Resident Evil: The Final Chapter releases into theaters this coming weekend, and with it being the final chapter in the popular series based on the video games of the same name, a look back on the series is warranted. In this case, I’ll be ranking the films based on how I like them. Now, I never played the games, except for Resident Evil 4, so I do not know how close it stays true to the game series, nor do I really care. Each of these films have always been a great amount of fun to watch with great action, nice cgi, and the only consistent actor of the films, Milla Jovovich provides a purely kick ass and solid performance as Alice throughout. If there were any flaws to point out, it’s the inconsistency in plot points, and especially characters (they basically come and go, often times with no explanation). So those are my thoughts on the series a whole, now for the individual films.
1) Resident Evil: Apocalypse
In the sequel to the original, we follow Alice in the ruins Raccoon City where the T-Virus has spread and the undead are walking. She joins a group of survivors that are given a mission by the man behind the Anti-Virus to save his daughter, in exchange for their rescue from Raccoon City. But it turns out, the Umbrella Corporation has other plans up their sleeves for Alice and the crew.
What I loved about this one is that is pure fun and action all the way through, and really feels like you’re watching a video game. Alice has been established as being a real bad ass. While there is plenty of action, it has some decent horror elements. The scene in the classroom with the infected children was really well-done and creepy. The film overall is really well-filmed and the cinematography is stunning. The new cast members we are introduced to like tough but lesser version of Alice, Jill (played by Sienna Guillory), LJ (a hilarious performance from Mike Epps), and bad ass good guy Carlos (Oded Fehr) are extremely likable, and we are also given more insight to villainous Umbrella Corporation, as well as their deadly weapon Nemesis.
2) Resident Evil
Alice wakes up with no memory of her life and is then taken by a military unit to an underground facility known as The Hive. While down there, Alice begins to remember bits and pieces of her life just as the horrors hidden in the facility are unleashed.
The first film in the series is easily the most horror-centric of them all. We are given some scary looking zombies, as well as some pretty horrific creatures. The production design of The Hive is fantastic and makes you feel like you’re down there. The fight sequences are well-done and are a great prelude to the sequences to come. Unfortunately the group involved I didn’t find engaging or developed enough except for the bad ass Rain (played by the always great Michelle Rodriguez) and nice guy Matt (played by Eric Mabius). It’s unfortunate we don’t get them again in the rest of the films (well, not the real ones anyway). I have found myself going back and forth between this one and Apocalypse, because this was a fantastic beginning to the series and I liked that this was more horror than action, but Apocalypse just felt like the most fun and engaging, at least for me.
3) Resident Evil: Afterlife
The 4th film follows Alice after she’s been separated by her new friends from the third film and she seeks to find them. After finding only one survivor, the pair end up being trapped in an abandoned building with other survivors, while the undead are fighting to get in. While in their sanctuary, they try to devise a plan for escape, and hopefully gain contact with the ship known as Arcadia to escape the nightmare once and for all.
With this film, I will say that the plot is pretty basic. It does further establish Wesker (the chairman of the Umbrella Corporation) as the new villain but that’s about it. Even if the plot isn’t too engaging, it earns massive points from me for the excellent opening sequence involving Alice and her clones, the bad ass scene in the shower room with Alice, Claire, and the Executioner (this scene was fantastic in 3D), the whole sequence on the ship at the end was just as bad ass and well-done. In general, I loved seeing Alice and Claire work together. Milla and Ali Larter (established in the previous film) have great on-screen chemistry and work very well together.
4) Resident Evil: Retribution
Alice wakes up after the ambush on the Arcadia on the previous film in yet again, another underground facility. But this facility is designed to be replications of major cities around the world, placing Alice in an almost endless loop of fighting against the infected like she’s a guinea pig. Her friends above work to try and break her out, all the while Alice begins to experience deja vu (even if she never actually experienced it) with people from her past (as various clones), and manifestations of people from memories that aren’t even real.
The most recent film in the series is basically the one with no plot whatsoever, and doesn’t really push the story forward. This one is primarily just for fun and just watching the action sequences. It’s also the one where we once again lose our beloved characters (even the ones are recently found are lost again) and are given new ones (which evidently don’t seem to appear in the next film either). It was nice to see Oded Fehr and Michelle Rodriguez return, but their roles are restricted to lame clones. Fehr appears in basically just a dream sequence, and Rodriguez returns an evil clone, and a good clone (though she really isn’t in it much despite playing dual roles). Not to mention all of a sudden Wesker is a good guy? When did this happen? Despite the mess of the script, the action sequences are still fun, and the final scene is a pretty kick ass cliffhanger.
5) Resident Evil: Extinction
The third film establishes that Umbrella has been cloning different version of Alice to use as their personal gain, while the real Alice still finds herself under the occasional control by Umbrella. She ends up crossing paths with a group of survivors in the desert where Umbrella is catching up to them.
It’s not that this one is bad, it isn’t. But it’s the one I didn’t find myself engaged with the most. Sure it introduces Wesker as the new villain of the story and the plot with Alice’s clones and her being controlled by Umbrella is nice, but other than that there’s nothing much else here. There’s one major attack sequence by the infected, and even one (pretty creepy) scene involving an attack by infected crows. It is the film when we are introduced to the equally bad ass Claire (played by Ali Later), and we also have the returns of Leon and LJ from the last film, but I wish there was more action going on than there was.