Resident Evil Retribution
The fifth instalment in the
inexplicably long running Resident Evil franchise sees Paul W.S Anderson
returning as director for the third time. Although commercially
successful, the much maligned franchise has consistently received a
critical drubbing. Is Resident Evil: Retribution the film that will
prove all the naysayers wrong?
In short? No.
Continuing the story directly from
the previous film, Retribution sees returning heroine Alice, played by
the gorgeous Milla Jovovich, once again going head to head with the
nefarious Umbrella Corporation. This time around Alice must escape from
the facility operated by the demented A.I Red Queen, traversing across
simulations of viral outbreaks in some of the world’s biggest cities,
such as Tokyo and Moscow.
Former antagonist Albert Wesker
offers to assist Alice in her escape as the Red Queen no longer
recognises him as an authority; under the Red Queens control, Jill
Valentine also returns, leading a squadron comprised of clones of
deceased characters from previous entries in an attempt to recapture
Alice. Throw in a squad of mercenaries featuring fan favourites Leon S.
Kennedy and Barry Burton and a whole lot more of the cloning facility
hoopla from previous instalments and you have the basic premise of the
The Resident Evil films have always
been a case of style over substance and Retribution is no exception.
Although quite adept at producing visually stunning scenes, Paul W.S
Anderson’s grasp on the basic tenets of storytelling is extremely
lacking; the storyline of the film exists for no other reason than to
propel our protagonists into another action sequence and consists of
some of the worst dialogue I’ve heard outside of “The Room”.
The acting leaves a lot to be desired
for the most part; with the exception of Jovovich, most of the
characters are paper thin and, to be fair, don’t offer the actors a lot
to work with. Of particular note is the actor who plays Leon S. Kennedy
– He makes Daniel Baldwin look like Robert DeNiro.
As mentioned before, Anderson creates
some visually exciting scenes and the film has the aesthetic of a video
game, with certain scenes resembling cut scenes from the most recent
instalment in the game series, Resident Evil 6. The film opens in
spectacular fashion, running a hyperkinetic shoot out sequence in
reverse. It works incredibly well and draws you into the film – Until
immediately afterwards you’re forced to watch the exact same scene play
out normally. From then on it’s a string of action sequences punctuated
by a bit of plot exposition to move the characters forward.
It is interesting to see the return
of Oded Fehr, Michelle Rodriguez and other familiar faces but it all
seems rather superfluous, especially as their presence doesn’t really
add much more to the film than “Hey! Remember this guy?”
As stated before, the film is
extremely pleasing to the eye. The transfer is clean and colours are
vivid; a film such as this pours most of its money into the visuals and
it really shows here. The image quality cannot be faulted at all and the
film itself is one fine looking beast.
Audio quality is also exemplary, with
the 5.1 DTS-HD sound positively making love to your speakers, a minor
gripe is the dialogue levels are a tad soft, so you’ll turn your system
up to hear it and then be deafened by the boom of an onscreen explosion.
The disc is packed with supplemental features, the best of which are the
collection of 7 featurettes delving into the production process. The
commentaries are engaging enough, although most of what is covered is
already available on the featurettes. Rounding out the package are some
deleted scenes and outtakes and an interactive database pertaining to
the characters, creatures and mythology of the series.
List of features:
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Filmmakers and Cast Commentaries
Project Alice: The Interactive Database
Master of Evil: Directing Resident Evil: Retribution
Resident Evil: Reunion
Design and Build: The World of Resident Evil: Retribution
Drop (Un) Dead: The Creatures of Retribution
Yes, it is a redundant entry in the
series, but if you’re a fan of either the franchise or action films
you’ll find much to enjoy here. Personally, I suffered from stimulation
overload and found the action scenes boring by the end, the same problem
I had with Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch – it’s all sizzle and no steak.
The plot is near nonexistent and the
acting often echoes amateur hour; if you’re not fond of the series than
this entry won’t change your opinion, but if you’re looking for a film
to switch your brain off to and get bombarded with dazzling eye candy
then you could do a lot worse than to pick up Resident Evil:
Retribution. It’s probably the second best entry in the series after
Apocalypse and long time fans will no doubt lap this up.