Resident Evil: Retribution

Before leaving for the theatre, I checked the run time on this movie and saw that it was just 95 minutes. Well, I reasoned, it's probably just one long fight scene, and there's only so much you can do to pad things out even with bullet time. As it turns out, bullet time is useful for even more than that, but we'll get to that later.

"Alice fights alongside a resistance movement in the continuing battle against the Umbrella Corporation and the undead." That's the imdb summary of the film, and I think it works for all the movies equally well. That's really all you need to know to watch this, since I'm pretty sure that's all the scriptwriters knew, too. That can't actually be right since the same scriptwriter worked on all five movies, but that's what it seems like. Milla Jovovich is back as Alice, poor girl, because even The Three Musketeers was better than this. She does her usual explanation at the beginning, then there's about five or six minutes of conversation about halfway through, and the rest is as predicted: one long fight sequence.

They made a conscious effort to go back to the good old days -- I never saw the first flick, but I have to assume it was miles better than this one. Heck, even the last one was miles better than this one. Michelle Rodriguez of Battle Los Angeles is back playing a character called Rain, though she doesn't get a whole lot of screen time. She's mostly a bad guy, but not always. I won't attempt to explain that further since it involves clones and I don't have the energy to deal with those.

The continuing battle this time involves an attempt to blow up Umbrella's super-secret base in Kamchatka, a base which used to be a super-secret Soviet submarine base. To jazz things up, parts of the base have been made to look like New York, Tokyo, Moscow, and Raccoon City. I had no idea there was a town called Raccoon City involved in this franchise, but there we are. It's actually labelled "suburbia", but the crashed news helicopter says otherwise.

Anyway, there are some mercenaries, led by Johann Urb of 2012, and including Kevin Durand of Real Steel and Boris Kodjoe of the last RE movie. Colin Salmon, from The Bank Job and also the very first Resident Evil flick is back as some sort of bad guy. Shawn Roberts is back as Wesker, possible bad guy. Oh, and Bingbing Li of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan plays Ada Wong, who runs around dressed in a red gown slit as high as you can go in an R-rated movie. By rights she should have frozen to death, but they put so much effort into making the actors look like the game I kept forgetting they weren't made of pixels. Seriously, they pose like they're in a video game waiting for the player to make them do something.

In fact, while I'm on the subject, let me list all the plot holes and general errors I can recall.

  • No matter how cold it's supposed to be, you never see anyone's breath. (Maybe they really are all made out of pixels.)
  • Alice gets dressed in her full black suit with all the buckles in a minute and ten seconds. They timed it for me.
  • Alice is sometimes wounded, sometimes not. I think the scriptwriter forgot about it entirely in some scenes.
  • They have a monster called a Licker. Okay, that isn't really a mistake, but what were they thinking calling it that? I christened it the Brain Monster because you could see its brains while it was killing people.
  • Said monster kills people only when they aren't needed alive later in the script. The rest it thoughtfully imprisons instead.
  • Alice has a flashback. Doesn't sound like an error? Well, it's someone else's flashback. Later, Alice seems to sort of remember it and sort of not, like they couldn't make up their minds if it was too far out for her to share memories, even with one of her clones.
  • The bad guys have grenade launchers that shoot in bullet time. This enables the good guys to avoid being hit, because they keep going at regular speed while the projectiles are stuck in slow-mo.
  • After the last movie, Alice knows perfectly well that anyone with a red glowing spider-thing on her chest is being controlled, and removing the thing will stop that. Yet she deliberately avoids using that knowledge until the last possible moment.

  • Yeah, that last one is a borderline spoiler, but frankly, I'm actively trying to discourage people from going. The opening credits were the most interesting part of the movie. The credits. Five minutes of interesting does not make up for ninety minutes of desperate boredom.

    I considered going as high as two out of five, but I have to knock it back to one and three-quarters since the ending is once again nothing more than a pause before they tack on the next sequel. That will make #6 if you've lost count, and it's easy to lose count when none of them have numbers. They do that on purpose, though.

    Looks like a publicity still, doesn't it? But they pose like that all the time.


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