The rapidly deteriorating Resident Evil franchise delivers its worst one yet with Resident Evil: Retribution. In this, the fifth chapter, things get so sloppy, disorganized and frantic, it’s as if one of the T-Virus zombies from the franchise bit the movie on the leg and got it all crazy and infected.
This is the third installment directed by the much-maligned Paul W.S. Anderson, who has been involved with the franchise from the beginning in various capacities. He directed the first movie, took a couple of movies off, and returned for 2010’s lousy Afterlife, and now this even worse monstrosity. He has the dubious distinction of having directed the best and worst films in the franchise.
Things are getting very repetitive in the land of Alice (Milla Jovovich), the super experimental woman trying to take down the Umbrella Corporation, the evil bastards responsible for the T-Virus. The T-Virus is a germ warfare weapon gone terribly wrong that turns people and animals into ravenous zombies who sometimes sprout strange shit out of their face and totally lack table manners.
The film’s opening credits involve Alice in a firefight on a big boat, and the battle is shown in reverse. I actually thought this was neat, and it primed me for what I thought was going to be a relatively good time. Now I know it was just a means of tacking some extra minutes on the running time. I also know that it was easily the best part of the movie. Not a good thing when your movie peaks in the first three minutes.
Alice gets her ass blown off the ship and wakes up in some sort of testing facility where the Umbrella Corporation basically tests big zombie scenarios on giant soundstages simulating Russia, New York, Tokyo, etc. They do this for reasons I couldn’t really discern or give two shits about.
Alice tries to escape the testing facility with a hearing-impaired girl in tow. The girl (Aryana Engineer) thinks Alice is her mom because she existed in one of the testing zones where an Alice clone was her suburban mother. The real Alice, wielding guns and wearing tight black outfits, feels a sort of obligation to the little girl and starts taking care of her like Ripley taking care of Newt in Aliens.
Actually, I just did a very blasphemous thing by comparing anything in this raw sewage extravaganza to the mighty Aliens. I apologize to James Cameron, Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Henn as Newt for doing this. I assure you that this won’t happen again within the confines of this article.
Some of the series’ prior stars return, like Michelle Rodriguez reprising her role as Rain, the indistinguishable mercenary looking to kill Alice for, once again, reasons I couldn’t really discern. Rain also has a clone that is a little more mild mannered and hates guns. Anderson makes sure to get this particular boring, pacifist clone out of the way good and early.
Anderson seems to be a director who shoots first and thinks later. Many of his scenes contain bad dubbing and looping, which amounts to quite the distraction. He has continuity problems throughout, and seems to think he can distract from these problems by blowing up things and distracting our attention. He’s just a sloppy bastard behind the camera.
I saw this movie with somebody who’s not only a big fan of the franchise, but the video games from which it was spawned. He told me that this movie is actually faithful to many aspects of the video game itself. He also told me that the movie blew ass and walked off to his car, head hanging low.
Another person we watched it with called the film “the worst movie I’ve ever seen.” I’ve seen Roberto Benigni’s Pinocchio, so I can’t make that claim. I can tell you that this is easily one of the year’s worst, and I’ve officially lost faith in a franchise that had a good start, but has seen its glory days pass it by.