Fifteen years later, the Resident Evil film series is finally ending with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter! I’m unduly excited by this momentous event! If you’d prefer to experience it completely unspoiled, scroll past to get to my third in a series of pre-Toy Fair wish lists. Yep, two things that nobody else has been eager for in one big package!
I unilaterally admitted the first Resident Evil to the ranks of the Good Video Game Films along with the original Mortal Kombat & Silent Hill. Rather than attempting a direct adaptation of Capcom’s BioHazard games, it was intended to be a side story running parallel with a unique protagonist, Alice. As sequels progressed, however, more key characters from the game franchise were imported over even though she was an amalgam of their traits. Smushed between Alice & several less memorable new redshirts, the canon ones didn’t have much room to develop. (Claire Redfield & Albert Wesker are the only canon characters in this as Wesker conveniently killed the rest off-screen in ravaged Washington, D.C.) For hardcore fans of the games, watching these movies must be like watching X-Men films are for me.
A key reason why Milla Jovovich’s career revolves around her playing an action heroine is that she’s damn good at it! (I still think she would be more credible as Black Widow than ScarJo.) Unlike Underworld’s stoic Selene, her Alice is allowed a broader range of emotions & vulnerabilities. Her former superpowers have been diminished to standard action movie protagonist levels, but it’s still utterly believable she can wreck anyone. In the the annoying instances when she does have trouble in a fight, I wasn’t sure if the movie didn’t make her foes seem formidable or whether she was just fatigued by all the previous ass-kickings she (& her stunt doubles) handed out. My favorite scene is when Alice (bearing a striking resemblance to Metal Gear Solid’s Meryl Silverberg) gets strung upside-down & still defeats a squad of Umbrella Corp goons.
There’s lots of retcons in order to make the story feel full circle. Instead of being an accident/industrial espionage, the T-Virus was released on purpose by Umbrella to cleanse the Earth. The top Umbrella muckity-mucks are in cryosleep until all the zombies & monsters cull the Earth, but it’s still a half-baked plan by a corporation as evil as it is moronic. It doesn’t appear that they put anybody on renewing agriculture & other survival necessities duty. Surely Umbrella’s brass doesn’t expect to do all the menial world-rebuilding themselves? They can’t even be bothered cleaning up their Hive headquarters for a decade. Even (Green) Arrow’s H.I.V.E. put more thought into this scheme. The do have plenty of clones though.
After having been seemingly killed in the third movie, Dr. Isaacs is back as a stab-happy Christian zealot. It’s a cliche downgrade from mutating into a Tyrant, but he does drive a tank & elicit some schadenfreude chuckles. Being in Game of Thrones has helped redeem Iain Glen from when he was an insufferably underwhelming foe in Tomb Raider.
The Red Queen returns to tell Alice she has two days to retrieve the T-Virus antidote from Raccoon City’s crater before humans go extinct. Attempting to atone for failing her prime directive in the first film is a great motivation for her to ally with Alice, although she really should’ve told her this several movies ago. The Red Queen has been recast with Ever Anderson, the real life daughter of Jovovich & writer-director Paul Anderson conceived during one of the sequels, which shows how long the franchise has been going. This nepotism also sets up yet another hamfisted retcon reveal which, is either very poignant or nonsensical depending on your mood. Despite her limited time-frame, Alice inexplicably decides to play Helm’s Deep with some survivors instead of doing her one job. Then an inordinate time is spent on pausing between each of Umbrella’s attempts to kill them during this time sensitive mission until Alice reminds the NPCs to run.
The zombies are still the least interesting aspect of the franchise, & this one’s sadly light on the bio-engineered monsters I greatly prefer. My favorite line is “Reverse the polarity of the turbines.” I’m not sure that command is actually possible, but more importantly it’s something no human would ever say unless they’re a Whovian. It also sets off a death trap, which I’m all about. My beloved laser grid room makes a comeback!
Ruby Rose lends her innately inscrutable ability to improve anything. Unfortunately she doesn’t bring her native Aussie accent along. Confound her ability to disguise her voice with acting!
Umbrella has a turncoat in the survivors’ ranks. Since Umbrella previously brainwashed the dearly missed Jill Valentine & Claire said she escaped from them, I was expecting it to be her so Ali Larter could contribute something (besides exploding a cage). It turns out it’s her boyfriend, Doc the doctor. In the proud tradition of all movie traitors, he graciously doesn’t end the film early by killing Alice at the earliest opportunity but instead blows his cover at the climax where he can’t foresee his own obvious death. He didn’t get the combat precognition vision or common sense upgrades. So Claire is uncorrupted as a token of good will to fans.
Whether you enjoy this will largely depend on whether you liked the earlier films & your tolerance for retcons. (I could’ve been much nitpickier about them if most of the earlier flicks didn’t blur together.) I still found it satisfying to finally see the conclusion of the series at matinee price. (Sadly Monster Trucks was no longer playing.) This will be the last Resident Evil movie ever made! The title wouldn’t just lie to us like X-Men: The Last Stand! Oh, Alice is alive at the end? NEVERMIND! They’ll never stop making these! (Actually this seems like an ideal candidate for a reboot since a more faithful adaptation of the games would be different enough & hopefully alienate gamers less.) Despite their varying quality, the final scenes of all the earlier films made me excited for the next one. This one doesn’t, so they ought to finally close the book on this series.
Now that you’ve seen the top ten movie characters that need Marvel Legends, here comes the top ten Marvel Legends wish list for comics characters you were forewarned of. I even picked some comic characters that aren’t X-Men this time! (Watch them not have another X-Men Legends line this year just to spite me!)
10) Phyla-Vell – Since
Captain Marvel Photon Pulsar Spectrum Monica Rambeau is in the works, why not finish off Captain Mar-vell’s legacy? Phyla-Vell would be eyecatching in her cloaked crimson & gold Quasar costume with a giant translucent energy sword. Then they could make her girlfriend & Drax’s daughter, Moondragon. Hasbro will probably make the original Quasar in its second GOTG series instead.
9) M – Sculpt a new head on the Moonstone body, & she’s good to go. Next year I’ll ask for her bother, Emplate.
8) Black Tom Cassidy – Hasbro already made his cousin, Banshee, partner, Juggernaut, & occasional foe, Deadpool. He wouldn’t need much new tooling besides a new visage & shillelagh, so why not round a series with this vintage noogoodnik? Then next year year I get to ask where his niece, Siryn, is.
7) Sif -Spend the money to sculpt of the armor of her modern costume. I’m sick of Hasbro merely painting on texture that should be dimensional like Shocker’s quilting.
6) Typhoid Mary – Seeing as how 3/4 of 2015’s ML fan vote finalists are being made, Mary’s strong showing in 2016’s poll is a good sign she’ll be produced. I’d just prefer her in a more classic costume than the current version wearing an unzipped leather jacket one breeze away from a nip-slip that they’ve been pushing. What good is a Typhoid without giant metal shoulder pads?
5) Multiple Man – How can we army build the leader of X-Factor Investigations if Hasbro won’t make him? Sweeten the deal with a removable trench coat & some alternate expression heads.
4) Titania – Releasing Enchantress early in the Doctor Strange series means Hasbro should have a slot in the upcoming Thor series for Absorbing Man’s wife. Or put her in a Spider-Man series. Just get her made finally! Adding spikes to the Red She-Hulk body can’t be that cost prohibitive.
3) Squirrel Girl – Squirrel Girl needs a whole new sculpt for her stocky frame. Hasbro can recoup tooling costs by making all her costume variants. Monkey Joe, Tippy-Toe, Chompsky, & Ratatoskr accessories are non-negotiable!
It’s a bummer that Peter Capaldi will be departing Doctor Who along with Steven Moffat. I was really hoping he’d outlast many showrunners like Tom Baker. Capaldi can’t leave until Craig Ferguson guest stars as Archie of Torchwood Two!
In conclusion, here’s an uplifting message from previous Doctor David Tennant. Listen to the non-purple Purple Man!