Sunday, September 16, 2012


“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


  1. This one was torture for me, I just couldn't take how flimsy it all felt, though these films have never had much substance to them, this one felt overtly simplistic, as if it was filler, simply made to stretch things out, make a little extra money before giving us the last one.

    Of course, I loved that cliffhanger, but damn it, if only the rest of the film had been as good. I'm actually a fan of Anderson, but he let me down with this one. It felt like he was just going through the motions.

    I think people are going to see these because they expect a story to be resolved somehow, but this particular film feels so unimportant...still I had some fun with it, but not as much as I was expecting.

  2. Hey, FC!

    I read your review on TFC shortly after seeing Resident Evil: Retribution and while I sympathize with your low opinion of it, I don’t completely share it. I don’t think the plot for Resident Evil: Retribution was any more simplistic than any of the previous films. The plot of Resident Evil: Afterlife consists of Alice looking for Acadia, crashing on a prison, escaping the prison and finding out that Acadia is a ship. The only complication of that plot is that the ship is really an Umbrella research facility which is conducting experiments on the survivors. What makes Resident Evil: Afterlife more interesting than Resident Evil: Retribution is that the newly introduced characters (particularly West and Bennett) are allowed time to develop some character; whereas RE:R reintroduces Jill Valentine, Rain Ocampo, Carlos Olivera, Luther West and James "One" Shade all of who are given no character development, because they are all clones being controlled by the Red Queen AI.

    We’re also given very little information about the motives behind the Red Queen AI, so that all the obstacles that Alice has to go through to escape the Umbrella facility seem unimportant, because you know that she will ultimately survive them, just as she did the previous four films. Also, the idea that Albert Wesker would suddenly want to save Alice, just so that she can help him save the remainder of humanity from the zombie Apocalypse seems out of character to me. So there is a plot to Resident Evil: Retribution, it’s just not a very well thought out or executed one. Some foreshadowing of the Red Queen’s actions in Resident Evil: Afterlife may have helped, but the way that the film currently transitions into Resident Evil: Retribution makes this film feel very disjointed and confusing.

    I do have faith that Paul W. S. Anderson will make the sixth and last Resident Evil film better and help make sense out of the plot mess of Resident Evil: Retribution.