The Resident Evil movie series has always been something of a guilty pleasure. Deep-fried in schlock, with a side order of cheese, every film in the series seems hell-bent on being more outrageous than the last, with nonsensical cliffhangers, disposal characters, and woefully implausible story arcs. Yet, somewhere deep in the thick of "so bad it's good" is a series capable of captivating ravenous fans who keep coming back for more. Why else would they keep making Resident Evil films? 'Retribution' is no different in that regard. It picks up seconds after the ending of the previous film, 'Afterlife,' and begins with a dramatically interesting gun battle that plays in slow-motion reverse, before moving forward at full speed. It's a different take on the formula, and one that got me interested right off the bat. Sure enough, 'Retribution' does feel like a different kind of Resident Evil movie. The impossibly bad Alice clone gunfight at the beginning of 'Afterlife' has been swapped in favor of a surprisingly dynamic, elegant, and...dare I say it...sensible battle between Alice and a group of henchmen. Every action scene in the film feels more polished than its predecessor, even when the story strays into more implausibility.
This time 'round, characters from past Resident Evil movies make a reappearance. Michelle Rodriguez, Colin Salmon, and Oded Fehr return as Rain Ocampo, James Shade, and Carlos Olivera, but not in the way you'd expect (or maybe you already have). Alice must make her way out of a secret underground Umbrella research facility with the aid of Ada Wong, an ex-Umbrella operative now working alongside the infamous Albert Wesker, who has also abandoned Umbrella in the hopes of getting Alice out of the facility alive. As a backup plan, Wesker has also dispatched a team of crack mercenaries consisting of Luther West, Barry Burton (from the first Resident Evil videogame), and Leon S. Kennedy (from Resident Evil 2). Unfortunately, both Alice and the mercenaries have to contend with Umbrella operatives led by the brainwashed Jill Valentine, who has been missing in action since 'Resident Evil: Apocalypse.' Worse, Alice must face her old nemesis, the homicidal Red Queen, an artificial intelligence created by Umbrella that is in full control of the facility.
It's good to see old faces back in Resident Evil, especially Michelle Rodriguez, who gets perhaps the best use of screen time next to Alice herself. It's a major comeback, especially in the final act. Speaking of which, that final act has such tremendous action that I found myself riveted to what was happening. There's some spectacular choreographed martial arts sequences, aided with the typical science fiction/horror elements thrown in for good measure. And for the first time, Resident Evil truly FEELS like Resident Evil, when one considers the roster of characters who are (almost) direct lifts of their video game counterparts. Though no explanation is given for the presence of Leon S. Kennedy, it stands to reason that he could have been present during the Raccoon City T-Virus outbreak, in full police uniform. It's just never explicitly stated. RE1 fans will remember Barry Burton mostly for the character's notoriously awful voice acting, but putting that aside, it was a slight disappointment not to see him as a member of S.T.A.R.S., especially since the unit has been officially named in the movie series. Besides all that, the presence of the Red Queen, and the underground "hive" theme all serve as welcome and familiar reminders of the first Resident Evil film, which was the least ambitious in terms of ridiculously wacky action scenes and rollercoaster plot twists. To put it mildly, I really, really liked this film. Yes, it's as dumb as a boot, with no character development (not even Alice), and a plot devoid of any artistic merit, but it's arguably the best Resident Evil film to date. You can't fault the filmmakers for their ambition, and dedication towards cranking up the visual volume. They've just done it better than they ever have.
NOTE: This review will be expanded on once the Blu-Ray is released.Read more ›
Resident Evil-Retribution(released Sept/12)stars everyone's fave kick butt babe,Milla Jovovich,as Alice.She's back this time in a wonderful non stop romp that,I think,is about on an equal par with the first one,that first introduced us all to this bizarre world.Milla is in top form and there are alot of former stars/characters back to reprise their roles and give the film an even bigger boost. The film starts out where the last left off,on board the ship full of refugees with incoming VTOLs.The film starts with a twist,by having Milla thrust into the water and going down,then reversing the action/film until the point at which we see just why she landed in the water(being thrown over by a crash landing VTOL). She wakes up in a suburban environment where she is married and has a deaf child.As they have their breakfast they are attacked by zombies and all but the daughter(who hides)are killed.Milla next wakes up in an Umbrella Corp.facility and is being questioned from an observation room by her old friend Jill Valentine(Sienna Guillory),who is being controlled through a spider like device implanted on her chest.Suddenly the controlling computer system goes into restart and the doors to her chamber open.She escapes into a controlled environment of the city of Tokyo and a simulation is run by the computer.Surviving that she comes into the control room to find everyone of the techs shot.As she examines a firearms cache,Ada Wong(Li Bingbing)joins her.Then her old nemesis Albert Wesker(Shawn Roberts)comes up on monitors.It seems Ada is working for him and neither belong to the Umbrella Corp.,who are planning to take over the Earth.Wesker believes the only chance the planet has of survival is with Milla's help.At the moment they are in an old expanded USSR submarine pen facility far below the surface in eastern Russia.The Umbrella Corp.has created several different simulated environments to test their human-like creations reactions to their bio hazard creations.Milla,with Ada's help,must travel through these environments and meet up with the rescue team. As Ada and Milla work their way through a New York simulation the rescue team arrives and are on their way down to enter the Moscow simulation.There they are set upon by zombie soldiers.Milla and Ada finally team up with the rescue group and they make their way slowly back to the elevators.Before they can all get moving the power quits.The Red Queen,the facility controlling computer entity from the first film,now controls the entire Umbrella Corp.,and tries to stop the rescue in earnest.Jill,along with other controlled people,are there to stop Milla and the group also.Added to this is a giant Licker who grabs Milla's deaf daughter and whom Milla will take time to retrieve.Finally the group,lessened by a couple of deaths,reaches the surface and awaits their helicopter rescue.Explosives,the group left behind,are detonated and the complex below implodes. A sub from below breaks through the ice and Jill and Rain(Michelle Rodriguez)emerge with Ada in custody.The two men left,battle Rain,who dispatches both,and Milla barely survives her fight by removing the spider like controller on her chest.Milla battles Rain and is losing badly when she spots a zombie just below the ice's surface.As Rain stands in one spot Milla fires her machine gun in a circle around her,which drops her into the water,and the zombies take care of her. The rescue helicopter arrives and whisks Milla,Ada,Jill and Milla's deaf "daughter" to the White house.There in the president's chair sits Wesker.He injects her with the controlling Las Plagas parasites,enhancing her abilities to their former glory.Wesker says she will need it in the upcoming battle against the Umbrella Corp.and its hordes of T-Virus infected mutants. This film is off and running from the first frame and never stops.The special effects,the fight sequences and CGI are all top notch,along with a good and swift moving plot.Milla is always a delight as Alice and her stunt work and fighting skills are all on display throughout.She is ably assisted,as I mentioned earlier,by several stars from the earlier films in this franchise.The only part one might question,as far as continuity goes,is Wesker's appearance,who I thought got blown up in a VTOL fleeing the ship last time out. Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 2:40:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras abound here with deleted scenes,outtakes,commentaries,and featurettes. All in all one of the best of the Resident Evil films so far.The action just flies from one scene to another and Milla is at her RE best throughout.This film can be seen by those who have followed the series from the start or are new to it.Highly Recommended.4-4 1/2 stars.Read more ›
Director Paul WS Anderson (incidently Milla Jovovich's husband) keeps going back and forth with me. Years ago Event Horizon was an excellent movie, much in the tradition of Hellraiser meets Alien and I thought here was a new director who showed promise and, sometimes, he still does. Death Race was probably his best film and even The Three Musketeers was fun and exciting but every time he returns to the Resident Evil franchise all evidence of his talent and movie making skill gets flushed away. This series has become so redundant that with each release I feel like I've seen this before and the plotholes abound the most in this latest feature. I thought the last film, Resident Evil: Afterlife, was the worst in the series but this one, even though it has more creatures and horror elements to it, pales even in comparison to the previous one. When is this series ever going to end? What little story progression there is in this one just confuses the viewer and it still leaves you hanging at the end for yet another film. Plus, Anderson's "trademark(?)" stylized slow-motion action sequences have become so dull and repetitive that I find myself drifting while these scenes just go on and on.
I guess audiences still enjoy these films for what they are since each film is quite successful at the box office but to me, as a gamer, I find it sad that these overblown action films actually try to double as horror films and they don't represent the games as much as I'd like them to. In comparison I find Silent Hill to be a much better representation of how a game film should be but it doesn't draw the same amount of people as the RE series. Sour grapes, I guess. Here's hoping Paul WS Anderson or Uwe Boll never acquire the rights to making films out of Dead Space or Bioshock.Read more ›