'Resident Evil: Retribution' Review By Bryan Yentz
... This zombie should be left out to rot.
RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION is not that film. It's the complete opposite.
It's the sort of film which reminds us of why we hate cinema, Hollywood and big-name directors with celebrity wives. . . It's the type of film that perpetuates every negative element regarding multi-million dollar blockbusters and offers nary a thing the least bit substantial or worthwhile. Its purpose isn't to be remembered; its purpose is to slap you across the face with stupidity--so much in fact--that you'll forget you wasted your hard-earned money on it. . . Until the inevitable sixth installment comes out in a year, that is. Rinse. Repeat.
For whoever's still following this franchise's attempt at storytelling, the broken narrative begins just where the last film left off: on a big-ass cargo ship with Alice (Milla Jovovich) fighting helicopters, Umbrella agents and a brainwashed Jill. From here, the movie jumps to an Alice at home with her "deaf" daughter (more on that later) and her husband. Is it a flashback that breaks continuity? A dream? Bullsh*t? Well if you guessed "bullsh*t" then you're already one step ahead of the entire film. . . Following this divergent plot-point, we witness our main protagonist, Alice, wake inside a new Umbrella complex. From this moment on, she discovers herself in a new training facility for the Umbrella Corporation which is buried beneath the frozen waters of an ocean. Despite the fact that the Earth is nearly extinct of all humanity, we're informed that Umbrella is still testing their biohazards on fake cities modeled after real cities. . . And. . . Well. . . You know what? It's just all so illogical that I won't even bother continuing. The idiotic, hole-ridden, absurd, senseless, infuriating plotline is just an excuse for constant action. So, doing away with the vomit-inducing atrocity that is the narrative, let's pop a cap in the frenetic gunplay and zombie-blasting havoc that punctuates the celluloid.
I'll be honest, during the first literal three minutes of the movie, I dare say I was enthralled. Playing in reverse slow-motion, we watch as Alice fights a losing battle atop the cargo ship. This brief scene consists of snazzy and cheesy visuals (Jill jumping from the helicopter) and a great electronic song scored by Tomandandy (who also scored the last film and other flicks like THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake). These first few minutes contain a trance-like quality to them and display a sci-fi beauty that the previous installment lacked.
And then everything returns to normal speed, we're shown the same scene in chronological order and any potential is tossed into the same ocean Alice's body is blown into. While the film maintains a consistent action-oriented pace, it all works for naught when every scene of carnage is either bland, repetitive or plain-out forgettable. While the environments change (though don't let the "global" tagline fool you), the bullet-blasting, knife-throwing, grenade-chucking havoc just becomes monotonous. It's as if everyone involved knew they were going to make millions so they didn't even try to make anything about the action the least bit memorable. Then again, about the time the Russian zombies came out of the fog firing machine guns and wielding chainsaws, I threw out any hope that the film might try anything the least bit compelling in the action department. The film is so lazy in fact, that it just reuses the same monstrous enemies from the previous films. Remember The Licker from number one (the only good one)? He's back. Remember the Executioners from the last one? They're here too (and yes, they've been completely taken out of context once again, so they make even less sense here than before). Typically, when one goes into a film knowing full-well that it'll be shallow, they can at least expect some decent action to accompany (and make up for) all of the idiocracy. Not the case here. Outside of the beginning and one particular shot near the end which features a character overtaken by zombies under the water, everything about RETRIBUTION reeks of half-assed execution.
And I gotta ask. . . What the hell was up with having a deaf character in the film, if she not only spoke, but stated every word perfectly WHILE she used sign language? Now, had anyone involved with this production actually played through the games, then this little piece of pie could have been used to great effect, let's say. . . During a fight with a Garridor; a blind, blade-armed antagonist from RESIDENT EVIL: 4 that hunts by sound. What if Alice and the little deaf girl had been caught in a chamber with one of these and only had sign language to communicate? There Paul. I just gave you you're best, most intense scene for RESIDENT EVIL 6: WE'RE NOT STOPPING. . . You're welcome.
And as if all of that weren't bad enough, Anderson and co. go as far as tacking on content and shots during an introductory narration that NEVER even occurred in the previous entries!
Seriously, these are the people getting paid the big bucks, people. . .
Even entering the theater with zero expectations, I found RETRIBUTION to be a complete and utter waste of time. If the last film was a nail in the coffin; this attempt sends the franchise six feet under. Shamelessly recycled enemies, ideas and one-liners from previous entries; laughably bad characterization; music-video direction and a plot that serves as a ludicrous footnote rather than a true-to-the-series narrative should have forced this entire endeavor into the delete bin. Even as far as mindless entertainment goes, RETRIBUTION lowers the bracket on that as well. Beyond the first three minutes, a neat-o underwater shot during the final bout and a pulsating soundtrack by Tomandandy, RETIBUTION is a failure of kinetic proportions. This zombie should be left out to rot.