Everyone knows that Resident Evil was a video game series before it became a film series, but the latest/fifth installment of the film franchise felt so much like video game that it ruined any chance it had at being a good film.
Retribution picks up where Afterlife served as a cliffhanger. Alice (Jovovich) does her best to protect the people, but she is captured by Umbrella where she is tortured for information. However, before she can be broken, someone breaks her out. She is upset to learn that Albert Wesker is still alive and is saving her life. So she teams up with a bad ass Asian chick, Ada Wong (Li Bingbing), to meet up with the extraction team that is rescuing her.
Okay, here is where all the video game plot devices kick in. First Wesker appears on a computer screen and explains to her exactly what she needs to do to survive even showing her maps of the massive underground structure she is trapped in. Second, the underground structure is made up of five separate zones, each representing cities around the world. In these fake cities Umbrella test its zombie virus on clones. In each city different and stronger zombies are found. And thirdly, in New York they encounter two clones of the Axeman from Afterlife and defeat them easily. Often times in video games you encounter early bosses later on in the game that are now easy to defeat. Also, some zombies in this film drive cars and motorcycles and shoot machine guns.
Resident Evil started out as a horror/zombie film with a hint of sc-fi thrown in to make in different from all the other zombie films. By the time you get to Retribution you are watching sci-fi action films with a hint of zombies in them. It seems like Alice and crew hardly face any zombies in this film. There are only a couple traditional zombie like scenes in the film. Most of the time it seems Alice is facing off against faceless Umbrella stooges and having long fights with the human villains than the zombies or mutated monsters.
While the film is proficiently made, most of the scenes feel more like Paul W.S. Anderson trying to think of cool shots and scenes rather than trying to think of an interesting story to serve his protagonist. There are some pretty good set piece action and fight sequences, but a lot of them feel very pointless, and are interesting enough to cover up for the fact that this film doesn’t have much of a story.
A lot of characters from past films thought dead or known to be dead are back. This will either excite or piss off fans, because the way some of these fan fav characters are presented aren’t quite you might expect.
Retribution sets up for a sixth film in the franchise and I really hope that’s the last one, because this series has more than run its course and it’s time for Anderson and Jovovich to do something else.
This film is presented in 2.40:1 widescreen and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. If nothing else this is a very well shot film and it looks fanastic. The action sequences, even when pointless, are very well put together.
Deleted/Extended Scenes: (12 min.) These actually added some interesting stuff to the story, but I see why they cut them. Outtakes: (4 min.) Outtakes on these kinds of films are always strange, but these aren’t terrible. Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes: (49 min.) You get a whole bunch of these focusing on every interesting aspect of the making of the film. These almost make you want to like the film. Plus Two Commentaries and Project Alice: The Interactive Database.
I really enjoyed the first two Resident Evil films, but they’ve been going down hill ever since, and Retribution is really bad. It’s a well crafted film, technically speaking, and it’s got some well made action sequences, but the story was bland and uninteresting.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents Resident Evil: Retribution. Written and Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson. Starring: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez and Li Bingbing. Running time: 96 minutes. Rating: R. Released: December 21, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.