A Movie Review on Resident Evil: Retribution 3D (2012)
Warning: This review is NOT based on the general standards of movies, but on the standards of the Resident Evil movie series and the level of pure entertainment it provides. This is the only way this movie can be properly reviewed. This is a Resident Evil movie, not Lord of the Rings. At this point in the series you should know what this movie will entail. Well, without further adieu..
The Resident Evil movies are quite successful at the box office with the previous film bringing in close to $300 million worldwide. Although they are financially successful, and have a large group of fans, critics are never friendly to these movies. The Resident Evil movies are generally panned by critics, only amounting to somewhere in the 20% range on Rotten Tomatoes. Resident Evil: Retribution, the fifth film in the series, will probably be no different, with it currently sitting at 25%. These movies are not meant for critics, or people who will judge them based on the general standards of what many consider to be a "good" movie. The Resident Evil films are chock full of action movie cliches, ridiculous situations, and non-stop action, but that is what makes these films so entertaining to watch.
As I mentioned in my Resident Evil Movie Retrospective, I was not so thrilled on the direction the first film took, but it eventually grew on me and I was able to accept it as a new perspective on the Resident Evil universe. With each new Resident Evil released the series moved further and further away from its roots, but they featured great action sequences, an entertaining story, zombies, and the beautiful Milla Jovovich kicking serious butt. Each new Resident Evil film one-upped its predecessor, delivering bigger and better action sequences, better special effects, and more Milla butt kicking. Enter Resident Evil: Retribution.
Resident Evil: Retribution, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, picks up right where Afterlife left off, with Alice, Claire, Chris, K-Mart and the other prisoners standing on top of the ship Arcadia while what seems like a hundred Umbrella planes are bearing down on them. We are given an outstanding opening scene of the Umbrella attack on the ship, which plays through the events backwards (in slow-mo of course), similar to one of the initial Dead Island game trailers. It a really cool opening, and it also shows how much fun Anderson is having directing these movies. The movie follows Alice as she attempts to escape from a massive Umbrella testing facility under the Arctic ice. She is helped by Leon S. Kennedy, Barry Burton, and Ada Wong, who are all characters from the video games series but are making their film series debuts. Alongside them is returning character Luther West.
Trying to stop her is former ally, Jill Valentine, who now has an Umbrella mind control device attached to her chest. Along side Jill are Umbrella clones of Alice's former friends, including Carlos and Rain. Alice and company must pass through multiple testing areas, which are recreated sections of New York City, Berlin, Moscow, Tokyo, and Suburban Raccoon City. Along the way Alice meets up with the clone of a little girl who believes that Alice is her mother. The stakes are now raised as Alice and the others must make it out the facility alive, now while protecting a young child. Albert Wesker does play a key role in the film, but saying to much more would spoil the surprise. You'll have to watch the movie to find out.
Resident Evil: Retribution easily beats out all the other films in terms of size, scope and action. The sets are much larger than before, there are much more enemies than before, and the action is literally non-stop from beginning to end. The last movie featured one Executioner, well, this one features two of them in what was easily my favorite scene in the entire film. The music used fit perfectly with the scene, enhancing the experience. Anderson really seems to be enjoying himself, delivering one awesome action sequence after another. Sitting there watching these scenes I felt like an 6 year old child opening presents on Christmas Day. Many of the action scenes are done very stylish, and feature Anderson's signature slow-motion throughout.
I saw the movie in IMAX 3D, and it really makes all the difference. The sound alone changes the entire experience, with the score from Tomandandy booming throughout the theater, while you hear each and every impact of the bullets that are fired. The enhanced sound really adds a whole new level to many of the jump scares featured throughout the beginning of the film. Anderson, who again chose to shoot the film in 3D instead of getting the post-conversion treatment that so many other films get, does not shy away from using it for both depth and gimmick. Bullets, blood, knives, and axes come flying at you through the screen creating a very fun 3D experience similar to that of the previous film Afterlife, as well as My Bloody Valentine 3D. Retribution now ranks up there as one of my favorite 3D experiences.
Without giving out any spoilers, the end of Retribution sets up the next film, which will quite possibly be the last Resident Evil film in the series. It will be interesting to see where they go with the movie and how they handle the premise that they have set up. I don't doubt that the next one is going to be bigger and more action packed than this one, although I don't know how much more action packed it could get. I guess we'll have to wait another couple of years to see.
Resident Evil: Retribution is an action packed, and very entertaining fifth film in the Resident Evil series. It tops the previous film in all aspects and does a great job paying little homages to the video games (Barry's weapon). It sets up the next film to be bigger, better and possibly the final one. Don't expect an Oscar contender here. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the 95 minutes of non-stop entertaining action.
Resident Evil: Retribution was released in theaters on September 14th 2012 in 3D and IMAX 3D.
Written and Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. Starring Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Shawn Roberts, Li Bingbing, Johann Urb, Kevin Durand, Michelle Rodriguez, Boris Kodjoe, Aryana Engineer.
Rated R. Runtime: 95 Minutes