Now that I think of it, RESIDENT EVIL is an odd franchise. The 2002 original had little to do with the game it was based on but still managed to satisfy me as a potent horror/action/sci-fi jolt. I think it’s mucho underrated. Paul Anderson still had that edge back then and I loved it. That badass Marilyn Manson scored helped matters too (I dig TomandAndy who scored the last two, but they ain’t got shit on Manson’ soundtrack). The sequel RESIDENT EVIL APOCALYPSE (2004) was a limp dick horror film and an even poorer action opus. RESIDENT EVIL EXTINCTION (2007) went the MAD MAX way i.e. a post apocalyptic action party set in the desert with Zombies. Paul Anderson returned to the director’s chair with RESIDENT EVIL AFTER LIFE (2010), which doubled down on the CGI and eye candy overload to cover up the lack of a coherent plot line. And now we have RESIDENT EVIL RETRIBUTION (2012) that attempts to reel the franchise back in, have it make some kind of sense again while giving it a new direction. How did it fare?
RESIDENT EVIL RETRIBUTION opened up with a visceral “action scene played backwards” (fun stuff) and then went on to give me quite the eyeful when it came to kinetic visuals. Say what you will about Paul Anderson, but the man has a superior stylized eye. I just wish he would apply it to smarter and more sophisticated films like he did with EVENT HORIZON (1997) or RESIDENT EVIL (2002), but what can you do, he’s in McDonald mode right now and he wants fries with that. This fifth sequel slyly went back to the original movie to tell its story (underground setting – digital map – Red Queen) and have it make sense again. I gotta say it, it was swell to see old beloved “dead” characters make a come back, like Michelle Rodriguez (who stole the show here in multitude roles, when that chick smiles, she lights up the screen), the affable Oded Fehr and the always suave Colin Salmon. Moreover I esteemed the visual references to the original and you bet your knickers that Milla woke up somewhere half naked a couple of times. No bush shot this time though. Newman!
Once the video-game like base was established; it was rock and roll time, watching Alice and cie go from one varied location (stellar production designs here) to another battling Zombies (loved them undead soldiers) giants with hammers, the works! This sucka was definitely more action driven (and grislier) than the last one and displayed more variety as to its physical get downs. I was never bored here that’s for sure! It should be said that the addition of young Aryana Engineer (as Becky) to the mix was a good move. It added a hint of humanity to a bang-bang party that was fairly soulless and upped the stakes of the happenings to some degree. Aryana was awesome in ORPHAN (2009) and she rocked it again here, adding validity to her subplot. A kid that doesn’t get on my nerves and can act = YES! Other new characters came through as well. The lovely Bingbing Li as Ada Wong comes to mind and to crotch. She looked sizzling and whooped ass like a pro! My kind of dame. What about the 3D? Well bullets and weapons flew out the screen; but more often than none, I forgot I was watching a 3D movie. The technology was put to better use in the last sequel.
Alas, although it tried to make sense of the muddled plot line it built up and lost track of via the previous entries; if I really think about all of it, I'm not 100% on the WHY. But hwho gives a shit now. Cause at the end of this one; the story was given a new direction and a near clean slate. So here we go again! Too bad it was unoriginal and derivative of another popular Action/Sci Fi franchise. You’ll see!What else...oh yeah The new Red Queen got on my nerves. She came off as whiny brat as opposed to the sinister entity played by Michaela Dicker in the original. Nothing a spanking couldn’t solve. Then we had some of the dialogue and performances being cheesy and non credible (looking at you Sienna Guillory). Yup I laughed at the film a couple of times.
Speaking of giggles (Dr.?); what the f*ck is up with "Albert Wesker" (gleefully tackled by Shawn Roberts). He makes me cackle big time and I kind of like the character for that, but he feels like he belongs in another movie. And was it me or the baddies couldn’t shoot if their undead CG lives depended on it? How do you miss somebody blasting at them with an automatic weapon at point blank range? Am all for suspension of disbelief, especially for a “Cheesy Poof” shin-dig like this, but even here they pushed it. Finally some of the compositing was off and that final fist to cuffs was way too long, and wasn’t fully convincing Too much posturing which promoted further unintentional chuckles from me.
You’re all going to die down here!