At this point it seems fairly redundant to review a Resident Evil movie. No matter how much critical bile or hate is thrown at these movies they seem to turn a profit and have a healthy opening weekend at the box office. Resident Evil: Retribution is the latest in the series and seems to maybe have been a step too far as itflopped last autumn. Could this be the beginning of the end?
The fourth movie saw Paul W.S Anderson sort of rebooting the franchise he started with a fifteen minute film extended to an hour and a half by being entirely in slow motion with 3D malarkey flying out of the screen. This next instalment begins with the ensuing battle with the Umbrella Corporation threatened at the end of the fourth film, except this is illogically shown to us occurring backwards over the opening credits for no other reason than it looks cool.
After the battle Alice (Mila Jovovich) awakes in some kind of fake pretend life whilst a zombie apocalypse happens all around her. Something is very wrong though as characters from the previous four films are popping up all over the place in different roles in her life. Alice eventually realises she is being manipulated by the Red Queen, the artificial intelligence from the hive in the first movie. The Red Queen has basically assumed control of Umbrella and now former employees including Wesker the evil former head of the company are trying to bring it down. Alice is stuck on the inside of a huge underground Umbrella facility and a team of marines are trying to extract her. Umbrella has an endless army of clones of characters who died in previous films and that’s about it for the plot. The entire running time is taken up with slow motion stunts and illogical and impractical cat suits.
Everything that has been wrong with the previous Resident Evil films is here ramped up to 11. Retribution is essentially a remake of the first movie with ten times the budget and all the effort going into backflips rather than story. After about 45 minutes I had no idea what the hell was going on and worst of all the film expects that you have been that much of a fan of the entire series that when characters pop up you will instantly know who they are and be overcome by a wave of nostalgia. This approach may have worked for the Fast and Furious franchise but that series has something approaching quality. Two fisted gunplay for no other reason that it looks good does not equate character development and emotional investment.
If good-looking cast members doing good-looking stunts whilst doing combat rolls around good-looking sets is your thing then Retribution may well be your masterpiece. To be fair to the film it does look good, especially on the Blu-ray and it has a fairly epic feel to it without ever feeling very obviously green screen and stage bound. The final scene although assassinated by some terrible acting, does hint that things may be winding up with a truly epic in scale war on the cards. This fifth entry is one of the worst though in a series that has been entertaining at best.
After the third and fourth it didn’t seem like they would make a film as bad as the second but somehow they managed it, congratulations….