Friday, October 19, 2012

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)

After the conclusion of Resident Evil Afterlife, Alice (Milla Jovoich) barely survives a raid from the Umbrella Corporation. Led by Alice’s former friend and ally, Jill Valentine (Sieanna Guillory) and Umbrella soldiers exterminate any living survivors aboard Arcadia, a freighter/prison for survivors of the T-Virus outbreak. Jill and the Umbrella soldiers eventually capture Alice after a shootout, and Alice is taken to an underground Umbrella Base.

At the same underground Umbrella base, a cloned version of Alice is married to Todd (Oded Fehr), and with her deaf daughter, Becky (Aryana Engineer), Alice lives a normal life in an alternate reality. But a sudden zombie attack disrupts her calm and quiet suburban lifestyle.

Eventually, the real Alice awakens in an Umbrella holding cell. Here, Alice is tortured and questioned by a brainwashed Jill…until Ada Wong (Li Bingbing) rescues her. Ada Wong is Albert Wesker’s (Shawn Roberts) trusted associate, so naturally, Alice is hesitant to accept her help. Confused and angry, Alice demands answers, so Ada explains the dire situation: the computer program known as the Red Queen is controlling the Umbrella Corporation, and the Red Queen corrupted Jill’s mind. Alice is torn between an alternate reality and real life. Alice develops feelings for her cloned daughter, but Alice will have to trust Ada, fight familiar faces from her past, and escape Umbrella’s underground base alive.

Director Paul W. S. Anderson provides some of the best 3D effects you’ll ever see. The 3D for Resident Evil: Retribution is mesmerizing, but Anderson’s usage of 3D never reaches the point of overkill. It’s a nice bonus attraction, and Anderson is one of the few directors, who knows how to use 3D properly.

The 3D is wonderful, but the praises for Anderson’s directing stop here. Throughout Retribution, I constantly asked myself two questions: “How is it possible? How can one movie feature so many extravagant and breathtaking set pieces, and still be so fucking boring?” Anderson tries to deliver stylish and slick action sequences, but the action side of this film lacks excitement and thrills. Anderson tries to produce crafty action, but the final result is an endless barrage of lifeless battles and chases. Seriously,  it’s mind-boggling. Retribution features some great eye candy, the backdrops are just perfect, but the action is incredibly dull, and the repeated usage of slow motion didn’t help anything.

Anderson also wrote the screenplay for this film, and the story is beyond confusing. The constant shifts between the alternate reality and the real world are bad enough, and Anderson constantly blurs the line between Alice’s real life and her cloned life as the suburban housewife.

The introduction of the clones almost gave me headache. With the exception of Jill Valentine, characters from previous films return as clones, but there‘s a catch. Unable to realize the differences between both Alices, Good Rain (Michelle Rodriguez) becomes one of Alice’s (the real Alice) trusted allies in the fight against Umbrella, and Good Carlos (Oded Fehr) is cloned Alice’s husband. But Umbrella also produces evil versions of the clones? That’s right, and under orders from Umbrella, Evil Carlos and Evil Rain carry out a hunt and kill mission for the real Alice. Why the fuck would Umbrella produce two sets of clones? Umbrella controls most of the post-apocalyptic world, so why would they create two sets of clones for two Alices?

During the intro, Anderson provides a short highlight reel and summary for the entire Resident Evil franchise. Well, this could’ve been a nice reminder, but Retribution’s confusing story really defeats the purpose of the flashback intro. 

Plus, Anderson blatantly copies the mother-daughter dynamic between Ellen Ripley and Newt from Aliens. I’m not the only, who noticed this, right? It’s the ass-kicking female heroin risking her life to save a strange little girl she just met, and if you watch Retribution, you will sense some strong similarities to the relationship between Ripley and Newt. Yeah, I know, storylines are reused and recycled all the time. Well, if the movie is entertaining, I usually look the other way, but Retribution wasn’t a good movie.   

The story is a mess, but the ending is unbelievable.


So the real Alice escapes ANOTHER Umbrella assassination attempt. Alice takes a trip to the White House, the base for the remaining survivors, and the sight of the last stand for non-infected humans. And guess who’s in the Oval Office? Albert Wesker! That’s right, if Alice wants to defeat Umbrella once and for all, she’ll have to join forces with US soldiers, other resistance fighters, and  her arch-nemesis. But wait it gets better! Wesker needs all the help he can get, so he injects Alice with the T-Virus? So Alice regains her superpowers from the same man, who took them away in the previous film? Okay then. Oh, and according to Wesker, the fight against Umbrella is far from over. Right, that’s why we’ve been hearing the “it’s far from over” stuff since Resident Evil Extinction (2007).

**End spoilers**

Overall, the acting is decent. Jovoich is still sharp as Alice, Li Bingbing was believable, as Alice’s lethal partner, and Michelle Rodriguez provides enjoyable performances, as Good and Evil Rain. But the rest of the cast didn’t bring anything special to the table, and Sieanna Guillory is just awful. She’s fucking terrible, and Guillory’s atrocious performance destroys the quality of this cast. 

It’s the same shit all over again. Umbrella is STILL trying to take over the world, Umbrella is trying to kill Alice, and Alice has to battle the evil corporation…..AGAIN.  Resident Evil: Retribution is an incoherent and convoluted mess, that features dull and boring action sequences. Yes, the 3D is superb, but top notch 3D effects can’t save this film. The 3D version will pull some “oooh and ahhhh” reactions out of you, but the extra cash isn’t worth it. Save your money to buy a better a movie, or use the cash to pig out at McDonlad’s. A sixth Resident Evil film is coming. The ending just gives it away, but I hope it’ll be the last Resident Evil film, because this franchise  needs to die, and  Milla Jovoich needs to move on to something else.

Final Rating: 2/10   

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