Release Date: September 14, 2012
Genre(s): Horror, Sci-Fi, Action
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Kevin Durand, Sienna Guillory, Li Bingbing
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer(s): Paul W.S. Anderson
Running Time: 95 minutes
Adaptation of: Resident Evil video game series
Synopsis: Following the events of Resident Evil: Afterlife, Alice is captured and held in an Umbrella facility yet again. An unlikely ally sends a small team of soldiers to rescue Alice from her high tech prison in Russia, but things quickly become complicated.
“Here you go, fanboys and fangirls. Here’s your fucking precious pretty boy savior. Now leave me alone.” – Paul W.S. Anderson
If you’re still watching this film series, I seriously hope it’s just a guilty pleasure at this point. You’re not going around saying shit like “bro, the Resident Evil movies are the shit!”, right? If so, you really need to start removing the “the” from that phrase. These films haven’t ever been good per se, but the first two are at least enjoyable. Resident Evil wasn’t bad, and seemed like it could serve as a fun little prequel to the games. Resident Evil: Apocalypse was loosely based on Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and finally introduced some of the characters and events that fans of the games could recognize. And then began the steep decline; each film getting worse than the last. Judging by the trailers for Retribution, I thought for sure this one would at least be somewhat of an improvement on it’s predecessor. I was sadly mistaken—this is the worst film I’ve seen in the theater in quite some time.
Anyone who likes movies knows that it takes at least three acts to make a successful one. Well, in this film, we are graced with only two, and I suppose we’re lucky to get that. That’s right, Sony allowed a fucking incomplete film to be released and I’m shocked, offended, and horrified. Let me summarize the acts for you, and I assure I won’t be spoiling a thing if you’ve seen any of the trailers. Act one: Alice is captured by Umbrella and manages to escape her prison cell with the help of Albert Wesker. Act two: Wesker sends a small group of mercenaries to extract Alice from the facility she resides in, and they do so. That’s it—that’s the whole fucking story.
While Guillory is beautiful and actually looks very close to Jill’s in-game appearance, her line delivery was terrible. Even cleavage can’t mask bad acting.
Now that that’s out in the open, you should know that the two acts that are in the film, are terrible(surprised? Neither was I). Somehow Wesker is magically alive after being shot in the grill in the last film, and now wants to help Alice. He sends in Leon Kennedy, Ada Wong, Barry Burton, Luther from Afterlife, and two forgettable jack-offs(AKA zombie fodder) to rescue Alice from a secret underground Umbrella testing complex in Russia. So you’ve got Leon and Ada, who know each other in the games, hanging out with Barry, who should be dead by now and doesn’t know either Leon or Ada in the games, but is besties with Leon in the film, and tagging along are three Anderson originals, two of which have like two minutes of screen time. None of these characters, by the way, have any backstory—they are simply thrust onto the screen for the sake of fan service. So if you’ve never played the games, you’ll have absolutely no clue who these people are whatsoever.
Aside from the character cash-in fuckfest, the story elements in Retribution are abysmal. Plot devices are either rehashed(okay Paul, enough with the goddamn laser corridor), half-written(the Red Queen just comes back without explanation and replaces Wesker as the villain), or non-existent(why exactly are the series’ heroes working for the series’ main villain?). This film is basically just a series of action sequences, with a paper thin “plot” to give off the illusion that it’s an actual movie. And those action scenes are beautifully shot—if even a little heavy on the slow-motion— and that’s what Paul W.S. Anderson should stick to. He’s a very decent director(I still love Mortal Kombat), but he’s one of the worst screenwriters in existence. There’s seriously tons of so-ridiculous-it’s-not-even-funny scenes in this film; for example: a zombie drives a dirtbike successfully and does all types of stunts and shit. You read that right—an undead, decaying corpse operates a two-wheeled all-terrain motor vehicle like he’s fucking Carey Hart.
Durand’s Barry Burton is basically the only good part of the film. He’s a very underrated character actor.
I could easily go on and on about how bad this movie is, but it doesn’t even deserve the attention I’m currently giving it. If you’re a fan of the Resident Evil games, or even passable, enjoyable complete films for that matter, I don’t think you’ll find satisfaction with Retribution(that subtitle makes no sense in the context of the film, by the way). Anderson rushed this out with half a thought, and uses it to simply give his gorgeous wife something to do while pillaging the wallets of diehard fans who want to see Leon on screen. Hell, even Wentworth Miller and Ali Larter were smart enough not to return as Chris and Claire Redfield, respectively, and their characters aren’t even written out of the franchise properly—they are barely mentioned. I think that’s where Leon and Ada came in, to not only replace Chris and Claire, but to appeal to fans; killing two birds with one stone. If I had a stone right now, I wouldn’t waste it on two birds, I can tell you that. I’d use it to beat the memories of this piece of shit out of my skull.