This is the sixth and final installment of the Resident Evil movie franchise starring Milla Jovovich. The first film premiered in 2002 and the franchise has been a constant presence throughout the early and mid-2000s. It took a break for some time after the release of their previous film in 2012 before they made the announcement of one more being in production. The Final Chapter marks the end of an era, and one I'll certainly miss, but the journey has been incredible.
The movie begins with Alice emerging from the last remains of the battle of Washington, D.C. that happened (explaining the continuity from the end of the previous film, Resident Evil: Retribution) where she gets contacted by the Red Queen, who appears to have gone rogue and is secretly betraying the Umbrella Corporation by giving Alice vital information that Umbrella will be eradicating the rest of the surviving human population within a certain amount of hours and that she must return to the Hive in Raccoon City to retrieve an airborne anti-virus to prevent that from happening, which can save the world. Dubious at first, Alice agrees and goes forth on her journey back to Raccoon City where she faces old enemies and meeting up with old friends, and a startling revelation which brings everything full circle.
The reveal that Alice is actually a clone from Alicia Marcus, the daughter of the man who created the T-Virus to save her from an aging disease, was a plot twist I didn't see coming. I quite liked it, actually, and I don't care that it may even be a retcon. Alice had only the memories of her time with Umbrella in the mansion, but before that she didn't really have anything else, none of that was ever revealed about her past. Everything was all about Umbrella. Her being successfully infected with the T-Virus, them making clones of her to try and achieve that same level of success by going through trial simulations, like even if this was retconned I can totally see it. Our Alice was the one true success because, even if she was created by Umbrella, she broke free from what they tried to do. She went rogue, she became her own person through her experiences. No matter what her origins were, she is human through and through, and nothing would ever change that. And I liked how we had the Holy Trinity featured at the end: Alicia Marcus (the original), Alice (her clone) and the Red Queen (the digital image of Alicia's younger self programmed into Umbrella), all of them working together against Dr. Isaacs and the Umbrella Corporation. It was incredibly satisfying.
And of course the original Dr. Alexander Isaacs was the one to order the intentional release of the T-Virus and orchestrating a man-made apocalypse to "cleanse" the Earth and all those chosen (the rich and wealthy who would be in stasis underneath Umbrella, safe and sound, until the deed was done) would awaken in a new world they could shape into their Utopian image. That's always how these things start, isn't it? Someone who thinks they can play God. But, as always, these things backfire because they overestimate their success and underestimate those who can overthrow them. He never expected Alice to be the one who would do this, that she along with Alicia Marcus and the Red Queen would all conspire against him.
One of the things that intrigued me was the concept of clones being used in this franchise. We knew about Alice and her clones and what Umbrella intended to do with them, and the revelation that she, herself, is a clone of Alicia Marcus, but in this film we also get the reveal that Dr. Isaacs is also a clone of Dr. Alexander Isaacs, the man who has been behind everything from the beginning and who purposefully created clones of himself into the world to make sure certain deeds got fulfilled while he remained underground with the rest of the rich and wealthy Umbrella employees waiting out the apocalypse. Clones that aren't self-aware of their identity coming face-to-face with their original have different reactions. While Alice was in somewhat disbelief at first she quickly took it in stride, the Dr. Isaacs clone just couldn't accept it and, ultimately, ended up killing the original Dr. Isaacs because of his intense denial that he was a clone (and then he got attacked by zombies quickly thereafter). Talk about sweet justice and karma for them both. The original Dr. Isaacs pretty much got bested by his own creations, all because he couldn't see beyond his own selfishness and greed and ego.
In the end, I originally thought that Alice would've died by sacrificing herself for the rest of humanity, because it would've made sense for that to end her story of this franchise, and in a sense she did. But her sacrificial act was a testament to how different she was from anyone else who would've been in her position, as pointed out by the Red Queen via Alicia Marcus. She survived because the anti-virus corrected the T-Virus in her system, and she is no longer infected. Also the fact that Alicia gave Alice her memories was very sweet and touching. Even though Alice herself never experienced those things herself, the fact that Alicia was willing to share this with her and give her a piece of herself was a nice way of giving something to Alice for everything that she had been, and the woman that Alice has become.
I kinda like that the end shows that it's not truly the end, but an entire new beginning and that Alice's journey isn't quite done yet, but as far as this franchise goes this was a nice way of ending things. The anti-virus will take effect, the world will slowly rebuild with the last remaining survivors of humanity, and Alice will do whatever it takes to rid of all the other monstrosities that still linger about. I couldn't think of a better way of ending her story.
Oh, and Claire Redfield survived! That was something that I was honestly worried about, but I'm so utterly thankful that she lived to the end. I'm hoping this means that both she and Alice remain together and being the best girlfriend fighting team and rebuilding the world. ♥
Overall: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter was everything I had hoped it would be, action-packed and gave a good conclusion to this franchise which I have been a fan of for a long time now. I enjoyed myself thoroughly. I'll miss seeing Milla as Alice, but this was a great sendoff.
The Resident Evil Franchise Overall: I absolutely unabashedly love these films. I know that fans of the Resident Evil video games weren't thrilled that they didn't follow the game storyline at all, which is understandable, but these films never intended to go down the video game route, considering that Alice herself was created solely for these films. This was her story, and while they did bring in some elements of the RE universe, including some characters from the games, this is a completely separate entity altogether, complete with their own continuity, plot and storyline. Sure, it wasn't perfect, but I still loved it anyway because Milla Jovovich absolutely made this franchise for what it was. I continued to love these films because of her and the other amazing women featured in it. It was women kicking ass, what more could I ever want?
Similarly, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was recently released and it's been amazing seeing the playthroughs of that. It's kind of a rejuvenating of the Resident Evil game franchise as well, since most weren't fond of the sixth game, and this has a completely different style and game play from the others, and offers a new different timeline and universe in a sense. And interestingly, some of that I actually saw tied into Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, at least somewhat.