'Resident Evil' Series Recap: Everything You Need To Remember Before 'The Final Chapter'

Over the course of five Resident Evil movies, we still haven't learned a whole lot about Alice (Milla Jovovich). She's a character driven more by action, but her actions often don't define her in any substantial or tangible ways. She's often shooting her way through these movies — mostly surviving, rarely evolving.

The character is always on the move. She's nearly always driving the story, creating more action than waiting to react. Alice rarely stops to doubt her missions or to self-reflect or chit-chat. This character and these movies aren't prone to slowing down and stopping, unless it's for exposition. Perhaps you've forgotten some of that exposition and pertinent information after all these years since the last installment in the series, 2012's Resident Evil: Retribution.

If you want to brush up on the events of the franchise before seeing director Paul W.S. Anderson's Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, then give our Resident Evil recap a look.

Resident Evil (2002)

The leanest and most effective film in this series begins with Alice as a security officer of the Umbrella Corporation, an evil bioweaponry company. She wakes up in a shower with no memory, thanks to the Red Queen's nerve gas, but she hasn't lost any of her punch. Alice and Spencer (James Purefoy), the man who doesn't remember he released the virus, along with Umbrella soldiers Rain Ocampo (Michelle Rodriguez) and James "One" Shade (Colin Salmon), try to prevent the T-virus from escaping The Hive. If the virus spreads, then the world slides into the land of the walking dead. In the Hive, we see infected pooches, characters sliced to pieces by lasers, and plenty of blood and guts. Only Alice survives this more horror-driven Resident Evil film. Matt (Eric Mabius) perhaps gets the worst of it — infected by the end and turned into a monstrosity called Nemesis.

Despite the Red Queen's warning — "you're all going to die down here" — Alice reaches the last level of the movie, fights and kills the big bad (the Licker), and ends up in abandoned streets all alone carrying a shotgun.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

If you didn't see the first movie, don't worry. This one fills you in on the details with a big ol' exposition dump at the start: Alice explaining directly to the audience what's occurred, which happens at the beginning of a few of these movies. Like the previous film, the plotting is more straightforward, getting from Point A to point B with a simple mission. This time, it's to save Angela (Sophie Vavasseur), daughter of Dr. Ashford (Jared Harris) of the Umbrella Corporation, who is a part of the T-Virus' origin. Ashford didn't want his daughter to grow sick like he did, but his cure didn't turn out as planned.

Alice has to find Angela before the company blows up Raccoon City to cover up the infection, which is now uncontainable. She goes searching for the girl with L.J. Wayne (Mike Epps), Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr), and Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), who later returns under mind control in Retribution. Who makes his big return in this sequel? Matt, now deformed and under the control of Umbrella. There are a lot of close-ups of the infected's blue eye to let you know it's really Matt. A part of old Matt is still alive, too, so he goes against his orders and helps out Alice by killing a few Umbrella soldiers.

In the end, Umbrella covers up the infection as a nuclear meltdown, Angela lives (but her father Dr. Ashford dies), and Alice ends up in the hands of the largest and most powerful commercial entity in the world. For a vague reason, Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen) inexplicably lets her run free with Carlos, L.J., Jill, and Angela. Umbrella can track her, but still, they let Project Alice go, which seems to create a whole mess of problems for them in the future.

Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

The most natural opening of any Resident Evil film begins with Alice waking up in a shower and wandering around in her red dress from the first movie before she's shot and killed. Then her body is dropped into a pile of Alices, which are revealed to be Umbrella Corporation clones. Dr. Isaacs is looking to reverse the T-virus, to curb the infected's appetite and make them somewhat human again, so he's been working with some of Alice's clones. But they can't reverse the virus without the real Alice, who's stronger than ever and living off the grid, traveling solo in the wastelands.

What's going on at the start of Extinction is a tad confusing after how Apocalypse resolved, but if you just go with it, you'll learn Alice was worried about Umbrella tracking her. That's why she ditched Carlos and her friends from Apocalypse. Carlos is now helping to find survivors with Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), K-Mart (Spencer Locke), and L.J., who dies in this sequel.

After Alice kills some infected crows with the power of her mind (a fine money shot), she and the remaining survivors go to Las Vegas, and then some more side characters are eaten to underwhelming results, except Conor, who has the only decent sendoff in this movie. He lights up a joint and blows himself up before Alice reaches the facility from the film's opening, where she has the pleasure of disposing of an infected, hideous, and somewhat cartoony Dr. Isaacs.

After Alice discovers all of her clones, the film ends and a morose cover of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" plays.

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

Alice makes her way to Japan, and she's bringing all her clones with her. They fight in an opening set piece reminiscent of The Matrix films. Sadly, the film doesn't continue with a legion of Alices taking on the Umbrella Corporation. Cut to four years later and Alice is still tough and driven, but after Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), chairman of the Umbrella Corporation, injected her with a serum, she's not as powerful as she once was. She's searching for Arcadia, a safe haven for survivors. She later discovers it's all a big con to lure her and potential (human) lab rats in, but in her search for Arcadia, she crosses paths with Claire Redfield — small world! — who's under mind control and doesn't remember Alice.

The two fly to Los Angeles together, where they meet up with Claire Redfield's brother (Wentworth Miller), basketball star Luther West (Boris Kodjoe), and a slimeball producer played by Kim Coates, who knows how to deliver broad jokes with gusto. They're mostly held up in a building, fighting to survive with Arcadia on the mind. When Alice and Claire get there after defeating the axe-wielding monster, they fall into Albert Wesker's trap — but they do reunite with K-Mart.

Not held back too much by her lack of powers, Alice takes Wesker down, and then sends out a call to survivors seeking refuge. In the final minutes, a swarm of Umbrella planes and goons approach the ship full of awakened survivors. Things are about to get explosive and truly insane, and then...cut to black!

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)

Here's another Resident Evil sequel that picks up where it left off, albeit during the opening credits and on rewind/flashforward. But it's a payoff nonetheless. What follows is a structure similar to the first movie: Alice trying to escape from Umbrella's underwater testing facility. Her and some others — including Luther West, who returns to die in this installment — have to go through a series of simulations, one involving the infected dressed up in old-timey soldiers outfits and firing off machine guns, and another calling to mind the Dawn of the Dead remake.

The story also involves clones of Alice, Rain, and Carlos, as well as Alice's "daughter," Becky (Aryana Engineer), but that doesn't add up to much more than empty fanservice and a nod to Aliens.

Like in the first movie, the Red Queen goes haywire and tries to kill Alice and the little that's left of humanity. The creepy little piece of A.I. is now calling the shots at Umbrella and has somehow grown worse, to the point where even Umbrella Corporation's own employees — Ada Wong (Bingbing Li) and Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) — begin to help Alice. In the end, Wesker gives Alice her powers back to fight in the last stand at the White House. The ending gets you looking forward to a movie you know you'll never see.