Film Review: Resident Evil: Retribution
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Li Bingbing, Johann Urb, Boris Kodjoe, Kevin Durand, Oded Fehr, Shawn Roberts
Alice continues her fight against the Umbrella Corporation and the undead, squaring off against foes both new and old in this fifth installment of the Resident Evil film franchise.
It’s no secret that the Resident Evil series is one of the worst film franchises in the history of cinema. They’ve progressively gotten bigger and stupider, but they also have somewhat remained entertaining at the very least — as evidenced by the fact that this is now the fifth entry into the series. Still, with this latest installment from director Paul W.S. Anderson, there really wasn’t much to hope for, especially with how I initially reacted to the film’s first trailer.
Now Anderson is quite the odd case in that he continues to make horrid movies — with his best three being Mortal Kombat, Event Horizon and Death Race, and that really isn’t saying much about his ability — yet people still flock to them and they do end up making money, with the odd exception of last fall’s The Three Musketeers. Knowing all that, I still wasn’t prepared for just how terrible Retribution was going to be.
This is just one god awful film. It’s nowhere near the level of terrible that I found Project X to be, but it’s on that level where even though I’m laughing at how terrible it is, it isn’t a case of “it’s so bad, it’s good.” It’s just plain bad and it’s laughable at how serious Anderson thinks he’s trying to be with this series. To be on that level of “it’s so bad, it’s good,” there has to be some sense of fun in a film, but there clearly isn’t any here at all. I thought the additions of Boris Kodjoe and Kevin Durand would have done so, but they are completely irrelevant characters and are only there as a way to slap on characters from the games, along with the various others.
I mean, it is incredibly insulting that there is even a writing credit to the film, and that it is credited to the director, Paul W.S. Anderson. He simply cannot write — that is the truth. All he has done throughout this entire series is slap together imagery and scenes without any sense of cohesiveness to them. This is about as bad as last year’s Sucker Punch in terms of this movie being nothing more than a string of action set pieces following around a female lead in which absolutely nothing gets resolved. These characters aren’t compelling because they haven’t even been developed; they just continue to meander through the redundant storyline of surviving against the mass hordes of the undead. There is literally no growth for any of them, including Alice played by Anderson’s wife, Milla Jovovich.
Jojovich is just a terrible actress (in my opinion). From her first film in Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element, I have not liked her at all. I get it that she is one of the few female action stars in cinema today, but she her acting is terrible. (And the way they still try to convince audiences that these movies are serious, with serious storylines, is just a joke.)
For someone that started off her career as a model, it’s amazing how Jovovich really lacks a range of facial expressions in this film. I know actresses like Kristen Stewart get ragged on for a lack of range in facial expressions, but you know Jovovich is just another actress that just keeps repeating the same face over and over. It is just a pain to see her on screen in a film franchise that is just progressively getting worse.
How about the rest of the cast? They are all just utterly forgettable with a minor exception of Michelle Rodriguez, who returns as Rain. She brings some life to the film with her roles, but she isn’t enough to make this film even a little bit more exciting than it was.
It’s kinda tough to even say who the real antagonist of the movie is? Was it the Red Queen? Was it Sienna Guillory? Or was it Rain? The movie never stayed consistent with a lead villain, and that was the biggest problem for me, especially with the conclusion to the film.
The conclusion itself is one of the biggest and idiotic cliffhangers of all-time, and the build up towards it leaves the movie feeling like it was only half-done, that there was only half-effort being put into it and that it wasn’t whole or complete.
The one thing I can give credit to Anderson for is that he does know how to direct action sequences. There are moments in the film that are really cool, but my lack of care for the film really leaves these sequences feeling hollow and meaningless in the greater scheme of things.
Also, despite enjoying a few of these sequences, I also have a minor gripe with them all, which is the overuse of slow motion. If you are the type that finds Zack Snyder to be an excessive user of slow mo, then you’ll hate Anderson with this movie as well. He just overuses it to the point that it is just annoying.
Throw in the overbearing music and the imagery of the fights become ineffective in engaging an audience member.
There really isn’t any redeeming factor to this movie at all. It is a horrid film and will probably end up on my list as one of the five worst films of 2012. I’d like to say there might be a reason to watch this in theaters, but there really isn’t. It is torture to sit through and really just leaves you wondering how this even got made. It is a joke of a film and an insult to fans of the video games and that’s all that really needs to be said.
GO Rating: 1/5