PHIL ON FILM: 'Resident Evil: The Final Chapter'

Posted at 6:00 AM, Jan 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-21 15:43:13-04

"The Final Chapter" part of the title "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter" is as much of a lie as when I reach for my "final plate of shrimp" at Golden Corral. Long after the zombie apocalypse ravages society, "Resident Evil" movies will still be plopping out every couple of years.

The proof is that star Milla Jovovich still looks exactly the same as she did 15 years ago, when these horrible, horrible movies first started seeping onto celluloid. She is clearly infected with the T-virus that the movie's scientists concocted to grant everlasting youth to patients. It was a decent plan, but side effects included dry mouth, vomiting and the tendency to transform users into poorly CGI-animated zombies who mistake human flesh for Cheetos.

There are certain rules to this franchise, the primary one being that writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson spend no more than 3 hours writing the entire script. That's assuming the movies have scripts at all. What we may well be witnessing is a sort of unfunny comic improv, in which actors are tossed weapons and props and forced to flop around on green screens for two hours or so, shouting whatever incoherent action flick bravado flows from their mouths, like a non-cussing Tourette's.

This so-called "Final Chapter" starts off with a recap of the entire series, which goes faster than you'd think because so little has happened in the six-movie series. The main takeaway is that all those times Jovovich and friends have killed all the zombies -- as well as the bad guys who created them -- don't matter because they are all back and in need of killing for the "final" time, meaning "definitely not final" time.

Anderson uses the clever writing technique of having past characters address their inexplicable returns by acknowledging that when they appeared to have died in past movies, it was actually just clones who took the fall. 

Before you can question the absurdity, there are zombie dragons, hell hounds, cliff dives and last-second escapes from mechanical presses to distract you. With so much going on at all times, you would think the movie would be at least a little exciting, but somehow through the magic of cinema the eventful events are as uneventful as broadcast coverage of a rain-delayed PGA Tour tournament.

Nor is there anything scary amid the horror schlock, save for some ear-jolting moments in which shrill violin notes frighten your eardrums to attention. The most frightening thing for me was the realization that I have seen every one of these movies, and that I will no doubt see the next one, too. I could have accomplished so much more in those hours, such as playing "Resident Evil" video games.

Or maybe eating more Golden Corral shrimp. 

RATING: 1 star out of 4