I Saw A Film Today… Resident Evil: Retribution

The Resident Evil films have been on steep and slippery downhill slope for the last few films. I genuinely liked the first two films from directing wonder Paul W.S. Anderson. They were nothing particularly special or worthy of the video game series they take their name from but they were entertaining action films. From here though things really begin taking a nosedive with the third film, Execution. Then there is Afterlife, which is not only the worst of the series but is also one of the worst action films I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a few Uwe Boll films. Afterlife was nothing but montages of excruciatingly incoherent and boring action sequences that culminated into a directionless story, which is a great representation of Anderson’s films for the past many years. As for Retribution, I had lowered my expectation going in, which was good thing.

Retribution picks up right where Afterlife left off with a terribly long and unnecessary slo-mo sequence that plays backwards… and then forwards. From here Alice (lovely Milla Jovovich) gives a short but tediously boring synopsis of what has taken place in the apocalyptic world of her life. Then for some reason an alternate universe is presented where Alice awakens as a housewife in the suburbs that comes under zombie attack a la Zach Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead adaptation.

Then Alice awakens once again in an Umbrella Corp. holding cell wearing practically nothing. Then the power goes out, Alice escapes wearing standard Umbrella issue tactical BDSM latex suit into the streets of an infected Tokyo. A few action sequences take place without real reason.

If this synopsis was tiresome and boring to you, multiply it by three and you will understand what it felt like to sit through the first thirty minutes of this film, which is roughly a third of Retribution‘s run time. Very little makes sense and it seems like everything that happens is only an elongated set-up for one action sequence. A well choreographed sequence I might add, however improbable that anything in it would ever actually be accomplished in a real world occurrence. But this hasn’t stopped Alice before. She has died, what, like fifteen times in this series?

Thankfully, things pick up from here. Alice learns that there is a rescue party being dispatched to receive her from her location, which is revealed to be an Umbrella testing facility. Her rescue squad is under the command of one of her enemies who declares that they must band together to defeat a common enemy. The team consists of Luther West (Boris Kodjoe), Barry Burton (Kevin Durand), Ada Wong (Li Bingbing. Yes, that’s her real name.), and Leon S. Kennedy (Johann Urb). Together the group faces giant Axemen in New York, zombie soviets in Moscow, and characters from the past, all trying to stop them from leaving.

Retribution isn’t much of an improvement on the mess left by Afterlife, but it is something of an improvement none the less. That is, if you can wade through the unnecessary and dumb first half of the film. Really, Retribution should have been nothing more than a short film web special. A little thirty minute web exclusive that’s only purpose is a lead in to the next film in the series. But what Anderson did instead is take that short thirty minute film and stretched it out into a full-fledged film without adding much.

Nothing really gets accomplished in this film either. This statement is really sad because Anderson never really had any intention to do so. I suspect he genuinely believes that he can just make non-sense action sequences vaguely linked together with a few clichéd action film lines and sell it off as an actual film. He and Uwe Boll should actually consider working together.

Acting is just about as mediocre as you can get. While Johann Urb does look like a carbon copy of the fan favorite Leon Kennedy (my personal favorite as well), he can’t even spout off one-liners successfully. Although, he and Shawn Roberts are in competition for worst in the film, and all year for that matter. Roberts goes full ham, exactly like his painful performance in Afterlife. And I thought the return of Michelle Rodriguez would be nice, but it was not. Not at all.

I love Milla Jovovich. I really do. She can be a very talented actress. But much like the films themselves, her performances in Resident Evil have only gone down hill. She use to show such great emotion. Now, she just huskily repeats one liners like the rest of the cast. You would think her husband, the director, would want to give her the best lines, but no. I’m guessing every morning starts with “Hey hun, you know those great lines you’ve been working on for today? Well I just deleted them and all you have to do all day is look angry. Isn’t that great? Ok, now slip on your latex bond- I mean costume, and I’ll see you on set. Leave the whip though.”

Resident Evil: Retribution is an unnecessary film sequel as can be. And unfortunately it doesn’t look like the series will be slowing anytime soon. Please stop Paul. Just stop.

Verdict: Skip it!

*Rated R for sequences of strong violence throughout. 95 minutes.

** Special thanks to Marla “Skittles” Joy for sharing this cinematic adventure with me.


One Response to “I Saw A Film Today… Resident Evil: Retribution”

  1. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my
    comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyways, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

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