“Resident Evil: Retribution” is the latest installment in the Paul W.S. Anderson / Milla Jovovich “Resident Evil” series.
I had never seen a “Resident Evil” movie prior to this one. So my review (sadly) will be unable to touch on things like continuity or consistency between films.
I can tell you however that “Resident Evil: Retribution” is a dumbly plotted, horribly acted film laden with ridiculous action sequences and ludicrous creature designs that have a tenuous connection to reality at best. By any objective qualitative measure, this movie fails. It’s poorly scripted, acted, and directed. It is literally laughably bad.
And as such, I loved every minute of it. I can’t wait for the next installment, and intend to catch up on the previous chapters ASAP.
“Resident Evil: Retribution” rolls its opening credits over a lengthy slow-motion action sequence… being played in reverse. I was instantly impressed. “Ooh. Cheesy”
It only gets better from there. Jovovich breaks down the history of the franchise in a five-minute or so direct address to the audience. I appreciated that, as the intricate backstory and complex character relationships that had been established over the course of four films may have been lost on me. I wouldn’t have wanted this film to be reduced to a non-cerebral, visual experience. You know, “Huh huh. Shoooot ‘em… Heh.”
Our heroine, Alice, wakes up in a testing facility, clad only in two loosely connected hand towels. If you wonder things like, “Why?”, you’re in the wrong movie. It’s ok, after being tortured briefly, she’s “broken out” by a mysterious benefactor who manages to equip her with her S&M body armor and some small arms, and away she goes! She doesn’t get far before she’s fighting mutant zombies, security forces, an evil artificial intelligence, and former allies who have betrayed her. The story of the movie basically boils down to “shoot your way out”. A true video game plot if ever I’ve heard one.
But that’s really barely the start of this thing. I had suspected we might be in for something truly special, but my hopes were realized when Alice and her companion began battle with two enormous gargantuans wielding outrageously huge hammer/axe combo weapons. When they first appeared, my reaction was something like “Ye-heh-yessss!!” I had a giddy, gleeful grin on my face the entire time they fought, especially when I saw that the creatures could get shot directly in the head multiple times with no repercussions whatsoever. There were plenty of other bizarre creatures along the way as well. The “zombies” can unhinge their jaws to attack with tentacles emanating from their mouths, there’s a bear sized creature with an enormous exposed brain that bounds about and kills people, and at one point Michelle Rodriguez injects herself with some sort of parasite that gives her super-powers that are a cross between Wolverine’s healing factor, Neo’s kung fu skills, and Blake Lively’s thespian abilities. The heroes pump endless rounds of ammunition into the limitless horde of fodder, punctuated occasionally by some hand to hand martial arts combat.
Not every movie can bring you this level of entertainment, people.
It’s ridiculous to the core, but thankfully Jovovich and Anderson know that the key to unintentional comedy is keeping a straight face. The creature designs are ludicrous, but they are actually supported by first-rate special effects. The movie is also filled with slow-motion posing and preening after kills, and a variety of drama beats that keep the “Are they serious, here?” element alive. I’m grateful. It’s just not the same without it.
The icing on this delectable cheesecake is display of bad acting the likes of which I’ve rarely seen. I feel as though I can fill 3/5ths of the “Worst Supporting Actress” category for this year’s MAJOR AWARDS from this movie alone. And Jovovich has her nomination locked tight. I mean, I’m used to maybe one, two horrendous line deliveries per film that could be considered “worst of the year”. This movie, ooohf, da! Mannn… every other sentence was an airball. It was awesome.
This film earns the split grade! If you’re watching it for a serious movie, you know, you want to see something legitimately good… I would just ask, what are you thinking? C’mon. You know what this thing is gonna be.
But if you’re looking for a cheese drenched slice of mindless entertainment (Read: Entertainment, less mind), they don’t get much better than this. I smiled the entire way through, and must have thought “Ohh ho hogh, that was awesome!” like 4, 5 times easily.