Resident Evil: Retribution - Resident Evil's Greatest Hits

The Resident Evil series is an interesting example in cinema history. I'd have to say that, from an objective standpoint, none of them are particularly great movies. But they are still financially successful and can still be quite entertaining. They don't pretend to be anything other than what they know they are: orgies of violence and action. And they do their jobs and deliver in spades.

Resident Evil: Retribution is the fifth movie in the series and the second of them to be released in 3D. And it follows very much in the tradition of the first four.

But first, the story:

Retribution starts, more or less, right after the previous outing (Resident Evil: Afterlife) left off. We're given a massive gorramn "previously on Resident Evil" voice-over by Alice (Milla Jovovich) that sums up the series since the beginning. (But seriously, is anyone expecting to start watching at the fifth movie if they haven't been watching the series so far?)

Then, after the recap, Alice wakes up in a suburban house with a husband and a child. Moreover, she is apparently married to Carlos (Oded Fehr) from movies 2 and 3. Then the zombies attack and she runs into her friend Rain (Michelle Rodriguez) from the first movie. Now, if you've already seen the previous movies, you should already see a problem with this setup. But we eventually get an explanation that — okay — basically makes sense: the evil Umbrella Corporation is running several different simulation scenarios in a top secret facility.

Of course. Why not?

Alice wakes in a holding cell where Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory, looking for all the world just like Samus Aran in her zero suit) — originally from movie 2 — interrogates and tortures her. Eventually a power outage lets Alice out. She eventually meets up with Ada Wong (Bingbing Li) who informs her that a team — including Luther West (Boris Kodje) from movie 4 — has been sent to meet up with her and get her the hezmana out of there.

Check out these previous films in the series

Dot dot dot

That's the last bit I'm going to say bout the actual plot, but this is the point in the movie where the filmmakers seem to have been completely unable to pretend they were making a movie, and not a video game.

In the previous movies, there have been several nods to the video games that they were based off of, but here's the thing: the facility that Alice is being held in is running several different scenarios of cultures from all over the world. That means that throughout the movie, you actually move from 'Japan World' to 'Suburban World' to 'Moscow World'. And if you've died in previous movies, that does not mean you can't come back to play in this new movie.

And I just have to point out how ridiculously over-sized evil corporation facilities tend to be in movies. This one here gives Aperture Science a run for its money. But at least Aperture Science seemed to have some kind of real, albeit nebulous goal in running their tests and dangling that cake/carrot for their subject. Here, as best we can tell, the Umbrella Corporation simply wants to kill everyone.

Deep.

That sounds critical of me, and it kind of is, but seriously, who's going to a Resident Evil movie expecting Regarding Henry?

As I said before, the movie knows what it is and plays its part well. It delivers what it promises and there's something to say for that.

If you've seen the previous movies, this one's for you. It's filled with references to previous movies and characters.

  • The movie is contained within one top secret facility, like in movie 1
  • The secret facility is run by the Red Queen (holographically represented by Megan Charpentier)
  • We get appearances from several characters that had previously been written off as lost
  • When Alice wakes up in her suburban home, her position is extremely reminiscent of how she wakes up in movie 1
  • The zombies are the more developed, fast and threatening version from movie 3
  • There are two other monsters here that have been introduced in previous movies as well

It's basically a "best of" for the series.

But what do you think?

2 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Resident Evil: Retribution

My rating is a bit tricky here. I do enjoy the series but I recognize that they are all kinda pieces of dren. But, as I said, the movie knows what it is and delivers what it promises and there's definitely value in that. I'd have to objectively rate it 4 / 10, but that's not far off from how I'd rate the previous movies. And if you've seen and enjoy movies 1 through 4 in the series, definitely go see it.

And, with the series being mostly successful for its visual spectacle, 3D is used here quite effectively. If you have nothing against the format, try it out. It was actually filmed in 3D and I have nothing bad to say about it here.

Resident Evil: Retribution runs 95 minutes and is rated R for some language, a little bit of nudity, and frelling gobs and gobs of very not bloodless action violence.

(Kudos to anyone who can tell me what two series I've been watching recently.)

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