Resident Evil: Retribution movie review
Forget the reset button — Resident Evil should power down
Even video games have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but the Resident Evil movie franchise seems to hit the reset button every few years, offering up gratuitous violence and Milla Jovovich’s cleavage for the camera in the hopes of getting one more stack of quarters from your pocket.
At this point, they might as well, because they’ve cloned the central heroine Alice (Jovovich) — ensuring the game-based silliness will exist for as long as the producers feel a lingering desire to dress Jovovich in a black latex battlesuit. And despite the passing of the years, the former model can still pull off the skin-tight look, as well as the martial arts stunts.
Granted, it’s all done in slow-motion these days with the help of green screens and wires, which reduces the element of showmanship, but nonetheless provides some semblance of entertainment in an otherwise empty package.
Easily the worst outing in an already mediocre movie series, Resident Evil: Retribution opens in a slightly different looking world as Alice walks through a normal suburban home getting her kid ready to go to school.
Yet, within seconds, a battle breaks out. Alice tries to save her child as the carnage begins, but she’s forced to watch her husband die before the screen turns black.
A few moments later, we see her eyes open. She’s in a lab-like cell, wearing what appears to be a linen serviette. A short time later, her Plexiglas prison goes offline, a drawer with black latex springs open and she’s back to her old self.
Or so it would seem, but as the setup explains, the old Alice had special viral abilities endowed through mutation and genetic engineering: She had been used as a guinea pig by a morally bankrupt corporation that created a special zombie virus as a weapon.
The corporation thought it had Alice under its thumb, but a mutation allowed her to defeat the zombies — which in turn threatened the ruling power. The only way they could tame Alice was to make her an ordinary human once more, and that’s where this story picks up.
Alice is just a regular mortal, and now that she’s in the corporation’s underwater headquarters, she’s going to need a lot of help getting out. Fortunately, her former enemy is now on her side and hacking into the central server in a bid to set her free and start the revolution on the surface.
Yes, it’s an awfully long setup for a movie that isn’t worth the time, but there are moments when you sense people trying to deliver more than violence and lame dialogue.
For instance, that opening sequence showing Alice getting her kid ready to go to school is later explained as a virtual scenario featuring clones of Alice and the kid. You see, the underwater facility features several “environments” — giant simulations of the world above. They were created to demonstrate the virus’s ability to destroy humanity, but if Alice is going to make it back to the real world, she will have to trace an escape route through virtual suburbia as well as virtual Moscow.
This chase story has no inherent dramatic value on its own because there’s no character development of the central heroine. Alice is Alice — a plastic action figure in sexually titillating outfits.
Her nemesis is another woman in clingy clothes (Sienna Guillory). At one time, they were best friends and allies, but the buddy was co-opted by the forces of doom. Now, she receives orders to kill Alice through a mechanical bug glued to her chest.
The scenes where Alice and her former friend face off could have been fun, but the script fails to exploit the obvious Biblical drama that stands before it, and gets lost in a maze of moronic action sequences that are neither eye-popping nor all that necessary.
Where other Resident Evil films at least offered up some interesting special effects, this one looks and feels low-budget, to the point of setting much of the drama in a world that looks exactly like our own in an obvious bid to keep production costs down.
Not even the kid plot line is given enough time or concern. Alice finds the cloned child back in the suburban environment where she’s been hiding since the opening act. When the kid sees Alice, she thinks it’s her mom.
Grafting bits and pieces of Alien into the mix, Alice decides to save the kid, even though it will slow her down.
Jovovich does her best to bring some genuine edge to a generic exercise, but without help from the outside, all her efforts are squandered in this whistling cinematic vacuum where every character feels cloned and every scrap of plot feels clichéd. At least Alice was shown an exit by a benevolent force from above.
The moviegoer will have to grope for the door alone.
CAPSULE REVIEW: Resident Evil: Retribution – The videogame franchise about a woman infected with a zombie virus scrapes the bottom of the petri dish in this low-budget and altogether boring exercise in formula. Milla Jovovich tries to bring some substance to a vacuum, but it’s sucked out faster than an eyeball in a zombie’s rotting maw. Rating: one star out of five. – Katherine Monk
1 out 5 stars
Note i haven't seen it yet. but there is a $5.00 Tuesdays where i am at i watch then it might suck.
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