Home » Review

You Asked For It: Resident Evil: Retribution – Review

Resident Evil Retribution - Review
In a former life, writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson enjoyed a highly successful career as a pain expert working for the Khymer Rouge in Cambodia. If somebody wasn’t talking, they would send him in and he’d get information in less than a minute. It’s important to know, because this film makes you want to admit to things you haven’t done in order for the pain to end.

But before we get into the review proper, let’s make a disclaimer. This writer loves Resident Evil – he’s played all the games, watched all the films, read the books, even wrote his dissertation at University about the franchise. In fact, he’s had to pause Resident Evil 6 in order to crap out this appalling ‘review’. So don’t sit there throwing around accusations of the writer of not liking Resident Evil, because he probably knows it better than you do, okay?

Resident Evil Retribution Review
This time around the film begins with a hatefully long ‘previously on…’ monologue from Alice (Milla Jovovich) in order to explain what’s going on. Truthfully though, none of this matters one jot, because the world ended in the third film and since then, Paul W.S. Anderson has been making it up as he went.

So Alice is captured by the Umbrella Corporation, a company that seems to come back from the dead as often as the zombies they create. Naturally, Alice soon breaks out, thanks to Ada Wong (Not Milla Jovovich) and Wesker (also not Milla Jovovich) and runs through a massive building while pursued by the Red Queen (hilariously, played by a different actor because the original girl is too old now). At the same time, an extraction team is sent in, consisting of a Black Guy (definitely not Milla Jovovich) as well as Leon S. Kennedy and Barry Burton. No, really. The sight of these classic characters being embarrassed by Paul W.S. Anderson will make you want to vomit in your lap. There’s absolutely no point in them even being there, because the film’s focus is on Milla jumping around in tight leather.

Resident Evil Retribution Review
The plot is essentially just a piss-poor excuse to have a series of scenes set in various landmarks around the world that aren’t really landmarks around the world because it’s set in one big building, all explained in increasingly awkward dialogues exchanges. Every five minutes, someone pops up to provide exposition for a scenario that just doesn’t make sense – and there’s a hell of a lot of explaining to do, from differentiating between the different types of zombie on offer (‘Las Plagas Undead!’) to forcing in the reappearance of Rain, One and Carlos (‘clones!’)

Of course, that’s not all, because Paul W.S. Anderson still doesn’t have an original bone in his body and once again you can play a fun game of ‘what film is he ripping off this time?’ The two main ones this are Aliens and the Dawn of the Dead remake, the former in giving Alice a Newt-esque little child to fawn over, and the second in an early sequence of Zombies in Surburbia that, weirdly, is far, far better than anything in the entire film. There’s also a bone-breaking x-ray bit towards the end which looks like it was from another film. It must be. It looks too good to be original. Ten internet points to whoever guesses it.

Resident Evil Retribution Review
The acting, as you may well have guessed, straddles the line between appalling and hilarious. Constipation doubles for concern on a regular basis. When a child doing sign language is more convincing than the adult cast, there’s probably something wrong.

If you’re trying to watch this film and you haven’t played the games, you’re screwed. Paul W.S. Anderson has completely given up trying to make the films accessible, so you’ll want to watch it with a gamer who can explain everything to you in order for it to make sense. The zombies ride motorbikes because there’s a sequence like it in Resident Evil 5. Jill Valentine is being mind controlled because she was in Resident Evil 5. The Las Plagas parasite is the disease from Resident Evil 4. Rain absorbs bullets because a villain did that in Resident Evil 4. There’s a zombie with a chainsaw because there was one like it in both 4 and 5.

Resident Evil Retribution Review
Paul W.S. Anderson’s visual flair is once again evident, smeared all across the screen like an uninvited guest crapping all over a birthday cake. There’s slow motion whenever somebody stops talking – this time in reverse, too – and Milla Jovovich spends as much time as possible looking sexy, including dressing like a reject from TRON, presumably because her husband enjoyed touching himself while watching it. And it’s all in 3D, too! So every five minutes there’s a knife/ axe/ sharp stick chucked at the camera in order to make you feel like you’re really there.

Nothing makes sense in this film, but has anything ever really needed to? Things just keep happening to Alice and she powers through it. If there was ever a protagonist that was impossible to root for, it’s her. She’s survived Armageddon, had superpowers, lost her superpowers and even died four or five times. By the time the credits roll on this one, she’s lived through seven Armageddons and even gotten her powers back for the second time. Yes, really.

Resident Evil Retribution Review
Are there any positives to say about this? Yes, there are exactly three. The first is that, at ninety minutes, it’s short enough for you to convince yourself that it didn’t really happen. The second is that Li Bingbing (Ada Wong) is utterly beautiful and well worth a Google image search. Finally, this film is not as bad as Extinction or Afterlife, although that’s like saying that being stabbed in the knee is better than drinking bleach.

In short, it’s a mess. A travesty. And it ends on a cliffhanger. There’ll be another one. There will be six films in this franchise. Six. Bring a strong bottle of something that kills brain cells. You’re gonna need it.

Grade: F

Share This Post


    Error thrown

    Call to undefined function mysql_query()