Title: Resident Evil: Retribution
Genre(s): Action, Horror, Science Fiction
Director(s): Paul W.S. Anderson
Release Year: 2012
Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
Apocalypse. Afterlife. Extinction. Now we’ve wandered into the fourth subtitle and fifth movie in the Resident Evil series: Retribution. I should preface this review by saying I have not watched a Resident Evil film since the first one, and never really enjoyed the games, though I do definitely see their appeal. That being said, I like the concept of the games, so I thought I’d give the film series another chance, despite it being the fifth movie and I hadn’t seen any of the previous three. Thus, here I am, and I can safely say, the Resident Evil series will go on for a few more films, despite this film being extremely mindless and repetitive.
The film starts off where Resident Evil: Afterlife left off, in a painful reverse slow-motion sequence of what happens just to roll the credits. Get rid of those 5 minutes, and you’re already down to a 90 minute runtime. Then that’s followed by a recap of the events that happened in the previous films, which was beneficial to someone like me who hadn’t seen the films before, but in the end I wasn’t entirely sure why they showed that because none of it really came back in the film, save the characters at least. After those 5 minutes, we’re treated to the final moments in Afterlife again, but this time at a normal speed and going forward. The opening 10 minutes of this film, can easily summarize what’s wrong with the rest of the movie.
First of all, we have slow-motion being used to the utmost extreme, with no real bearing for it. If I were to total up the slow-mo, it would probably amount to about 25 minutes collectively. The film is 95 minutes long, so get rid of that slow-motion and you have yourself a much shorter film. Then cut the unnecessary recap of events which serves nothing to the story because none of it comes back into play, and you have a 65 minute film. Cool, now you can understand what is so taxing about watching the Resident Evil films. I suppose I should credit them for throwing in some exposition, but it’s so trivial in the context of this film that it doesn’t make any sense to include it but to give a padded feature length to the film.
The tagline to Resident Evil: Retribution is “Evil Goes Global” and they mean that in perhaps the most loosest terms possible. From that you’re probably expecting a fight all across the world, but nope. Instead, the film did do something interesting, but as I was told, it’s exactly the same as what happens in Hunger Games. Instead of them having to leave a building, there are cities generated within Umbrella Corporation headquarters that were used as testing grounds for the T-virus that has created the whole zombie outbreak. So we get to see Alice (Milla Jovovich) travel from artificial city to artificial city trying to escape the facility with the help of Ada Wong (Bingbing Li) and a task force assigned by Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts). As they try to escape they are being hunted by the Red Queen, an AI in the Umbrella Corporation mainframe which takes control and issues out different testing operations to try and stop Alice. The New York scene plays host to one fight that I did enjoy, but it was pretty mindless and repetitive, as is the problem with the whole film, but you gotta try to latch onto something, right?
The major problem that I have with this film is that I cannot tell if it’s taking itself seriously. Sure, it’s based on a video game about zombies so I guess they can justify being a little “campy,” but to have a whole film with one-dimensional characters and ridiculous dialogue is absurd. Sure, they do try to add some emotional depth to the film, but it really doesn’t amount to anything. Every character is so stiff in their performance, with the exception of Becky (Aryana Engineer) and Rain (Michelle Rodriguez) in certain scenes. If your main character is more stiff than secondary characters, you have some major problems with your script. Though, it’s futile to complain because this film is going to make a lot of money, just like the rest of the series. The movie is relatively non-stop in its presentation of action scenes, so I can see why people will flock to the cinema to see the film, but is it so much to ask for a little more depth in a movie? Also, you don’t have to put every action movie trope into the movie in order to entertain the people going to see this. Save some of those tricks for the next eighteen films.
And perhaps that was the most satisfying thing the movie delivered on. It ends with a cliffhanger, but the promise of an end to the series. Have they realized that no one goes to these films for anything more than the spectacle? Until I see “In this slapstick comedy…” as the description to a Resident Evil film, I’m going to assume they intend to deliver the most serious action films they can deliver. In this film, though you can tell there’s nothing you can take seriously despite that being their intent. So hopefully with the next one, or several films, we can see the end of a series that no longer satisfies even in the mindless action department. Maybe you can kill the series sooner by going to see Finding Nemo instead this week. It’s definitely a much better film.
Overall: Not Recommended