RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION – Fifth film in the RESIDENT EVIL franchise. Written and Directed by Resident Evil filmmaking expert Paul W.S. Anderson. The Plot? Alice has to escape an Umbrella Corporation facility with the help of a small resistance force and others.
Now before I even get into my review, I want to give my Geek Soul Family some prerequisite for seeing this movie:
- You have to enjoy bad, over-the-top acting
- You have to like seeing women in leather one-piece outfits, fighting with guns and martial arts right out of Asian fantasy Kung-Fu cinema (and Tony Jaa films).
- You have to enjoy obvious in-your-face 3D effects in pretty much every shot, even if you see the 2-D version
- And most of all you have to love the characters from the previous films.
If you haven’t already done so, check out the trailer:
WHAT WAS GOOD, WHAT WAS BAD, AND WHAT WAS DOWN RIGHT UGLY
Fans of the other Resident movies may actually like this. It’s not serious like the first film, but takes an approach more like what Expendables took – you know it’s bad, but it’s fun. If you’re not a fan of the previous Evils, than I suggest you stay very far away from the theater, or you might turn into a zombie from the shear horribleness of it.
Bad acting and dialog, especially from the men, made this super cheesy. The fellas played it like cardboard cutouts from the poster itself. The women on the other hand actually delivered better performances, minus Sienna Guillory who played Jill. Now maybe she and the actors were told to play it that way from the director. The acting did fit the tone of the film, explosive and over the top.
Visually, the movie gave us a smorgasburg of 3D shots. Every action scene had a bullet or hand weapon or body flying out at us. Even the bad post-production explosions were in your face. It was obvious and intentional, no subtly where the effects guys were concerned. Neither was there any finesse with the green screen effects. They were totally looking at the 3D aspect, not quality.
Conversely, I couldn’t help noticing how good some of the cinematography and set designs were. For instance, Mila’s first few scenes in the Umbrella facility were shot with a cool esthetic that was geometrically pleasing to the eye. Again, they were thinking of 3D.
We all know the Resident Evil films are based on the game. So it shouldn’t surprise us that RETRIBUTION looks and feels like you’re in the middle of a game, wishing you controlled Alice with the controller. And as a friend pointed out, these movies can’t tell the story like the games themselves do because, in the games, the players are mostly running around finding clues while avoiding zombies. That would make for a boring movie. One thing you can’t say about this film is that it was boring. Corny and trifling at times, but not boring.
As much as I thought the acting (from the men) and some effects were bad, I thought the opposite of the fight scenes of the women. Milla Jovovich is now my favorite female action star. There, I said it. Actually, she’s been holding her own for years now, but in this film she looked very confident with the martial arts and gun-toting moves she performed. Argue with me if you want, but I’ve been into martial arts for a very long time. I recognize when somebody is putting the right effort and strength into a their moves. Not saying Mila is the next Mix Martial arts champion, but she’s making the scenes believable, not including the wire-work. And she’s still looks great, even though she’s starting to remind me of a young David Bowie.
And lets not forget little miss rough and tough. Michelle Rodriguez totally sold me on her end fight scene in which her character took on Luther West and Leon.. and whupped their asses. The camera work for the fights made them even better. I hate hate hate when they try to hide how bad the actors are at choreography by moving the camera fast and making things blurry. Whoever choreographed the fights stole from Shaw Brothers, Asian Fantasy cinema, and even Tony Jaa, but it was all good.
And I have to mention that the score deserved credit. It actually lent heavily to the positive parts of the film, as if it was made for a better and more serious film altogether.
Lastly, the story and directing. Without spoiling it, story concept was good. If Anderson meant to make the movie look like a badly acted video game movie, then he succeeded in his directing goal.
A FEW SPOILERS BEFORE I’M DONE
So I like the plot of Alice being caught in a Umberulla cell, being tortured. Only it wasn’t just a cell, but a whole facility made to mimic New York, Moscow, Tokyo and maybe one other city. The purpose was for the corporation to keep testing the virus in real situations and make it an even better weapon. The goal of Alice was to escape the ‘under ice and water’ test bed with the help of Leon and his team. The interesting part was that Umbrella populated the place with cloned test subjects from Alice, Rain, and other former characters. The concept worked for me as a game based scifi horror story.
Now the execution of the story… is another story. I can’t warn you brothers and sisters enough of how bad things were in the film. The Russian undead SS soldiers, the horrible dialog of all the antagonist, the highly impossible stunts that everybody was able to pull off for no rhyme or reason. The chase scenes reminded me of Extraordinary Gentlemen for a moment. And Anderson had no shame in turning Alice and a cloned Becky into ALIENS’ Ripley trying to get Noote from the monster. But if you can let those and other things go, you fans out there might have a good time. I didn’t see the previous film – RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE, but people said this one was better. I’ll let you that see them both decide.
Geek Soul Brother has to separate his rating for this one. For the general audience I would give RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION a 2.5 out of 5 COSMIC AFROS.
But for the Resident Evil film franchise fan 3.5 RESIDENT EVIL COSMIC AFROS.