Monday, January 14, 2013

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)

Why is her name as big as the title?
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Notable Cast: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Kevin Durand, Li Bingbing, Sienna Guillory, Johann Urb

I seriously didn't think it was possible. I mean, bottom of the barrel is supposed to be the bottom right? My disgust at the mockery that "Resident Evil: Afterlife" was towards the brilliant game series essentially knew no end, but being the franchise whore that I am I simply had to see the fifth entry of Anderson's popular series. I didn't think it was possible, but I am willing to lay my money down that "Resident Evil: Retribution" is one of Paul W.S. Anderson's worst films to date and considering some of the atrocities that grace this franchise, that says something.

Alice (Jovovich) is captured by the Umbrella Corporation after killing Wesker in the finale of the previous film. She then wakes up in yet another underground lab, where an electrical black out allows her to escape. Much to her surprise, this underground lab is a testing ground for T-Virus outbreaks with replicas of major cities as battlegrounds where they are populated with clones for testing. As it turns out, a resistance group lead by Wesker (?!?!) and Ada Wong (Bingbing) are out to break Alice out to be able to fight a final war against the outbreak and Umbrella's Red Queen.

I'll give it that Anderson does spectacle to its most ridiculous.
You know what, I know exactly what I am doing wrong with this franchise. I'm trying to use logic. Oh man, that has to be it. Logic. As I sat in complete disbelief at the absurdities of "Retribution," I realized that the only way to enjoy this film is to completely turn your brain off and enjoy it for what it is. That's hard to do though when the film doesn't even play to its own rules and consistently rips off other better films to try and accomplish "being cool." After a very long action sequence played backwards showing what happens right after the ending of "Afterlife", it then goes on a lengthy exposition about the previous films (which is uesless since the film doesn't follow any of its own rules) and then shows me the action sequence we just saw in fast forward. This kind of ideology of rehashing what we've seen is the main concept behind "Retribution" and it's damn irritating.

...and while you're at it, shoot me too. Please.
In fact, beyond the simple idea of "escaping another underground lab filled with monsters" there doesn't seem to be a goal to this film. By the end of its excruciating play time we are right back where we started with no plot or character development. And what plot "twists" there are, simply don't make sense. Why is Wesker still alive? Why is Umbrella still trying to test things? Why would you even test the T-Virus on clones in massive synthetic cities built under icebergs? That sure as hell isn't cost efficient when you can test those things ON A FUCKING COMPUTER. And why would you EVER, EVER send an agent into the middle of this wintery lab in high heels and a cocktail dress (in reference to Ada Wong)? THIS MOVIE SIMPLY DOESN'T MAKE SENSE EVER. It doesn't expand the mythos either. It just takes what few story threads there were and then decides to tangle them up, pretend some don't exist, create new ones that don't connect to others, and assumes that we are all too simple to question the fact that it doesn't make sense. It's like punishment for thoughtful film watchers. 
I appreciate the fact that they brought Michelle Rodriguez back for not one, but two completely useless throw away roles.

Then to top it off, Paul "What The Shit" Anderson decides that he needs to knock off some decent films in the process. He bastardizes the "Dawn Of The Dead" remake with his shitty attempts at destroying suburbia with a zombie outbreak, he supposedly adds in more hand to hand combat because of Thai martial arts films, and he even rips off "Aliens" by having Alice go find her fake clone daughter (whom she only met hours before) from a giant licker in vent shafts who has cocooned her in gooey material. Where the hell did that come from? It doesn't fit into the main concept of the franchise and it feels tacked on anyway. It's not an homage when its blatantly a rip off. 

I guess if you are excited about ridiculous amounts of CGI things flying at you, soulless action sequences that slather on style for the sake of "being cool", or Milla Jovovich in tight leather combat outfits with no pockets to carry "3D map sunglasses with escape routes" (and are those wedges? Who designs a combat suit with wedges?) then perhaps "Resident Evil: Retribution" is for you. As for myself, I would rather go watch that abysmal "Total Recall" remake again then even think about this film. Now that I think about it, I might have already had my brain washed...I don't remember there being any dialogue in this film to go with the horrendous acting...

 Written By Matt Reifschneider

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