Enjoy the action in the newest ‘Resident Evil’ movie

By Gary Clift

The newest movie in the “Resident Evil” series is playing out on Seth Child Road for $2.18. During the weekend, at least, it was part of a double feature: you could pay to see the early evening “RE” and then slip into any of the other eleven auditoria to see whatever struck your fancy.

This may, however, have been an expiring offer. It is hard to tell, given that the chain that owns the local theaters relies exclusively on its website for advertising, and on Thursday and Friday of last week, its website contained no listings for either of the town’s multi-plexes. It did list one film that was showing in Tulsa, though.

Not all business managers are first-rate. But all movies directed by Paul W.S. Anderson are going to have exciting action in them. And this is the case with his “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.” I believe this is the sixth movie in the series based on what was once a popular video game—”Resident Evil” (2002), “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” (2004), “Resident Evil: Extinction” (2007), “Resident Evil: Afterlife” (2010), “Resident Evil: Retribution” (2014), and “Final Chapter.”

Anderson directed all those except “Apocalypse” and “Extinction,” and he wrote those. The one talent who has appeared in all the films is former model Milla Jovovich, French film magnate Luc Besson’s ex who married Anderson in 2009. Is she best known for the “Resident Evil” movies, for her great turn in “The Fifth Element,” or for her dead-on fashion lampooning in the two “Zoolander” movies?

Jovovich is an action star. She’s pretty and well-costumed, but she isn’t around for romance. She isn’t an actress who can do some fighting (like Kate Beckinsale). She is a real action picture star. And, partly because of the odd tone Anderson creates with his original editing, she is every bit as convincing as are Willis or Statham in action parts.

“Final Chapter” is essentially end-to-end action. Most of the surviving humans on Earth have been turned into zombies by the dispersal of the Umbrella Corporation’s T virus. There are also some odd monsters flying and swimming and running around in the path of Alice (Jovovich) as she drives and rides and runs and swims toward the corporation’s underground headquarters in Raccoon City.

She’s headed there because the Umbrella mainframe’s human image, a little girl Alice calls “The Red Queen,” tells our heroine that the company has a cure for the virus ready for dispersal into the air. But to get to the antidote, Alice must first join forces with the few still-human civilians (including a character reprised from an earlier film by Ali Larter), must over-come the evil corporation head Isaacs (Iain Glen, who has also appeared in the series before), must make it through a subterranean maze of booby traps, and must be willing to sacrifice her own life.

The film can be dark and the action scenes, which are almost non-stop, can be filmed from a little too close in. But generally speaking, no recent action picture has featured as many exciting and original fighting scenes. Some are nods to earlier series sequences (Alice must dive through and around moving lines of lasers traveling toward her in a small corridor), some recall great action scenes from other movies (like the mass killing at the tower, a scene like one in “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”), and some are brand new.

The brisk passages of explanation are too complicated. But they take so little time one isn’t really kept from the running and fighting and driving long enough that complaint seems necessary. If you like movie action, Anderson has made this film for you.

Besides his experiments with making the video games “Resident Evil” and “Mortal Kombat” into feature films, Anderson has directed “Event Horizon,” the remake of “Death Race,” and 3-D wonders “Three Musketeers” and “Pompeii.” He is the only film director I know of whose 3-D movies contain effective depth of vision throughout their running time.

W.S. is no apparent relation to movie directors Paul Thomas Anderson (who made “There Will Be Blood,” “Boogie Nights,” and “Punch Drunk Love”) or Wes Anderson (who made “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel”). Given our current poverty of dependable film directors, an astonishing percentage of them seem to have the same last name. So here’s a rule of movie- going for you. Always buy tickets for any movie directed by a man named Anderson. If you had relied on that scheme for the last twenty-five years, you’d have seen a lot of first-rate movies. And more than a few of them would have been Paul W.S. Anderson movies.

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