I always find it interesting when an action film feels weighted down in tedium. No matter how many things explode onscreen or how much people jump around shooting with semi-automatic rifles, it just can’t rile up any sense of excitement. These were my thoughts when reflecting on “Resident Evil: Retribution” after weathering through an hour and a half of tired action movie clichés, slow motion cinematography, and 3D gimmicks.
Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up in an underwater Umbrella facility where she must travel through different T-virus testing simulations to escape. Along the way, she meets up with an associate of Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) named Ada (Li Bingbing). She informs her that Wesker is trying to help her escape to join his fight against the Umbrella Corporation and the undead. Wesker also put together a team made up of Leon S. Kennedy (Johann Urb), Barry Burton (Kevin Durand), and Luther West (Boris Kodjoe) to retrieve the two girls.
Alice and her rescuers come up against different varieties of the undead as well as a group of familiar faces the Red Queen (Ave Merson-O’Brian) is using to intimidate and fight against them. The team is led by a brainwashed Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) and made up of clones of Alice’s dead associates including Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), Carlos (Oded Fehr) and James “One” Shade (Colin Salmon). Can Alice get to safety and discover why her old opponent Wesker needs her help so bad?
I know the movie is based on a video game, but does “Resident Evil: Retribution” have to feel like I’m just watching someone else play it? A script is almost non-existent as the film takes viewers through different simulated “testing” grounds for at least an hour of the 95-minute running time. Just like in a video game, you go into a room with a character, defeat whatever monsters are in it, and then move on to the next one and do it all again. If I wanted to play the game, I would have just rented the latest version and skipped this mess.
Director / writer Paul W.S. Anderson found a way to shove as many of the old characters from the other movies into this one through his use of clones as assassins and gunners for the Umbrella Corporation. Besides Michelle Rodriguez’s Rain, the other returning actors have little to do except shoot guns while running and jumping around on wires.
The CGI and visual effects aren’t too bad. However, the final sequence of the movie looks like it was pulled straight off of Capcom’s game. It looks ridiculously animated and really closes the film on a negative note. There also seems to be some kind of synthetic sheen over any scenes featuring Jovovich that give them an artificial air.
You can’t fault the video or audio quality of “Resident Evil: Retribution” for an unpleasant viewing experience. The picture is clear, vibrant, and is at least easy on the eyes. The 5.1 surround sound will please audiences as explosions, gunfire, screams, and other grotesque noises are spread throughout the speakers in their home theater.
One thing I can say positive about the “Resident Evil: Retribution” Blu-ray is it’s packed with special features. They include two different commentaries with filmmakers and cast, outtakes, deleted and extended scenes, several “Behind-the-Scenes” featurettes, and an interactive database. One featurette that many will find interesting is “‘Resident Evil: Retribution’ – Face of the Fan” in which series devotee Dylan Syrett shares her experience visiting the set of the movie.
“Resident Evil: Retribution” is a disappointing entry in the franchise. I watched “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” after watching this and it just furthermore pounded home how laborious “Retribution” is. Many enthusiasts of these movies may find themselves feeling like they’re sitting on a couch with their hands tied behind their backs while being forced to watch a friend play “Resident Evil 6” for an hour and a half. It’s just not a very pleasant predicament to find yourself in.
“Resident Evil: Retribution” is available now on Blu-ray and includes an UltraViolet Digital copy.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
Blu-ray Review: ‘The Three Musketeers’ Hits the Mark
Get Your Home Prepared for ‘2012 Zombie Apocalypse’
DVD Review: “Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies”