“While Resident Evil: Retribution won’t go up as my favorite Resident Evil film, it certainly isn’t the worst film in the series either.”
Science-Fiction, Horror and Action
Starring - Milla Jovovich/Alice, Sienna Guillory/Jill Valentine, Michelle Rodriguez/Rain Ocampo, Aryana Engineer/Becky, Johann Urb/Leon S. Kennedy, Kevin Durand/Barry Burton, Li Bingbing/Ada Wong, Oded Fehr/Carlos Olivera, Boris Kodjoe/Luther West, Colin Salmon/James "One" Shade and Shawn Roberts/Albert Wesker
Director - Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer - Paul W.S. Anderson
Rated R for sequences of strong violence throughout.
Runtime - 95 min.
My immediate and initial visceral reaction to Resident Evil: Retribution was one of exhaustive contentment and marginal confusion. While I was still blown away by Paul W.S. Anderson’s ability to create innovative and exhilarating action sequences, I was puzzled by his creative choice to take the plot from Resident Evil: Afterlife and throw it away in favor of a completely different one in Resident Evil: Retribution.
Resident Evil: Retribution opens with the Umbrella Corporation’s attack on the freighter Acadia by a fleet of airships. The Arcadia is being destroyed by the airships, when Alice fires on one of them, causing it to crash into the Arcadia and throwing Alice overboard unconscious into the water.
Alice awakens in an idyllic suburban setting; complete with a husband Todd (who inexplicably looks like Carlos Olivera) and daughter Becky. Zombies suddenly burst into their home, kill her husband chase Alice and Becky out of the house, where they are rescued in a car driven by Rain Ocampo. Their car is hit by a truck and Alice is knocked unconscious once again.
Alice awakens this time alone in an enormous Umbrella base cell. Alice is interrogated and tortured by former ally Jill Valentine, who is being controlled by Umbrella through a red scarab device attached to her chest. Alice awakens again and there is a sudden power failure, which enables her to escape her cell.
Alice exits the Umbrella facility and is a city that looks exactly like Raccoon City. While battling a horde of zombies, she meets Ada Wong, who tells her that she is in a huge facility built by the Umbrella Corporation to recreate the great cities of the world. Umbrella used these to stage zombie attacks, in hope of selling their anti-virus-toxin to the highest bidder, but it was instead taken over by none other than the Red Queen – the Artificial Intelligence Computer that ran the original Umbrella Corporation facility that created the zombie virus in the first place. Alice teams with old and new allies, in an attempt to stop the Red Queen and the zombie plague from wiping out what is left of the human race.
Resident Evil: Retribution feels very much like it is treading water and merely setting itself up for a sixth and perhaps final film in the Resident Evil series. However, there is actually quite a lot of plot squeezed into all the multiple chase sequences and fight scenes in the movie. I think the reason that the film feels so bereft of plot development is because of its sudden shift in direction and its unresolved nature. The story is also confusing because of the many characters from the previous Resident Evil films that are brought back are not only clones of those characters, but sometimes they are multiples of those clones with both “good” and “bad” personalities. The film’s plot advancement relies so heavily on Alice’s character, that too many times it is unclear to both her and us, what the motivations of the other characters are.
Plot aside, the reason that Resident Evil: Retribution and all the other films in the series have been so entertaining are the multiple fight sequences between Alice and the zombies. While Resident Evil: Retribution certainly has its fair share of these, much of the film is taken up with Alice being chased and fighting with more human opponents. While these are done with Anderson’s usual panache and style, there is a certain lack of accomplishment to them. Every time Alice beats someone, it seems that that opponent is either replaced or made to be an ally. Still, the action scenes are for the most part top notch and definitely worth seeing on the big screen. I did not see it in 3D this time, but it was more from the fact that it wasn’t playing in that format at my local theater than the lack of desire to see it in 3D.
While Resident Evil: Retribution won’t go up as my favorite Resident Evil film, it certainly isn’t the worst film in the series either (that honor still goes to Resident Evil: Apocalypse -2004). Even that film is more entertaining than many bigger budgeted Hollywood films and I will definitely be going to see the next film in the Resident Evil film franchise to see how Alice helps to save humanity from the zombie hordes.
TECHNICAL: Acting – 8 Directing – 9 Cinematography – 9 Script – 8 Special Effects – 10
VISCERAL: Visual – 10 Auditory – 9 Intellectual – 7 Emotional – 9 Involvement – 9
TOTAL - 88