Paul W.S. Anderson's Resident Evil: Retribution
Here's the link to the published version of my review in my column at The Richmond Examiner:
Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
“Resident Evil: Retribution” brings us to the fifth entry in a series that ran out of steam a long time ago. Once again, despite there being no demand for yet another sequel, we are faced with one, and as you can probably expect, it’s filled with the same problems that writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson has refused to address for the last several years now. Sometimes consistency can be a good thing, but in this case, it’s only continuing to weigh this series down.
Picking up right where “Resident Evil: Afterlife” left off, we find Alice (Milla Jovovich) once again captured by the evil Umbrella Corporation. With the help of Ada Wong (Bingbing Li), Alice is freed from her confinement. However, there is still the task of escaping the installation, which is actually a testing area for biological weapons, featuring multiple environments including New York City, Moscow, and Tokyo. To make matters even worse, the installation is located under water and ice, making it accessible only via elevator.
Meanwhile, a squad, led by Leon (Johann Urb), has been dispatched to help get her out. Their mission is to rendezvous with her in one of the environments and get her to the surface. This is, of course, easier said than done as the computer controlling the installation, The Red Queen, will do everything in her power to prevent Alice’s escape. With a time limit of only two hours to complete the mission, Alice and crew must dodge multiple obstacles that include monsters, soldiers, and even old acquaintances.
As mentioned earlier, the film suffers from the same issues that the last several entries have had. It lacks a decent story, character development, and tries to compensate for these by having non-stop action sequences that merely become monotonous after just a few minutes. It didn’t work before, and it certainly doesn’t work this time either. In fact, the best thing the film has to offer is a hardy laugh at the beginning as it tries to tell you some of the characters names in the opening credits, as if names are going to mean something in a film like this.
Strangely enough, where the other entries had at least tried to start a story almost right away, this one delays it by about half an hour just so we can once again see Alice blast her way through a large horde of zombies. There is also the inclusion of a cloned Alice in one of the simulations that is followed around for a while, but the only purpose that this ends up serving is to set up the pointless character of a little girl who thinks Alice is her mother.
I still hold that the original “Resident Evil” is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. It’s by no means a great film, but if you’re looking for cheesy action-horror, you could do worse. This latest entry actually reminded me a bit of the original in that there’s an inexplicable time restraint set on the mission from the very start.
In the original, you may recall that, after the release of the T-Virus, The Hive had a certain amount of time before it locked down. As to why it didn’t lock down immediately after the release of the virus is perhaps its biggest plot hole. In “Retribution,” the squad sent to retrieve Alice randomly says that they have two hours before they can start expecting reinforcements from the Umbrella Corporation arrive.
Did they just happen to know exactly how far away these reinforcements were? Wouldn’t there be a station a lot closer to such an important facility? Wouldn’t there already be a good deal of reinforcements there, or at least on the way, given that Alice was brought there? Chances are this was just a pathetic attempt to amp up the suspense, because, if there’s no rush to get the job done, then Anderson might have had to actually take his time with characters, something that he’s clearly been unwilling to do. With the original, if The Hive had locked down right away, there’d be no movie, so whether it made sense or not, there had to be a time limit.
All you really need to know is that this is yet another forgettable sequel in the franchise. Of course, the ending foresees a sixth film in the series, and you can bet that, despite no one asking for it, it’ll probably get made (at least based on the random appearance of the last few films). Going back to the idea of consistency, Anderson seems to have hit on something. If you fashion each entry to be completely forgettable, then audiences may very well forget just how bad they were, making them more willing to try the next in the series. Even so, you’d think people would remember after four really bad entries. However, his plan seems to be going quite well. Oh well, why don’t we just skip ahead and start forgetting about the sixth entry now? 1.5/4 stars.
Last edited by Hal2001; 09-16-2012 at 09:53 PM..
guess i'll stick my review here instead of making a new similar thread
Resident Evil 5: Retribution
Alice: Milla Jovovich
Rain: Michelle Rodriguez
Leon S. Kennedy: Johann Urb
Barry Burton: Kevin Durand
Ada Wong: Li Bingbing
Carlos: Oded Fehr
One: Colin Salmon
Jill Valentine: Sienna Guillory
Becky: Aryana Engineer
Luther West : Boris Kodjoe
Albert Wesker: Shawn Roberts
Before getting to the plot , I wanted to start with the cast. As you can see , it's quite a vast ensemble but fear not because that is also the ENTIRE cast. The rest is just nameless USS soldiers , beasts and zombies. Beside Alice who is the recurring main character of the serie , everyone got their share of screentime except One who appears for around 5 minutes total and got to say 4 lines of dialogues ( yet Colin Salmon gets top billing ). Wesker is present but mostly as a bad CGI on a computer screen for the first half , we only see him flesh and blood in the last 2 minutes.
Is the acting any good ? Well that's not even a point since the movie is basically an action fest from start to finish. Everyone enjoy Schwarzenegger's or Keanu Reeves's movies yet they get out acted by a wood plank. Here the cast can act but there's no material to work with. Milla gets 4-5 minutes to really act in the suburbian scene but the only one who really has a good time over the span of the movie is Michelle Rodriguez who gets to play 2 characters. So yeah , if you want a profound display of acting skill , that's not a movie for you … neither is it intended to be.
Intro: This is probably the best part of the movie for 3 reasons. The first is that you get to see what happens after the post-credit scene in Afterlife and it's impressive on a technical side. Great use of 3D overall with Alice floating in the water ŕ la Bourne then going backward in slo-motion until Jill is seen in the plane . Then we get the usual: « My name is Alice... » dialogue but they incorporated all the 4 previous movies in the backstory which is good for people not familiar with the serie so they know what it's all about and it's all displayed like multiple window on a computer screen. Finally , we go back to Jill in the plane and we get to see what happened in real time up to Alice getting blown in the water.
Story: Forward in the future , Alice wakes up in an Umbrella prison and it's up to a team lead by Leon S. Kennedy to get her out ( with Ada Wong , Barry Burton and Luther West …. Luther wasn't on the boat at the end of Afterlife , remember? ). That's simple as that. At least there's a little side story with Becky as one of Alice's clone daughter that makes Milla go into Ripley mode hehe. It's a pretty brainless scenario but it leaves the room wide open so Paul Anderson can cram as much excellent 3D effect as possible.
Survival Horror? At this point , i think they can drop that label. This movie is pure action in a horrorific setting. Honestly , there's more gunfire in this movie than Commando and Rambo combined. There's only 1 scene that made me jump in my seat but overall it's pretty predictable. Anyone who played the games can tell who lives or dies at the beginning.
While the poster tagline says «Evil Goes Global» , the setting is confined in an undersea Umbrella Corporation facility. Every locations in the movie is part of that facility. In a sense , it reminded me a bit of the movie Cube with a dash of Saw. The suburbian setting can either be interpreted as an hommage or a rip-off of the Dawn of the Dead remake. The Tokyo setting can be interpreted as a wink to or a rehash.of Afterlife. Did i forget the laser corridor and the Red Queen ? yeah they are in there too. Retribution plays on these lines all the way which can make you love or hate the movie depending on your stance.
Outro: Well yeah , there's gonna be a 6th movie but the way Wesker mentioned it , it's gonna be the last one in the serie. I'm down for that. The team is set ( minus Claire and Chris Redfield but i'm pretty sure Anderson could fit them in if he wanted to) , the table is ready. GO!
-3D: Afterlife got a couple of scenes right with the 3D but they went all out to make it better in Retribution. Gold star for the couple of underwater scenes.
-The Characters: at this point in the franchise , there's no point on introducing brand new characters. Ada Wong , Leon S Kennedy and Barry Burton are well-known to gamers and they delivered. The one real NEW character is Becky and the kid is not annoying. Probably because she's deaf and the sign language angle makes for a better connection.
-Michelle Rodriguez: She's a riot. Either playing the good Rain who is a soccer mom who hates guns and wonders WTF is happening or the bad Rain who kicks Luther-Leon and Alice asses all together.
-The return of the grid cam like the first movie.
-The Story: can't get more simple than that
-The Basis of RE which is survival horror gets thrown out the window here ( funny because they threw the action crap with the 100th of Alice's clones in the first 10 minutes of Afterlife to get back a more survival horror setting )
-Plot holes …. like why the F did the Red Queen take Alice prisonner in the first place with all the trouble she caused? Clone Alice can sign to her daughter but how the F does real Alice knows sign language?
Overall , it's a great action fest and i enjoyed it but it is still searching if it wants to please general movie goers or hardcore fans of the videogame. Humpty Dumpty just didn't fell off the wall …. he jumped and fell on the wall and half of him got on both side lol.
If it would describe this movie in 1 word : TRA-RA-TA-TA-BOOM-BOOM
Best Quality : Integration
Final word : This movie is like watching your friend playing a videogame.
Last edited by Dirtyfrog; 09-18-2012 at 08:51 PM.. Reason: Open Office throws "*" randomly in my text ... and final word comment