Resident Evil: Retribution
Out Now On-Demand
Evil goes global.
Milla Jovovich returns in this fifth installment of the sci-fi zombie horror franchise, adapted from the Capcom video game. Written and directed by Paul WS Anderson (The Three Musketeers, Resident Evil). Alice (Jovovich) continues to find and assist survivors in a world ravaged by a virus infection that turns its victims into the Undead.
As her battle heats up with the Umbrella Corporation, she discovers more information on her past and finds new comrades. The quest to hunt those responsible for the outbreak takes them to New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Moscow.
Action, Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller
Rating: R16 contains horror scenes and violence
Having never seen a Resident Evil film all the way through, I was curious to how I’d react to the fifth instalment. Critics hate the films but the people love 'em, so my optimism had me convinced that I’d be in for deliciously brain-dead entertainment in the same vein as Fast Five or Underworld Awakening. Two things are certain: my optimistic self is an idiot and Retribution is terrible.
It opens with Jovovich’s Alice giving an extremely blunt rundown on the series' overarching storyline thus far, though I’m not sure what the point is since this entry doesn’t seem concerned with pushing this plot forward. Instead, the entire running time is devoted to Alice trying to escape Umbrella’s experimental city-wide V.R. chambers.
So why did they trap her there? Who honestly cares? This setup is a mere chum bucket for all the pop-cultural elements Paul W.S. Anderson’s seemingly 13-year-old mind could regurgitate. The Matrix, Terminator, Aliens, and even Dawn of the Dead (as remade by Zack Snyder) have been chewed up, spat out and smeared onto different areas of the film reel with apparently little appreciation of what made those films work.
Resident Evil: Retribution lacks inventiveness in any single fibre of its being - and worse, it's dull, resulting in highly produced b-grade schlock that constantly mashed the slo-mo button with its worn-down book of 3D clichés.
New York Daily News
New York Times
Time Out New York
Worth than ..... but wait there is more?
It's rather unbelievable that sh*t like this can be sold for the fifth time.
It basically starts with a 25 minute explanation (new virus infection ... again blabla)
why there has to be another movie. The Film impresses with how many different holes in floors, walls and ceilings can be opened and closed using the almost same robot sound each time. It's more intellectually rewarding to stay home and cut holes
into paper yourself.
Milla Jovovich stars as Alice for the fifth time, and her husband Paul WS Anderson directs a 'Resident Evil movie for the third time. Anderson wasn't always a byword for "complete and utter formulaic Hollywood sh*te based on a video game." Despite loathing his 'Mortal Combat' movie, I enjoyed his follow-ups, 'Event Horizon' and 'Soldier' as well-made sci-fi action fare on a par with films such as Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicles, 'Timecop' or 'Universal Soldier.' But following those promising diversions, Anderson plunged headfirst into the garbage pail with the likes of 'AVP: Alien vs. Predator', 'Resident Evil' and its sequel 'Afterlife' and now 'Retribution' - the fifth 'Resident Evil' movie (sixth if you count the CGI movie 'Degeneration'... seventh if you count the short film 'Biohazard 4D-Executer'... eighth if you count the currently in-production CGI movie 'Damnation'...)
Like the 'Underworld' series (in which director Len Wiseman ogles his wife Kate Beckinsale), 'Resident Evil' centres largely on the premise that a director with little originality or vision can get his wife to wear very very tight pvc, leather or otherwise body-hugging S&M-style garb and fly around in slo-mo firing guns in a manner not just reminiscent of 'The Matrix' - but copied entirely from it...
So basically if you're a video-game playing fourteen year-old this is 'Citizen Kane.' If you're a film fan who expects just a modicum of character, narrative or sense - forget it. This is strictly a high-tech cartoon writ large. The explosions and flying debris look great in 3D, as does Jovovich - but to pretend there's anything new here is like going into McDonalds every day to order a cheeseburger and on day five expecting something surprising and new that you've never tasted before...
And that's it really. It's a fast-food movie. Nothing new. It's just quick, easy and about as entertaining or nutritious for the mind as French fries dipped in ketchup.
Still, Milla looks great and lots of things go boom and bang and kerrranggity-crash. So, there is that...
Not for newcomers
Until this point, for all intents and purposes I hadn't seen any of Paul W.S. Anderson's Resident Evil films (I think I saw the first, but don't remember it at all. Were there scary dogs in it?). Entering into a franchise at the fifth installment is probably not the best strategy, but so it was that I found myself sitting down for Resident Evil: Retribution, not entirely sure what to expect. I played a few of the games as a teenager, but again, nothing has really stuck with me. So, how does the movie fare with (essentially) a newcomer such as myself?
Not well. Not well at all.
Thankfully (or so I thought), Anderson opens the film with a lengthy sequence bringing viewers up to speed with the story so far, and surprisingly it seems that the Resident Evil film series has all but evolved past being about zombies. There are a few sequences involving the undead in Retribution, but the real antagonist here is a malevolent artificial intelligence, the Red Queen, who controls the central computer system of the nefarious Umbrella Corporation.
Early on the film is actually pretty fun, and shows potential. Our heroine Alice (Milla Jovovich) finds herself in an Umbrella testing facility, where the Red Queen runs simulations to see how the company's biological weapons affect various cities around the globe. Jovovich, perhaps the only thing holding this series together, fights her way through the Tokyo simulation, culminating in a highly entertaining hallway battle with a dozen zombies.
Unfortunately, it's at this point that Anderson drops Alice into the real story, which I can only assume is continuing from the previous films, as I really didn't understand or care what was happening. As a stand-alone film, Retribution simply doesn't do enough for first-time viewers. What little structure the narrative has never really builds to anything, and it's more or less one long gunfight with an inexplicable rescue mission mixed in. Aside from Jovovich, the acting is atrocious across the board, with particularly shoddy work from Sienna Guillory and Bingbing Li. The performances, and Anderson's direction, are appropriately on par with that of a bad video game cut-scene, and get so bad at times that it almost seems intentional.
Resident Evil: Retribution is not a film for new audiences but for die-hard followers of the franchise, although it's difficult to imagine even the most ardent fans finding much to enjoy here. Jovovich looks terrific and delivers the necessary butt-kicking, but that's really all there is to enjoy. Judging by the conclusion, the inevitable sixth film is probably going to be the last, although so little happens in Retribution that Anderson perhaps should have skipped this story all together and moved on the finish Alice's story sooner.
Side note: I'm no fan of 3-D, but surprisingly Anderson seems to be unafraid to have fun with the format. Although the film suffers from some of the worst light-loss (one of the biggest arguments against 3-D) I can remember, Anderson grabs the gimmick with both hands and is clearly having a blast throwing bullets, axes, and gallons of blood at the audience. The native 3-D (not post-converted) actually makes a difference, and if you must see this movie, then shelling out the extra couple of bucks might be worth it.