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Resident Evil: Retribution - Film Review

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by Tinderlocks (subscribe)
I'm a budding sound designer and composer for film. I live, eat and breathe movies!
Published March 1st 2013
A smorgasbord of terrible

I usually love watching bad movies because they hit laughter nerves that you never knew you had. However, sometimes movies are just plain awful, not even pulling the "it's so bad, it's good" card. I regret to inform that Resident Evil: Retribution is one of those varieties; a sorry puddle of bile not even sunlight would touch.

The film carries straight on from Resident Evil: Afterlife, with Alice (Milla Jovovich) being captured by the Umbrella Corporation. She discovers that she is being imprisoned in some sort of underground testing facility for the T-virus, overseen by the now turned evil, Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory). After a series of fortunate events, Alice teams up with Ada Wong (Bingbing Li), and with the assistance of a rescue team they attempt to escape the facility. Of course they are met with an onslaught of shooting KGB zombies, sprinting suburban zombies, bloodthirsty lickers, guns blazing clones and the ruthless, Jill Valentine. Just another ordinary day for Alice really.

I cannot even begin to describe what is wrong with this film. The story makes no sense and adds nothing whatsoever to the Resident Evil series. Previous enemies become allies without Alice even batting an eyelid. Jill Valentine becomes the new enemy, even though it is glaringly obvious she is being manipulated. The purpose for the whole facility seems absurd and even the sheer logistics of such a compound is hardly viable, if not impossible. Clothing, weapons, vehicles and environments are remarkably convenient for the characters, even in the world of a trashy action film. Guns never need reloading, Jill's goons wear gas masks for no reason, and everyone looks like they're characters from Mortal Kombat. The zombies themselves were mostly secondary to the abundance of pointless wooden characters that the viewer never even had a chance to form emotional bonds to before they were killed off. Apart from the unexplained driving and shooting Russian zombies, there are disappointingly no new varieties of t-virus aberrations. Simply put, the whole plot is idiotic and inadequate.

Okay, now let's discuss other aspects of the film. The acting itself was atrocious, everyone sounded like they were reading off teleprompters. The script, even though it was a mere sprinkling over the thick soup of bullets and punches, was horrendous. Even the one-liners were lame. The sound design was ridiculous with every punch sounding like a bone was being fractured and blood splatter that sounded like someone turned on a garden sprinkler. It seemed to me that the sound department only had access to a small sound library, so everything sounded reused and recycled; every gun battle was monotonously identical. The visual effects overall were passable, but often looked flat, not unlike a video game. The CGI blood was a let down, looking incredibly fake. Even the bullet impacts were not convincing. Some of the hand-to-hand combat fights were somewhat impressive, although a little tedious and unoriginal at times with a lot of blatant wire work.

I found Retribution in essence to be almost like a tribute film. It took ideas and characters from all four of the previous films and mashed them together like a collage to poop out this garbage. There was nothing new but with all those ideas pureed together, how could it possibly work? Die-hard fans of the movies and games, would probably find Retribution mildly entertaining, especially with all the character cameos. Although don't get me wrong, I do love the Resident Evil franchise. The first two Resident Evils were just great claustrophobic zombie flicks, the third was a stark, brooding apocalyptic road movie, and the fourth was a solid siege film. To me this movie was undecided as to what it wanted to be, coming across as underdeveloped and for want of a better word just plain stupid. I would only recommend this movie if watched in a large group with plenty of alcohol or if severely hungover with only the need for moving images. I'd give Resident Evil: Retribution a 4 out of 10.

Resident Evil: Retribution" (2012)
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson.
Written by Paul W.S. Anderson.
Starring Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Aryana Engineer, Bingbing Li, Boris Kodjoe, Johan Urb, Kevin Durand
Country: USA
Language: English
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Why? Action in its lowest form.
When: Out now.
Where: On DVD.
Cost: Varies.
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