Resident Evil: Retribution

“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” :D

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.

F

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. :D

A

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62 thoughts on “Resident Evil: Retribution

  1. Pingback: Review: Resident Evil: Retribution « The Focused Filmographer

  2. You might be disappointed in some of the other sequels. The first film is actually legitimately decent and is a *very* different kind of movie from the rest of the series. The second film is where it starts to get crazy. I used to like the second film, but upon a recent re-watch, it was… not that great. Filled with bad acting, an iffy plot, and some ludicrous (though fun) action. The third film is just bad. There’s no plot whatsoever. The acting is at an all-time low. It barely registers in the so-bad-its-good category. The fourth film is a step up in the entertainment level. It’s very similar to this new one in presentation. But I personally feel that the new one here is the best of the sequels, mostly because it’s just damn entertaining.

    I’m actually really curious to hear your reactions to the other films in this series.

    • If they rise to the level of this one, I may do a “Cheese-Tastic Classic” for them :D

      Disappointing to hear they’re not all this same ilk. My buddy told me that too, he definitely made note that the first was a more legitimate movie… And he did say there was one or two he didn’t care for much.

      Still, I’m gonna check em out Nick, this was that kind of “so bad it’s good” that rarely comes along, lol :D

      Glad you concur!

  3. yeah…I’ll be curious to see your thoughts on the other sequels (#2-4) when you get around. I put a link to my thoughts on the baddd 4th one in my review for 5. cheese is ONE word to describe it. Limburger cheese for certain, cuz it stinks!

  4. This is what Resident Evil is though. Its essentially part of the “so bad its good”. I can’t wait to finally catch one of these in the theatres too..especially since this one is in 3D. Haha!

    First one is in a more “serious” tone(I guess) and resembles a horror movie or at least tries to. I remembered watching 2,3 and 4 making comments and laughing but realizing how its really not such a great movie. At least it was a fun watch! I hope you enjoy it when you go through the previous ones :)

    • Yeah, there’s definitely a certain art to that though Kim, and I didnt know if the Resident Evil saga was so bad its bad, or so bad its good. :D

      Happy to see it fell on the “So bad its good side”, although I’m hearing a variety of things about the predecessors. Like you mention, the first one is supposed to be a more traditional kind of straight up film, but then 2,3 and 4 are getting a variety of reactions as far as I can see.

      I’ll tell you though, I had a ton of fun with this one, I really did. :D

      • Well, 2 &3 is by another director from the 1, 4, and now 5…so for sure, you can tell its different. I think those might be edging on the “so bad its bad”, if anything..

        Either way, I’m glad that you gave it the split grade, now I just want to see it more…since I’m definitely catching this one really soon!

  5. It is refreshing to see a reviewer that understands that some movies are just there to be disposable fun. I am sure tons of reviewers will rip this movie to shreds, but you get exactly what it advertises in the trailers, brainless fun is underrated sometimes. Double rating works well for this movie, great idea.

  6. Is this what they call “spectrum analysis”? A to F. Interesting. Maybe there should be an unclassified category or “stinky cheese”? Didn’t you vow to see this entire series at one time. Or was that “Twilight”? Either way, break out a good gas mask!

    • “Twilight”. I’m on the record. Probably will go down in early spring of next year, based on the release date of the last one.

      Hey, if those are half as fun as this, I’d love ‘em. I have a feeling those would be Bad Bad though and not Good Bad. You know?

      • I feel that way about the “Underworld” series. You know it’s bad but there’s Kate Beckinsale in a skin tight outfit kicking ass. Ya gotta love it!

  7. As long as Milla is in these films, I will not be seeing them. She’s been terrible in anything I’ve seen her in. I saw the first R.E. and hated it so much that I haven’t seen the others in the series, and I am a big horror fan. I would rather see “The Apparition” a second time than an R.E. film the first time.

    • Oh. Don’t get me wrong. She’s terrible here, too. Gawd awful.

      If you have no appreciation for bad acting, stay far away. :D

      What makes enjoyably bad acting vs insufferably bad acting? Damned if I know. But in my opinion, this was the former.

  8. Phewww, you had me going there dude! I was reading and reading and was waiting for that political onion disclaimer;

    ‘I am onion and I approve this message.’

    Thankfully I was saved from brain damaged anxiety at the end of the review by the dual ratings

  9. Question? Can we make a drinking game out of this? Is there some distinctive queue that would trigger imbibing a beverage and mid way through force us to ridiculously reenact some of the scenes? What if there was a marathon presentation of all the previous films, could we actually start a cult activity, the “R-Evil Liver Damage Drinking Game”? Did you notice that R-Evil is Liver backwards?

    • I did not Ray. I dont know how I missed that. LOL

      I think the best Resident Evil drinking game would be to drink whenever someone has a bad “line delivery”. Make it revolve around the bad acting.

      The game would kill more people than the Umbrella Corporation did in the movie. LOL

  10. A? For serious? You give it a higher mark than TDKR?!

    I think I’ve seen all of the previous instalments. I say I think, because they all merge into one! They are ridiculous on all counts, but I can understand the fun factor. They’re the sort of film I watch when it’s raining outside and my arse doesn’t want to get off the sofa. And my brain is somewhat dead.

    But seriously, A?!

    • Now, now…

      It got the FMR trademarked “Split/Grade” F/A, designed to grade “So bad they’re good” movies. Certainly this movie could never earn a legitimate A.

      But don’t tempt me by asking if I’d rather watch this or the Dark Knight Rises… I’m not 100% sure, but I might not give you the answer you want. :D

  11. I enjoy those films though they are really stupid and cheesy :) But they have good action and nice shoot outs, I’m in no rush to see that part though, I’ll probably catch it on DVD. F and A….interesting rating! :)

    • Yeah, I think “Immortals” was the first movie I gave the “split” grade to.

      How else can you quantify it? I mean… I can’t give this thing a straight up good grade. It was pitiful. Yet, it would be complete hypocrisy of me to say I didnt enjoy myself. I had a great time. FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS, but still. LOL. I laughed all the way through! :D

      • I have the same problem with American Pie films, I love those, but come on, there is poop eating and sperm drinking in those :) Although comparing to recent crude comedies they are at least funny.

  12. Good review Dan, I’m a big fan of undead horror but the Resident Evil franchise takes the cake. Like I told you, they have been getting steadily worse. I was still hoping that this one would be better than the last but alas it wasn’t, much worse actually. The first one wasn’t too bad; standard stuck in a complex and need to get out while zombies and a crazy computer system are chasing you. But this one was way over the top. I think you hit all the major points. I can tell you that during the first half hour all I kept thinking that Dan is going to ruin this flick on his review. Then I started to enjoy the comedy of it all. For a horror flick it is far from scary. It almost turns out to be a spoof of a true survival horror. The only thing that I can think of is that they tried to do something different. The bad lines were the worst though. Anyways I am still glad I saw it even though this flick and the first one are the only ones I actually saw in the theater. Wish we caught the morning run and saved some cash. With that said I would have graded it a little higher like a D- or a D and a B for the comedy piece of it.

    • Gotcha.

      Yeah, I dont think this holds any value at all as a true horror movie. I mean… I cant imagine any of this frightening anyone over the age of say 10. :D

      “Over the Top” is right. I mean, I just couldnt help but laughing. In fact I think there were a couple of times when I did laugh… I couldnt help it. But it was enjoyable. I really had a fun time watching it, so… that needs to get some credit.

      If I didn’t give movies credit for unintentional comedies, I would definitely have hammered this though

  13. Pingback: Resident Evil: Retribution: Same Ol’ S**t, in 3D!!! « Chaos Mechanica

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