Resident Evil: Retribution

“Resident Evil: Retribution” is the latest installment in the Paul W.S. Anderson / Milla Jovovich “Resident Evil” series.

I had never seen a “Resident Evil” movie prior to this one. So my review (sadly) will be unable to touch on things like continuity or consistency between films.

I can tell you however that “Resident Evil: Retribution” is a dumbly plotted, horribly acted film laden with ridiculous action sequences and ludicrous creature designs that have a tenuous connection to reality at best. By any objective qualitative measure, this movie fails. It’s poorly scripted, acted, and directed. It is literally laughably bad.

And as such, I loved every minute of it. I can’t wait for the next installment, and intend to catch up on the previous chapters ASAP.

“Resident Evil: Retribution” rolls its opening credits over a lengthy slow-motion action sequence… being played in reverse. I was instantly impressed. “Ooh. Cheesy” 😀

It only gets better from there. Jovovich breaks down the history of the franchise in a five-minute or so direct address to the audience. I appreciated that, as the intricate backstory and complex character relationships that had been established over the course of four films may have been lost on me. I wouldn’t have wanted this film to be reduced to a non-cerebral, visual experience. You know, “Huh huh. Shoooot ’em… Heh.”

Our heroine, Alice, wakes up in a testing facility, clad only in two loosely connected hand towels. If you wonder things like, “Why?”, you’re in the wrong movie. It’s ok, after being tortured briefly, she’s “broken out” by a mysterious benefactor who manages to equip her with her S&M body armor and some small arms, and away she goes! She doesn’t get far before she’s fighting mutant zombies, security forces, an evil artificial intelligence, and former allies who have betrayed her. The story of the movie basically boils down to “shoot your way out”. A true video game plot if ever I’ve heard one.

But that’s really barely the start of this thing. I had suspected we might be in for something truly special, but my hopes were realized when Alice and her companion began battle with two enormous gargantuans wielding outrageously huge hammer/axe combo weapons. When they first appeared, my reaction was something like “Ye-heh-yessss!!” I had a giddy, gleeful grin on my face the entire time they fought, especially when I saw that the creatures could get shot directly in the head multiple times with no repercussions whatsoever. There were plenty of other bizarre creatures along the way as well. The “zombies” can unhinge their jaws to attack with tentacles emanating from their mouths, there’s a bear sized creature with an enormous exposed brain that bounds about and kills people, and at one point Michelle Rodriguez injects herself with some sort of parasite that gives her super-powers that are a cross between Wolverine’s healing factor, Neo’s kung fu skills, and Blake Lively’s thespian abilities. The heroes pump endless rounds of ammunition into the limitless horde of fodder, punctuated occasionally by some hand to hand martial arts combat.

Not every movie can bring you this level of entertainment, people.

It’s ridiculous to the core, but thankfully Jovovich and Anderson know that the key to unintentional comedy is keeping a straight face. The creature designs are ludicrous, but they are actually supported by first-rate special effects. The movie is also filled with slow-motion posing and preening after kills, and a variety of drama beats that keep the “Are they serious, here?” element alive. I’m grateful. It’s just not the same without it.

The icing on this delectable cheesecake is display of bad acting the likes of which I’ve rarely seen. I feel as though I can fill 3/5ths of the “Worst Supporting Actress” category for this year’s MAJOR AWARDS from this movie alone. And Jovovich has her nomination locked tight. I mean, I’m used to maybe one, two horrendous line deliveries per film that could be considered “worst of the year”. This movie, ooohf, da! Mannn… every other sentence was an airball. It was awesome.

This film earns the split grade! If you’re watching it for a serious movie, you know, you want to see something legitimately good… I would just ask, what are you thinking? C’mon. You know what this thing is gonna be.


But if you’re looking for a cheese drenched slice of mindless entertainment (Read: Entertainment, less mind), they don’t get much better than this. I smiled the entire way through, and must have thought “Ohh ho hogh, that was awesome!” like 4, 5 times easily. 😀


62 thoughts on “Resident Evil: Retribution

  1. Ah, the battle of the Andersons (Paul W.S. here and Paul Thomas with The Master). To be honest Fogs, I never have any interest in seeing this franchise, even for laughs. Seeing Milla being all silly bad ass in the Three Musketeers was more than enough for me 🙂

    • Yeah, I didnt want to see Three Musketeers. Still dont. Seems like theyre trying to be… A crappy cgi action fest, and succeeding. I think this one was trying to be a sci fi horror actioner and failing. There’s a subtle difference, wherein lies the humore 😉

  2. Oh man, I haven’t kept up with this series at all — with both films and the games — but this sounds like a great choice for a “brew and view” night. Will keep that in mind when it hits DVD. 🙂

    Now, you mentioned that Milla wakes up with two hand towels covering her body. I swear that I have seen that before… I’m wondering if that was in the very first Resident Evil, or if it’s another movie entirely. Or was this something I daydreamed? 😛

  3. I don’t think that I could ever see another Resident Evil movie again. I had to skip this one, because these things are almost unbearable to watch. The first one was funny, but that’s not a good thing. Hopefully this truly is the last one.

    • Nope! Theyre going to have a sixth and final one, they were teasing it at the end of this one. I guess its already done well enough worldwide to justify it, too.

      Theyre terrible, but I had fun with the awfulness. I have to admit, I laughed 75% of the way through this… 😀

  4. Well after reading this, I’ve realized that Resident Evil might be my favorite “so bad it’s good” movie!! And there’s going to be sixth? Isn’t Alice tired by now? I would be…

    • Heh!

      I just called you out on that in the other thread. 😀 I should have read this first.

      Yes, there will be a sixth (and supposedly final) chapter after this. They basically set the next one up at the end of this one in a way that leaves no doubt they’ll be back.

      • I guess I would define a really bad movie as one that has terrible dialogue, acting, AND effects. And whatever the Resident Evils have lacked in depth, they sure make up for in stunts and effects (at least for me they have). No matter how hard you might think they suck, they still have some legitimately cool moments.

        Oh, and Alice is absolutely badass. Can we agree on that?

      • That’s a really good match up, you should do a post about that, see what people think:)

        I’d go with Alice, myself. I can see how being a vampire might come in handy, but I don’t want to come within a million eons/miles/galaxies of anything that faintly resembles

        … robsten…

        if I can help it!

        I hate myself for even referring to it that way, gaah…

  5. I love these films. I know they’re terrible, and while I’m watching them I know they’re terrible. But what makes me love these films, and why they are such a guilty pleasure for me (and why I will buy the complete series when next year’s last Alice film is released) is because they try. Not to be good, oh God no, but they try to be the best at doing what they do. Unlike films like House at the End of the Street or Cold Light of Day (to give recent examples), I’m never bored during a Resident Evil film. They are always stupidly brilliant and for that I love them. I’m glad you saw that as well.,

    • Yeah, exactly. Your comment hit it right on the head. They’re just… entertaining as all get out. Silly fun. I wonder – like you said – if theyre not even trying to be traditionally good! I dont know, its a good question. I think they just want to make their fans happy now with what they enjoy.

      I’ll tell you, I was seriously suprised at how much fun I had with this one. 😀

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