Sunday, 30 September 2012

Resident Evil: Retribution Review

The Resident Evil film series has received a hostile reception from critics since its birth in 2002, but personally, I haven't had a huge problem with the series. That being said though, even I found little to love in this fifth instalment - which is by far the weakest of the bunch so far.

Resident Evil: Retribution continues to follow the story of Alice and her quest to destroy the evil Umbrella Corporation, who are responsible for releasing a virus on the planet which turns people into zombies and has turned Earth into an apocalyptic wasteland.
The film opens where the last left off with Umbrella attacking the "Arcadia" ship that was supposedly a safe place for survivors, but was in fact an Umbrella trap.

After enjoying the last film I was looking forward to seeing how this film would continue the story, especially considering Afterlife's cliffhanger ending. Unfortunately, the story is where this film really falls short.
Alice is taken captive in an Umbrella facility and has to fight her way out with help from returning character Luther, Leon S. Kennedy (a character from the games making his live-action debut), and a couple of other people who are just there to get killed.
Meanwhile, Jill Valentine (now brainwashed into working for Umbrella), as well as a team of returning characters including Rain, One, and Carlos (who all have died in previous movies, but have been cloned by Umbrella), are tracking Alice and co. down to eliminate them.

Our Video Review

The story is insultingly simple, and by the time the credits are rolling it feels like it has made little difference to the series as a whole. One thing you could say is that this movie is the one that is most like a videogame out of the whole series - It's basically just one boss fight after another. But while these are fun to watch at first, you start to wonder what the point of this movie really was.

The Resident Evil films have always really been about cool fight scenes, but there has been some story and character-work mixed in as well. Not so here - this film is literally fight scene after fight scene, and while the ending - which is another cliffhanger - does set up a cool premise for the sixth (and possibly final) film, you can't help but think that it shouldn't have taken an hour and a half to get to that point.

It turns out sinister looks are all it takes to survive in this universe...
And if it's not enough that the plot is incredibly basic, it's also filled with glaring plot holes. How the hell did Wesker survive the events of the last film. It's never explained, never even touched upon. Not to mention that  the main characters from the last film (Chris and Clare Redfield, K-Mart) are mentioned once, but never seen in this film. Which begs the question, what happened to them?
It just all seems incredibly strange that writer Paul W.S. Anderson would pass up answering such vital questions.

Something that perhaps makes the weak plot even worse is the acting. Now Milla Jovovich has been the driving force of this series not because her character's the coolest, but also because she's actually a talented actor. She continues that trend here, but unfortunately she's practically alone as it seems like nobody else was even trying.
Boris Kodjoe isn't terrible, but doesn't seem to put in as much effort here as he did in Afterlife. On the other hand Bingbing Li and Johann Urb are just awful as Ada Wong and Leon S. Kennedy respectively. The way they deliver there lines is emotionless, and that's really disappointing as these are two characters who are popular in the Resident Evil games.

But lets try to look at the positive now. The aforementioned fight scenes may get boring when there's little to no story attached, but they still deliver some cool moments. The return of the Axemen was a welcome surprise, and the car chase across Moscow was another exciting piece.

Additionally, this is another film in the series to have some cool visual effects. Whether it's a CGI Umbrella monstrosity or the sight of a famous city being destroyed, there are some impressive scenes in this movie.
The use of 3D - despite being gimmicky - was an entertaining addition to this movie as well. Having knives and bullets fly at the screen isn't the most original use of 3D, but it still offers some fun moments.

Overall then if you like cool fight scenes then there is fun to be had here. Just don't go in expecting much of a story, or even any decent scares. If you liked the previous Resident Evil movies chances are you'll enjoy this one too, but its hard to deny just how many flaws the film has, which together make it a big disappointment.
David Craig is the creator of TEN and is already preparing for the real zombie apocalypse which will have significantly less attractive women. He's new to Twitter so follow him here, to find out where he's hiding the weapons and ammunition.


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