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Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

In Hollywood, the end never arrives. While movie franchises may stop, if they make a mountain of money, they inevitably return. We’ve had the alleged ‘final’ entries to the ‘Harry Potter’, Nightmare on Elm Street’ and other series only to see them return. ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’ makes a bold claim that this is ‘the end’. Whether it is, only the box office will tell. Long-time enthusiasts of this ghoulish set of films should take its title with a pinch of salt as it cuts a swathe towards its supposed ‘final’ fadeout.

Alice (Milla Jovovich) is still battling the evil Umbrella Corporation. Responsible for unleashing a deadly zombie plague upon the earth, the wicked conglomerate seems unstoppable. Armed with a plethora of weapons, Alice and her friends, including Claire (Ali Larter) and Abigail (Ruby Rose), stand firm against an upcoming onslaught. Facing a myriad of grotesque creatures, they do their best to crush the corporation’s power in a bid to save humanity once and for all.

The true star of ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’ isn’t Jovovich or director Paul W.S. Anderson, but the editor. Rarely has an action film been so harshly edited within an inch of its existence. It’s difficult to tell if the explosive action sequences are well staged due to the rapid-fire editing. This takes away from their impact and the film overall. Whilst Anderson shows much flair in the staging and plotting, the way the movie looks and edited is truly awful.

One of the few savings graces is the story, which effectively expands on the established mythology. More is learnt about Alice and her foes with previous events more clearly understood. Jovovich makes for a great heroine although her co-stars don’t get much of a look in. Iain Glen, as the main villain, hams it up for all he’s worth although he equips himself well in the fight scenes. Sadly it’s hard to tell if the movie looks good as the eternally dark and muddy cinematography masks the creatures that audiences are meant to marvel at.

The end probably couldn’t come soon enough for ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’. While the script is strong, the elements meant to support it let it down. It’s a serviceable enough time-waster with the producers hopefully wise to the fact that the end has come for a slowly dwindling franchise.

Rating out of 10: 4

Passengers

The fun in science fiction films is guessing if the predicted future will happen. While previous entries have failed miserably – no flying cars by 2015 as shown in ‘Back to the Future 2’ – others have come remarkably close. That adds a layer of enjoyment in any movie in this genre having unlimited story scope. ‘Passengers’ picks up on this with a futuristic tale typically loaded with dazzling CGI. More substantial than most, it bravely makes its own predictions of a future current viewers will likely never appreciate.

Thousands of colonists are on the starship, Avalon, journeying towards a new planet. Taking 120 years to reach its destination, its inhabitants are placed in suspended hibernation until its completion. One of the passengers, Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), is mysteriously woken 90 years too early. After some time wandering the ship alone, he meets Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence), who is also woken from sleep. Aurora joins Jim in searching for answers as they grapple with the loneliness deep space offers.

‘Passengers’ is an odd concoction of styles. Whilst the performances of Pratt and Lawrence are first rate with some incredible CGI, the story’s main focus leaves a lot to be desired. To say anymore would be unfair, although it alters your perception of events. This makes for uncomfortable viewing in a film slowly sinking in a quagmire of story styles. Not knowing if it’s a thriller, romance, drama or comedy, the mix of genre staples never fully gels.

What it lacks in focus, it almost makes up for with its leads. ‘Passengers’ thrives on the acting skills of Pratt and Lawrence who give it their all. Their character’s actions are easily understood as they are grounded in believability. Although sounding absurd in a sci-fi film set centuries in the future, viewers would never be able to invest in such a fanciful tale if not for the strength of performances. The sense of isolation and loneliness is keenly felt via their roles with plenty of opportunities for the leads to fully shine.

Despite pacing and script issues, ‘Passengers’ captivates until its final frame. It’s a thought-provoking piece on the nature of love and overcoming emotional hardships. It may not be remembered like other sci-fi films but ‘Passengers’ offers some intriguing glimpses of a future our descendants may endure.

Rating out of 10: 6