Monday, October 01, 2012

Resident Evil: Retribution

Year: 2012
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Sienna Guillory, Boris Kodjoe, Li Bingbing, Aryana Engineer, Kevin Durand, Shawn Roberts, Johann Urb, Oded Fehr

Plot: Alice takes on the Umbrella Corporation yet again, and meets several familiar faces along the way.

Review: The Resident Evil series is kinda like the Underworld series. Both star a good looking chick that kicks ass and their husbands are usually calling the shots. While Underworld got its groove back earlier this year after the less than stellar prequel, Resident Evil is starting to feel tiresome.

It's odd actually, as I've always loved the Resident Evil films. They all may seem alike with slightly different settings, but it's always fun to watch. This time though Paul W.S. Anderson dropped the ball after giving us the very entertaining Resident Evil: Afterlife. Afterlife, as some of you may recall, was about escape and survival. Retribution however is a journey through what viewers would identify as a video game come to life. Anderson unfortunately fails to make it as entertaining as it ought to be.

There are a handful of things I like about Retribution, like an action sequence playing backwards during the opening credits, showing us what happened following the ending to Afterlife. The hand to hand fights are still cool to watch. Milla Jovovich exchanges blows with Sienna Guillory, who plays Jill Valentine at the film's climax, though it doesn't match up to Jovovich killing a group of zombies using a gun and a bicycle chain at the beginning. The part where Alice is portraying a suburban housewife is a nice touch too, but is merely to serve the subplot involving a young girl who sees Alice as her mother, which is reminiscent of Aliens, but not handled as extensively as that classic.

This is all good, but Anderson tries too hard to make this more faithful to the game. He brings forth famous characters from the game to his work, so in place of Chris and Claire Redfield (whom they didn't even bother to explain where the heck they went), we have Ada Wong, Barry Burton and Leon S. Kennedy. Anderson puts our heroes on a trip through multiple danger room type scenarios, which would have been fun, but ended up looking pretty lame. It almost feels like he has run out of ideas, as he gives the audience a near full recount of the past four instalments and brings back a few familiar things, you'll know it when you see it.

Acting wise, only Jovovich stands out as a competent performer. The others are either just decent or not really trying. Li Bingbing is awful as Ada Wong. This is what happens when you hire an actress who doesn't really understand the English that she's speaking. I'm sure Li is a good actress back home, but her phonetic English made her unbelievably wooden. Shawn Roberts brings back the Agent Smith impression as the returning Albert Wesker, and just manages to not be too annoying. The other guys look like they're here for a paycheck, while Michelle Rodriguez is a bit underutilised.

From the final shot, one can safely assume that RE6 will be the final instalment. Anderson still has time to end this thing on a high note. If not for some really cool fights and Jovovich's screen presence, I would totally hate this film. (3/5) 

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