“Resident Evil: Retribution” Movie Review


     I really can’t put this any other way.  The latest and fifth installment of the “Resident Evil” franchise, “Resident Evil: Retribution”, is just flat out horrible.  Maybe one of the worst films I have ever seen, and that’s saying something.  Just prior to seeing the film, I read an article that indicated the movie’s release in the United States is just a formality.  Why, do you ask?  The last entry, “Resident Evil: Afterlife”, was the first in the series to be shot in 3D and made over 80% of its grosses overseas.  Apparently, there is a huge demand for 3D entertainment at the international box office, but I can’t imagine this film will translate well in any language.

     I suppose to a point a film like this deserves a bit of a pass since it’s based on a popular video game.  So be it, but that’s no excuse for bringing such garbage to the screen.  The convoluted plot makes absolutely no sense and the constant one liners are so badly acted that I thought I was watching a blooper reel.  With every word coming out of every characters mouth, I kept thinking “Is this for real?”  I liked the original “Resident Evil”, but didn’t care much for the second and third installments.  “Afterlife” really breathed new life into the series with a solid and more controlled premise, plus the addition of 3D and some creative action sequences.  “Retribution” throws all of that aside and opts for zero character interaction, instead moving from action sequence to action sequence until your numb.  Sure there are a few slick scenes, but there is nothing here we haven’t already been shown before.  It feels like a retread.

     As far as I could make out, the evil Umbrella Corporation has Alice (Milla Jovovich) under lock and key when she is broken out by former Umbrella Agent, Ada (Bingbing Li).  In addition, a strike team led by Luther West (Boris Kodjoe) has also broken into the Umbrella facility and is intent on helping Alice escape.  They tell her how important she is, but they really don’t say why.  I know she is the only human to bond with the dreaded “T-Virus”, but I’m not sure why or how she is supposed to defeat the billions of infected zombies that now populate Earth all by herself.  The story is really that simple.  Alice escaping from the latest Umbrella stronghold.  Once Alice escapes, the film simply gears itself up for another sequel. 

     Of course one of the biggest issues I always have with movies, especially Science Fiction films is the lack of originality and the blatant ripping off of better films.  “Retribution” hit me right where it hurts and ripped off my all time favorite film “Aliens.”  With the plot revealing Umbrella has a facility where they run scenarios with artificially grown human clones to determine how the virus affects whole societies, one scenario has Alice living a regular home life with a husband and a little girl named Becky.  When Alice and the strike team are navigating through the scenario locations, they run into the Becky who still thinks the real Alice is her mother.  Alice, of course, brings Becky with her and the team, as if the demonstration of maternal instinct is a requirement of her hollow character.

     When the team is attacked by a big nasty monster that happens to have a set of internal jaws that retract out of its mouth, the monster succeeds in taking Becky.  Who know why.  Why not just kill her and go after the rest of Alice’s team?  Alice, against the counsel of the team, decides to go after Becky alone and tells the team she’ll meet up with them later.  When she enters the monster’s lair, she rescues Becky who is trapped in some sort of gooey egg like secretion.  Alice kills the monster and saves Becky, in exactly the same way Ripley does when she rescues Newt from the Alien Queen’s nest.  I sat there watching this sequence unfold in utter disgust as director Paul W.S. Anderson purposely stole from another film because he and his team weren’t creative enough to come up with something original. 

     Paul W.S. Anderson, who was also responsible for the always reviled “Alien vs Predator”, has killed this franchise and succeeded in a way I never thought possible.  I’ve seen many rip offs, but nothing so obvious.  The bullets and blood fly early and often, yet I’ve never seen 90 minutes of action scenes that were so dull and boring.  I always say you need to see a lot of bad movies in order to understand what makes a good one.  “Resident Evil: Retribution” is awful and serves as a fine example of  a film that should be avoided at all costs.  GRADE: F-