REVIEW: "Resident Evil: Retribution"
Hopefully the next one will be the last.
As with many sequels that try to outdo their predecessor (‘Evil Goes Global’), ‘Resident Evil: Retribution’ tries to go back to the basics as well, bringing back old characters like One (Colin Salmon) and using the same time-based survival plot.
There is no emphasis on surviving the zombies, however, as they get ignored throughout this one. This is a film based on Alice (Milla Jovovich) and her war with the evil Umbrella Corporation. It’s her emotions that take a front seat this time, driving her quest to rescue her clone daughter instead of her friends dying behind her. This sub-plot is tiresome, and seems out-of-place and trivial, even if Jovovich is a mom now. However, the background information that we get regarding Umbrella’s quest for world arms control is relatively interesting and helps provide a footing for the viewer who’s been kept in the dark for the first quarter.
While all this is going on, the movie does keep you to your seat. The introductory scene that provides the back story is well balanced with an impressive, well shot, reverse-motion scene tying Retribution to the last movie. But after this, a lot of the thrills come from uncertainty. The plot is really vague in the beginning, and there is a point when you even question the chronology of this film within the series. What better way to put the viewer in Alice’s shoes. Twists are also very generously utilised, much like in the previous films. One moment Alice is killed by her dream husband, the next she is imprisoned by Umbrella, the next she is freed by her arch-enemy, then she is attacked by all her friends, and then she finds out they were clones. The twists are good at first, but fail to keep pace when the viewer gets used to them.
The action choreography, with more creativity and detail, has definitely seen an improvement and appears realistic in contrast to the more recent Resident Evil films. There are even boss battles in this one.
And then there is the melodrama. Expect scenes like Alice saying, “I love you”, in sign language, to her dream/clone daughter and then sacrificing herself. The emotion’s there just for the sake of being there. But it’s a bit more complex, like when Alice leaves her partner Ada (Bingbing Li) to die – more than once. Where’s the emotion there?
But Jovovich is as awesome as ever, she even has this new scared-look-face thing going on. Ada Wong is a cool addition. And it’s cool to see Jill Valentine back, played by Sienna Guillory, even if she does seem a bit frail and insignificant here. However, It’s not so nice to see Michelle Rodriguez turned into an expendable character in yet another movie. The convenient common enemy, the Red Queen, also seems a tad ignored.
But what more can you expect from a film based on a video game? It’s not perfect, but it does a great job as an action movie that keeps you on your seat. You should definitely go see it in the theatre, because you’ll probably only see it once.