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Resident Evil: Retribution

2012 | 95 min | R | 2.39:1

Resident Evil: Retribution


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4 user reviews

Movie appeal




Theatrical release date

 14 September, 2012
 14 September, 2012

Country of origin

 United States

Technical aspects

3D (native, 96 minutes)
IMAX, 96 minutes

Box office




Overview Preview Cast & crew User reviews News Forum

Screenshots from Resident Evil: Retribution 3D Blu-ray

Resident Evil: Retribution Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, September 14, 2012

There’s hope in the opening ten minutes of “Resident Evil: Retribution” that writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson might to able to turn this tattered franchise around, taking a few moments to reconnect to the previous sequels through an introductory recap from our monotone heroine, Alice. For a brand name that’s prided itself on nonsensical scripting, it’s strange to watch this fifth installment take a breath to fit the puzzle pieces together, pretending the earlier pictures actually made sense, with “Retribution” hinting at an enormous refocus of priority on an actual plot. Sadly, it’s all a tease. A loud, explosive tease. Instead of storytelling bravery, “Retribution” shoves the series deeper into absurdity, continuing the quest of 2010’s “Resident Evil: Afterlife” to contort a once promising zombie stomp into a stilted, baffling 3D fireworks display.

Captured by the Umbrella Corporation and their head stooge, Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), Alice (Milla Jovovich) awakens inside an elaborate viral testing complex buried below the ice in Russia. Handed the means to escape by mortal enemy Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) and fellow prisoner Ada Wong (Li Bingbing), Alice faces an intricate getaway, forced to navigate her way through various simulated cities and settings, including a peaceful suburban area home to her synthetic daughter, Becky (Aryana Engineer). With The Red Queen computer system out to take down Alice for good, the superhuman warrior fights her way through hordes of monsters and machines, looking to protect Becky while hoping to snap Jill out of her Umbrella influence. Also blasting away inside the complex is a team of operatives battling to retrieve Alice for future use. With time running out, Alice is confronted by The Red Queen’s sinister reach, facing powerful clones that resemble old acquaintances such as Shade (Colin Salmon), Carlos (Oded Fehr), and Rain (Michelle Rodriguez).

With its video game plotting (with levels and bosses) and non-ending, “Retribution” doesn’t feel like a “Resident Evil” sequel, but more of a demo reel for Anderson to show off his latest interests in visual effects and slow-motion cinematography. Although the introduction of a child brings up a question of maternal responsibility within Alice’s frozen heart, the rest of the picture is more of a regression, aping the content of the original movie, which was released in 2002. Once again we have Alice fighting her way out of an elaborate underground system of doom ruled by The Red Queen, coming to terms with the life she’s lost. There’s limited exploration of new ground in Anderson’s soggy script, which is a definite surprise, considering how eagerly the helmer was pushing toward a thrilling showdown between skintight-suited franchise brutes in the closing moments of “Afterlife.” Instead of making a huge deal out of Jill’s return to the series (she was last seen in 2004’s “Apocalypse”), Anderson burns off the excitement with a ridiculous opening title sequence that showcases the hotly anticipated supertanker showdown in reverse. Considering how happily the director dishes up banal violence in the rest of “Retribution,” his mischief here is perplexing. Actually, the entire script doesn’t make sense, but why start asking questions now?

With Jill reduced to a sporadic antagonist, “Retribution” is once again devoted to Jovovich’s fight skills and ability to maintain a straight face while Anderson (her real-life husband) films everything like an old school NFL reel. There’s striking, well-lit production design work to observe, but the repetition of the action is irksome, watching Alice take on old enemies in a stylized manner we’ve already seen in four previous pictures. Protecting the movie’s box office appeal, Anderson doesn’t change anything, serving up sprinting zombies, hulking, shrouded he-beasts, and “licker” attacks, while the digital settings provide visual flavoring, keeping Alice and the gang busy in Times Square, Moscow, and Tokyo. The endless shootouts and slo-mo combat wears thin in a hurry, especially when it dawns that Anderson isn’t taking the sequel anywhere of interest. It doesn’t help to have Jovovich, Guillory, and Rodriguez in charge of the acting here. The three anti-Streeps slog through Anderson’s god-awful dialogue with a peculiar drowsiness, perhaps brought on by unrelenting greenscreen work and, well, the prospect of working on a fifth “Resident Evil” movie. The thespian challenge is long gone.

Keeping in line with the rest of the franchise, “Retribution” closes with a set-up for another sequel, this time hinting at a war film of immense scale, with the remnants of human life preparing to do battle with Umbrella’s monster hordes. Of course, it’s difficult to trust that Anderson will follow through on this intriguing promise. After botching the running start the climax of “Afterlife” provided, there’s no reason to get excited about anything this series has to offer anymore.

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Li Bingbing, Kevin Durand
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

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