shrinking. They wanted to bring back Claire, Jill, Ada and the rest for that giant battel to save humanity, but the project was scrapped when the powers that be realized they couldn’t get everyone back together, especially with the budget that they had at their disposal. So now what we get is the framework of the original story mixed in with a new plot with the Red Queen and the results are decidedly “made for TV”. Everything feels cramped and constrained, like a made for TV movie that knows it can’t have more than a handful of set pieces otherwise they’ll blow the budget.
With that being said, the action is pretty intense and nonstop. Alice is a one woman wrecking crew and Paul Anderson did a great job using the budget to bring out some cool battles (such as the flaming gasoline that decimates Isaac’s army of zombies). The only thing is you can’t SEE any of it! For some reason, Anderson decided to edit the movie as if he was watching the film through a constantly changing kaleidoscope. There are a THOUSAND quick cuts per 10th of a second and the shifting was so fast, and so overbearing that I actually got a bit of a headache and some nausea wondering if I was watching a movie or a bad dream.
Rated R for sequences of violence throughout
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=97082[/img]As I said in the Blu-ray review, “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” was shot using a 5K sourced digital camera system and finalized with a 4K master. That being said, the way the film was shot doesn’t lend itself to leaps and bounds better video than the 1080p version. There IS a significant bump from the Blu-ray, but the desaturated colors and the bleak surroundings don’t give the HDR as much room to play. The outside world is mildly soft and the lack of primaries really isn’t that much better. It’s when the team moves underground into the hive when the yellow color grading loosens up and a more natural color scheme takes over. Primary reds, blues and a few shades of gold dominate down there, and the HDR is allowed to give us some richly colored scenes that really stand out. Not to mention the shadow detail that is superior to what we’ve seen before. Artifacting is at a near minimum and overall the 4K image roundly impresses. It’s not one of the best of the best, and goes to prove that being mastered in 4K doesn’t automatically give you a pass for demo worthy picture quality, even though it does eclipse the Blu-ray quite satisfactorily.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=97090[/img]Once again, the Atmos track is relegated to the 4K release and it IS a joy to listen to. The 4.5/5 rating for the 7.1 DTS-HD mix on the Blu-ray was simply because the Atmos track here edges it out ever so slightly. They are more similar than not, but the added use of the overheads brings in some incredible sonic experiences when Alice and the rest are fighting the zombie hordes. Or the directionality that improves when little droplets of water fall from above in the hive. LFE is still stunningly powerful (but not overcooked like previous releases) and the dialog is well replicated and crisp ad can be. The special atmosphere and general “feel” of that track is that it’s more spacious and enveloping, giving the listener a sense of immersion that is viscerally palpable. The bullets bounce around from corner to corner of the room, and the screaming and growling of the undead in the background make for an eerie sense of dimensionalilty in the track. Simply put, superb action audio.
• Two Featurettes:
- "Explore the Hive"
- "The Trinity & The Women of Resident Evil"
• Retaliation Mode
• Sneak Peek: Resident Evil: Vendetta
• "Stunts & Weaponry" Featurette
Was “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” fun? Kind of. It had its problems, but I’ve enjoyed the entire series to a certain extent and while it’s the very weakest of the 6 films (even weaker than “Apocalypse” and “Retribution”), it’s still a fun enough popcorn movie if you check your brain at the door and just watch Alice kill bioweapons (well, if you can handle the bumpy ride of the quick cut editing). Sadly, the 4K and the Blu-ray don’t have the 3D version of the film that was seen in theaters (“Underworld: Blood Wars” had the same thing happen to the home video release), but the tech specs are amazing as usual. Worth a solid rental if you’ve enjoyed the series so far, and we KNOW fans will want to finish up the series. The 4K release a solid improvement over the 1080 disc, offering more language options, better video and the joys of Dolby Atmos for those with the equipment. Definitely the better of the two releases.
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Iain Glain
Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Written by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), Czech, French, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish DD 5.1
Runtime: 107 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 16th, 2017
Buy Resident Evil: The Final Chapter On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Resident Evil: The Final Chapter On 4K Blu-ray at Amazon
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