Milla Jovovich in a sexy suit. That’s the only plausible reason to go see Resident Evil: Retribution in theaters. Am I right? Well, if you do love awesome CGI combined with an incredibly stupid storyline populated by characters having the potential to be stunning but are not portrayed in such way, there are indeed more reasons to check out Paul W.S. Anderson’s latest production. Just for the sheer fun of it. But I’m warning you: some may even consider ‘checking it out’ as a waste of time, like moi. It’s your choice in the end that counts.
The Resident Evil franchise started off better than expected. Ten years ago, Resident Evil rocked the box office records as it had become extremely popular among teenagers. The movie was based on the successful Capcom game in which it was Alice’s job (Jovovich) to fight against many zombies and horrible looking mutants. In the movies, Alice desires to takedown the Umbrella corporation. This is the evil corporation responsible for the near apocalyptic world Alice is living in.
For the ones who don’t know: what makes Alice special? Simply put, her DNA is able to fight against the T-virus or else we would have gotten zombie Alice.
Resident Evil: Retribution starts directly after the previous movie, RE: Afterlife (2010). Alice and her friends are on the ship (called the Arcadia) and out of nowhere Umbrella forces have arrived in high-tech helicopters to kill them all. Seconds later she wakes up as a housewife in one of those typical suburbs. Obviously, nothing is real. Alice soon realizes she has been captured by Umbrella and has been taken to Umbrella’s secret HQ. From there on she needs to find a way out: she also discovers that in order to break out she must walk through all of Umbrella testing facilities. These are computer simulated cities (like Tokyo or Moscow) terrorized by various plagues, most noticeably the T-virus.
Alice is not alone. She is joined by the Asian beauty Ada Wong, chased by Michelle Rodriguez’ Rain Ocampo and helped by the muscular Luther West. All these characters are fun to include and their contribution to the storyline is essential. Unfortunately, that’s it. They haven’t been given the chance to shine as in some meaningful elaboration into their character psyche (i.e. their underlying purpose in the story). Simple and too safe.
What is noticeable is that the movie starts with a brief recap of the events that had taken place in the previous parts. Although this has been done somewhat differently, Anderson’s method is cheap by all means. It is just copy and pasting the best scenes from previous parts and there you got the first 10 minutes to your movie. Also, I must mention how the scenes taking place in Tokyo are very similar to the scenes we saw in part 4 of the franchise. Of course, someone watching for the first time would not notice this. But I did and it did not feel all right at all.
Anderson’s copy pasting skills go even to greater lengths as he takes scenes from Zack Snyders’ Dawn of the Dead (2004). These scenes include a zombie outbreak in the suburbs of the city.
To be honest with you, I have never understood the logic of the Resident Evil movies until Afterlife came out in 2010. That was just pure action and survival. The CGI was phenomenal in supporting the original action scenes. On the contrary, in Retribution even these kind of scenes are missing. I think Anderson would have done a whole lot better if he’d just written an original story. His lack of ideas makes Resident Evil: Afterlife boring to watch. And I’m not asking much here: no underlying symbolic storyline is needed to make a great success of the movie – this had been already proved by the likable previous parts.