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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews Resident Evil: Retribution

September 27th, 2012 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

Resident Evil: Retribution (15)
Directed By: Paul W. S. Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Bingbing Li
Rating: Running Time: 96 mins

Alice fights alongside a resistance movement in the continuing battle against the Umbrella Corporation and the undead.

Back in 2002 director Paul W. S. Anderson was brought in to bring the Resident Evil series to the big screen after having success with his first video game movie, Mortal Kombat, this was going to be a very tough job for Anderson as the Resident Evil series was a huge franchise for Capcom (their biggest, in fact) and trying to bring that to the big screen was going to be tough.

Fortunately, he managed to do this and it grossed nearly four times its budget. Fast forward ten years and we have the fifth in the series, but has it managed to be as enjoyable now as it was then or are we treading the same ground with a series that should be laid to rest?

The film kicks of at the end of the last one,where the survivors,led by Alice (Jovovich),think they are about to be rescued by a fleet of helicopters when,in fact, these are from Umbrella (the villains, keep up – ed) and they’ve come to capture them, so the opening sequence of the film is done in reverse where we see Alice in the water and then going through a series of fights backwards, the movie then switches to a recap of the previous films. After the opening sequence, Alice is captured by Umbrella and taken to an unknown facility where she is questioned by Jill Valentine (Guillroy) about her involvement with Umbrella; sure enough Alice escapes but only as far as the man she’s been hunting from the start of the franchise… Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts).

The movie then sees the return of familiar faces, both from the movies so far and the games –  Ada Wong (Bingbing Li),  Leon Kennedy (Johann Urb)  and Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), even though she clearly died in the first movie ten years ago…

First off, the thing to note about any Resident Evil film is that it requires you to leave your brain at the door as nothing in this film will try to task it and, up until now, this has worked as they are simple but enjoyable, unfortunately with Retribution the series is now showing that it has become very tired and that what we allowed in the previous movies is just being rehashed.

Everything in this film has been done in the previous four films and, for the most part, done better; the set pieces feel the same and it seems that they haven’t evolved, the acting has remained the same, the CGI, however, has been ramped up so much that it’s now becoming a bit of a joke with the film losing its real edge that was present in the first few films. On top of this, if you are going to introduce two beloved characters from the video game (Leon and Ada)  in such a slap dash way then don’t feature them in the film at all; both characters in the games are very tough and complex, but in this film they are more like stagnant puppets that bring very little to the story.

All that said, I liked the fact that they gave Alice her humanitythat has been lacking in previous films – this made her character much more believable. There is also a fantastic fight sequence near the end of the film involving Alice, Rain and Ada that should have been near the start of the film as this would have made a much better opening and the film itself would have flowed better, having grabbed you from the start. Another success is the design of the mutant nemesis that was present in the last film, but this time it’s much more menacing and deadly, however SPOILER they managed to dispatch two of them quicker here than it took them to kill just one in the last film SPOILER ENDS.

Overall, Resident Evil: Retribution is a sign of a series that is on its last legs, we know that there will be one final film as the ending of the movie is a cop-out and Anderson has said that he knows how Alice’s story ends. If you are a fan of the previous films then you may find this one an enjoyable enough entry in the series, however you may also come out feeling the series is starting to become a bit stale.

Note: Our review is based on the 2D version of the movie.

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Three out of five Nerds (just about…)

I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.