In an opening flashback, we learn that Doctor James Marcus (Mark Simpson), the founder of the Umbrella Corporation, had a daughter named Alicia (Ever Anderson), who was dying of progeria. In desperation, Marcus steals an untested embryonic project created by his colleague Doctor Charles Ashford (Jared Harris) and uses it, the T-virus, on Alicia and some other victims of the disease. One child dies and becomes a zombie and he orders the termination of the project. He orders the data destroyed as well and forbids work on it. Ashford is devastated because he too has a daughter who needs help. Marcus’ partner Doctor Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen) orders Albert Wesker (Shaun Roberts) to kill Marcus. Then he adopts Alicia and takes over the corporation.
In the present, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is betrayed by Wesker in Washington, D.C. She awakes and the Umbrella AI the Red Queen (Ever Anderson again) tells her she has only 48 hours to infiltrate the Hive beneath Raccoon City. The Umbrella Corporation possesses an airborne antivirus that can kill every zombie, but they are waiting until the human race is wiped out. Alice has that virus in her system and may die with the human race. On the way there, she is captured by Doctor Isaacs. She thought she had killed him, but that was a clone. She escapes and arrives in Raccoon City, where she connects with a gang of survivors: Doc (Eoin Macken), Abigail (Ruby Rose), Christian (William Levy), Cobalt (Rola), Razor (Fraser James), and Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), who had survived the attack on the ship Arcadia.
Isaac’s convoy is coming, followed by a horde of zombies. Alice and her crew manage to defeat them and rescue Isaacs’ human captives, though Cobalt is killed in the battle. Alice and her army enter the Hive, which Wesker still controls, and he releases mutated guard dogs, who kill Christian and a former captive. The Red Queen appears to Alice and explains that she is in conflict. She can never hurt an Umbrella employee, but still values human life. She shows Alice a video of Isaacs explaining his plan to release the T-virus and wipe out humanity. Except, of course, that many of the rich and powerful are in cryogenic storage in the Hive and will be able to repopulate the world. The Red Queen also warns Alice that one of her followers is loyal to Umbrella.
Abigail and Razor are killed by booby traps. Alice and Doc plant bombs in the hive and confront Isaacs, who is tech-upgraded. Doc turns out to be the spy and Claire is captured by Wesker. Alicia Marcus (Milla Jovovich in old-age makeup) emerges from a cryogenic capsule and Isaacs informs Alice that she is a clone of Alicia. He plans to eliminate both of them and take complete control of Umbrella. But Alice has already emptied his gun (a favorite trick of hers) and Claire kills him. Alice and Claire give Wesker a dead man’s switch to the bombs and pursue Isaacs while Alicia uploads a copy of her childhood memories.
Isaacs attacks Alice and Claire and overpowers them at first, but Alice activates a grenade in his pocket. She escapes to the surface with the antivirus, but Isaacs reboots and catches her before she can release it. The Isaacs clone from the convoy arrives and kills him, believing that he is the real Isaacs. Then he is devoured by the zombies. Alice releases the antivirus and the zombies start to die as she passes out. Wesker drops the dead man’s switch, destroying himself, Alicia, the entire Hive, and the hibernating elite inside. Claire awakens Alice. The antivirus killed the T-virus in her body, but not her. The Red Queen uploads Alicia’s childhood memories into Alice. Alice then sets out for New York, as it will take time for the antivirus to arrive there on the prevailing winds, and she has work to do.
The film was written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson--the final film based on the video game series. Anderson intended to come full circle and bring back characters and themes from the earlier films, as well as the Umbrella Hive itself. It received mixed reviews, of course, but became the highest grossing Resident Evil film, earning 312 million dollars from a budget of 40 million. Young Ever Anderson, who played the Red Queen, is the daughter of Anderson and Jovovich. The memories that Alicia uploads for Alice are Ever’s real home videos.
Olivia Jackson, Jovovich’s stunt-double, was injured in a motorcycle accident and was in an induced coma for two weeks. She had many life-threatening injuries and lost her left arm. She sued the producers as Anderson had changed details of the shot without informing her and it turned out the studio had no insurance. She won. Later, a member of the crew named Richard Cornelius was crushed to death by a Hummer. A reboot film called Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City was released in 2021, without Anderson at the helm and without Milla Jovovich to kick ass. It garnered the usual mixed reviews but did not elicit the same fan loyalty as the series.
The Final Chapter is, incredibly, a final chapter. It is entirely action. There is the opening, and then the action begins. Forty-five minutes later, there is a moment of calm, and then there is another series of action sequences until everything goes boom at the end. Some critics criticized it for that reason, as the action left no room for character development. I’m sorry; you’ve seen five films. Everybody has had a moment of glory, died, came back, and covered themselves in more glory. If you don’t know these characters by now, you weren’t paying attention. Milla Jovovich is the star and though it becomes somewhat repetitive—there are only so many ways to beat the crap out of somebody—she is a force of nature. The series is a guilty pleasure, perhaps, as James Cameron said, but a pleasure nonetheless.