Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Ultra HD Blu-ray review

Milla Jovovich is game for one last round of zombie blasting in this 4K action-horror franchise finale

This sixth and final instalment to a surprisingly resilient fantasy franchise picks up sometime after Resident Evil: Retribution, and seems determined to end the show with as much chaotic splatter as possible. The plot sees zombie butt-kicker Alice (Milla Jovovich), series returnee Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and assorted cohorts (but not Jill Valentine) square off for a climactic confrontation with the Umbrella Corporation, in an effort to release an airborne antivirus that could stop the T-Virus dead in its tracks (sic), before the last enclaves of humanity fall to the undead hordes.

This time around, the creepy little Red Queen becomes an unlikely ally, offering to help take down Umbrella Corp owner/bonkers messianic scientist Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen), now more deranged than ever after his untimely death in 2007's Resident Evil: Extinction.

Needless to say, this final instalment isn't a good jumping on point for the zombie-curious. While an exhaustive recap is provided, the convoluted mythos will mean little to a Resi-newbie. But for the long-suffering faithful, there are plenty of references to earlier entries to enjoy, and, yes, the laser corridor is back for one last slice and dice.

Like the films that have proceeded it, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is probably less than the sum of its parts, but there are moments to savour if monster mayhem is your thing. There's barely time to catch your breath as Jovovich pirouettes and spins her way through a serious of spectacular set-pieces. However, while the stunt sequences are imaginative and often stunningly choreographed, they are strung together at such a furious tilt they almost blur. The film (presumably intentionally) has the full-pelt pace of a console title, indeed watching it is rather like watching someone else play a video game. Still, you'll not find it short of AV system-stretching moments.

Before anybody gets too upset about the series coming to a close, production company Constantin Films has already confirmed that work is underway on rebooting the film franchise with a new cast and James 'The Conjuring' Wan onboard as producer.

Picture: Image quality is largely impressive. The film was shot at 5K, with extensive VFX rendered at 2K, resulting in a 4K digital intermediate; the overall look is reasonably detailed, particularly big close-ups. Opening scenes of a devastated US capital feature lashings of visual minutiae, which is great fun to scrutinise.

The colour palette is predictably stylised, with the post-apocalyptic landscape cruelly desaturated (the end of the world will be sepia, it's official); the only flashes of vibrancy being explosions. There's no obvious exploitation of a wider colour gamut. Similarly, the most dramatic use of HDR highlights occur during the climax, with torches and lens flare providing realistic dazzle. The opening post-title sequence of Alice meandering through a devastated Washington DC, after facing off against a Jabberwocky (who knew?), has an average bitrate of less than 30Mbps.

The disc is likely to prove a genuine torture test for 4K displays, too. The latter half of the movie, when Alice and her merry band launch their assault on The Hive (in almost pitch dark and via poorly-lit tunnels) will no doubt result in plenty of screens struggling to reveal near-dark detail.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter's Dolby Atmos soundtrack is loud - although not necessarily in a good way. It's been mixed hot, like radio pop. Not dynamic, just uniformly cranked up for maximum sledgehammer effect. Noise is spread evenly like jam into every channel. Gunfire, gore, growls – you name it, they all play at the same level. We had to listen some 10dB down from our standard home theatre reference level, because this sonic blancmange was just too much.

That's not to say the Dolby Atmos mix doesn't entertain. Plenty of stuff happens in the round, with atmospheric effects heightening the sense of immersion. Non-Atmos owners should note that the 7.1 audio design is comparably rewarding. Top marks also for the terrific doom-synth score by Paul Haslinger, which adds immeasurably to the mood.
Audio rating: 3.5/5

Extras: There's no supplemental fun provided on the 4K platter beyond a basic cast and crew picture gallery. For anything more than that you'll have to turn to the 'regular' Blu-rays it is bundled with.

The chief extra on the Blu-ray is a 'Retaliation Mode' that allows you to watch the film with occasional cut aways to Milla Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson chatting about the making of the movie. Also included on the disc are a preview of this Summer's Resident Evil: Vendetta animated flick, plus a trio of behind-the-scenes featurettes about stunts, the creation of The Hive and the franchise's female stars.

This is bolstered by a bonus Blu-ray platter housing four additional featurettes. These include a chat with Japanese model-turned-actress Rola and a look at Paul W.S. Anderson's directing style.
Extras rating: 3.5/5

We say: This decent 4K package provides a fittingly kinetic end to the kick-ass horror series.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Sony Pictures, Ultra HD Blu-ray/All-region BD, £30 Approx