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Movie Review: "Resident Evil: Retribution" (2012)

Updated on September 30, 2012
Another day, another paycheck.
Another day, another paycheck. | Source

DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.

How many times do we have to see a woman wake up in a strange post-apocalyptic environment, don a catsuit, a couple of guns, and blast away fast zombies and mutated creatures in slow motion while pulling off 'Matrix' attacks?

How many times will money be wasted on these worthless heaps of trash that they call movies?

"Resident Evil: Retribution" is the fifth movie in the 'Resident Evil' series. It's amazing it has gotten so far while still being so bad, all in one decade (the series began in 2002). Let me see, the 'Alien' series has had five films now ("Alien", "Aliens", "Alien 3", "Alien: Resurrection", and "Prometheus"). It delivered an outstanding first two films, then a less-likable third film which slowly became more likable over time, then a horrible fourth film which nearly jettisoned the entire series out into space for about 15 years.

The first four films were released with an average of 5-7 years in between each of them. But when the fourth came out, it was so bad that it took them 15 years to realize they had to do a semi/half-related reboot ("Prometheus") to breathe life back into it.

But when it comes to these 'Resident Evil' movies, all of them suck, even more so than "Alien: Resurrection", and they all get green-lit in a heartbeat. 5 films in 10 years. Quantity over quality, how sad.

Well, Alice once again wakes up in another environment she's unsure of. This time, it's supposedly the Umbrella's base of operations -- An abandoned Russian subpen which has been converted with Umbrella's technology. Alice teams up with Ada Wong, Leon Kennedy, and a bunch of other characters to fight off more T-virus mutations and escape the facility.


Why do they keep on making these movies? They're like very badly done versions of "Kill Bill" mixed with super zombies, mutated creatures, Matrix-outfits, and plenty of ripped off scenes and elements from other movies.

Can you imagine if George A. Romero's original 'Dead' trilogy featured scenes with the main characters doing kung fu and and ninja crap on the zombies all while in slow motion? Yeah, that would totally take you out of the atmosphere and destroy the tone completely.

These movies are over-budgeted trash. And I think the point of this series has overextended its stay. I talked about this in my review for "Resident Evil: Extinction" but I guess I'll have to reiterate since it's an issue pertaining to this film as well.

Look at it from the perspective of the 'Resident Evil' games, the whole point of them is to make sure the T-virus doesn't infect the world's population right? So the 'Resident Evil' games are really just a bunch of isolated incidents involving the T-virus. Once you infect the entire human race with this disease, your franchise is pretty much over. I mean where do you go from there?

Just look at George A. Romero's 'Dead' films:

  • Movie #1 - The dead start returning to life and attacking the living. Society is caught off guard, paranoid, in disbelief. Towards the end, it seems like living may have the upper hand, but the battle has only begun -- The epidemic is spreading beyond the northeastern U.S. and as long as people are dying with the brain intact, the dead will rise in higher numbers.
  • Movie #2 - 3 weeks later, society is beginning to fall apart. The zombie epidemic has gotten completely out of control due to a variety of reasons - The living are unable to work as a team and incapable of emotionally distinguishing their reanimated friends and family members; and to top it all off, people dying all around the world with their brains intact and people dying from zombie bites all add to a higher dead population - Therefore, the living is clearly losing.
  • Movie #3 - A few months later, the dead have effectively overrun the human race. Small pockets of survivors exist but are separated by great distances. The genre of this series has now made the jump into 'post-apocalyptic' territory (the same jump which "Resident Evil: Extinction" made).
  • Movie #4 - 2 years later, small pockets of the living continue to exist and have grown used to dealing with the dead epidemic. Meanwhile, the dead are slowly becoming more intelligent.
  • Movie #5 - Uh-oh, I've ran out of ideas. Let me just reboot the series to the very beginning and make a found footage movie.
  • Movie #6 - A continuation of the last movie, albeit filmed in 35mm this time. The movie sucks even more and is set on an island.

You see the problem? The good ideas stopped somewhere between movies 3-4 this series. Well, these 'Resident Evil' movies are facing a similar issue. What are they gonna do for the next film? Send the T-virus into space?

ALBERT WESKER: Great job on defeating the T-virus mutations, Alice! But the battle has only begun. I have an enormous space station sitting above the Earth that is crawling with even more of the nasty beings. Oh and when you're done with that, be sure to stop by the Moon, I believe there's a few of them lurking around in my evil Moon base.

Cue Dr. Evil laugh.

Previously on "Resident Evil"...

In order to meet a screen time quota, "Resident Evil: Retribution" wastes its first fifteen minutes or so recapping the events of the previous four 'Resident Evil' movies. Wait, actually, first they replay the ending of "Resident Evil: Afterlife" (the previous film) in reverse AND slow motion; then, they recap the events of the previous films; then, they replay the ending of "Resident Evil: Afterlife" normally in slow motion. Something like that.

Bottom line though, none of this helps to develop the story any further and is therefore a complete waste of time. And they have Alice narrating the past events? For what? To whom is she narrating to?

What's the point again? I forgot.

How Many Movies Can You Rip Off in One Movie?

After the recap during the first fifteen minutes, Alice wakes up in a hologram version of a happy home life where she's a housewife, she's married, has a daughter, etc. Then the husband gets attacked by a zombie, Alice grabs the kid and runs out into a suburban neighborhood which has become overrun with zombies...

Wait a second! I think I watched this movie back in the cinemas in 2004. What was it called? That's right, it was the remake of "Dawn of the Dead". Same basic opening idea, same master shot of chaos in the neighborhood, female hero gets into a car, starts driving, only to end up in an accident... Yep. Bingo!

Why does this director insist on robbing ideas from other movies to put in this series? So far, we've had "Day of the Dead", "Mad Max", loads of "The Matrix", and even some things from the 'Alien' series like cloning the female protagonist, she keeps waking up in another nightmare in each movie, and there's even a little girl this time around whom she has to protect. Even the booby trap opening sequence from "Resident Evil: Afterlife" reminded me of "Cube".

Level 1: Tokyo

It's interesting to see that they settled for the retard method when it comes to adapting video games to the big screen by actually making the movie like a video game... literally. Now, the end result of this here in "Resident Evil: Retribution" isn't as retarded as "House of the Dead" (oh dear), but it's still pretty much up there on the plateau of bad ideas.

So the plot of this movie takes place inside this huge Umbrella facility which Alice has to escape from. In order to escape, she must pass through certain 'sections' (or should I say levels?). These sections are nothing more than Holodeck recreated versions of major cities like Tokyo, New York, Moscow, and so forth. Alice and her team of allies must beat each section in order to win.

Sounds like a video game, doesn't it? How much cheaper can storytelling get?

Help me! I've been typecast for the past decade!
Help me! I've been typecast for the past decade! | Source

Got Any Underwear?

What the hell is Alice wearing during the interrogation scene at the beginning? It looks like they taped one little sheet over her breasts and genitals, then another one over her backside. I guess a corporation as expensive as Umbrella is unable to afford bras and undies for their prisoners? I think they just wanted to show a PG-13 half-naked body, that's what I think.

Furthermore, why is Ada Wong wearing a dress with heels while Alice is given a military-ish catsuit? Maybe the Umbrella corporation wanted Ada to freeze to death? Or perhaps she's wearing it just because that's what she wears in the video game? Where is this stupid logic coming from?

Slow Motion, Fast Zombies

Am I the only one to notice that this slo-mo running and bullet time nonsense is getting kind of old? How long ago was 1999 again? Leave "The Matrix" alone please. Is it more cost-effective to film in slow motion or some crap? I lost count on how many slow motion effects are in this movie. The most criminal one of all has to be the one where the Japanese zombie girl bumps into Alice during the Tokyo level -- That felt like two long minutes of screen time!

Since we're on the topic of special effects, that has to be some of the cheapest-looking flood sequences I've ever seen. Could they not afford better CGI water?

Random Things That Make No Sense

  • If I understand correctly, Wesker gives Alice her powers back via injection at the end of the movie? However, it seems like she already had powers since the start of the movie, considering all the crazy stunts and crap she does. What's the point? Actually, most of the women in this film are superhuman.
  • During their battles with the bad guys (or should I say girls?), Alice and Leon are getting their bones broken. I mean the film goes to the extreme lengths of showing us x-ray footage of this happening. Yet, moments later, they both get up and shrug the injuries off like nothing happened. Again, what's the point?


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    • SPomposello profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from NY


      Thanks for reading, dude :) Yeah, "Max Payne" was another one. Ugh. I think the "Resident Evil" series would have been better off with George A. Romero at the helm. At least we wouldn't get any Matrix outfits, slow motion bullet crap, or any of that asinine garbage. Maybe, as a result of that, his newer 'Dead' films would have improved.

    • RSFreer profile image


      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thanks for the review. I own the first three Res Evil films and liked em a lot (as far as video game to film adaptations). Usually any movie based on a video game sucks balls (Doom, Hitman, etc). I always put the first few Res Evil movies on par with the Max Payne movie, decent given its source material. I haven't gotten around to seeing the last two, Afterlife and Retribution. I think your theory of movie series losing their way between movie 3-4 is quite accurate.


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