***DISCLAIMER: The plot of Resident Evil: Retribution is pretty damn ridiculous, so forgive me if I simplify or gloss over some of the finer points in this plot summary***
When last we left Alice (Milla Jovovich), she was on an aircraft carrier, about to take on the forces of the evil Umbrella Corporation.
|This picture perfectly encapsulates all Resident Evil plots|
|Stained-glass floors. Classy touch, evil corporation.|
|Note: the worst CGI in this series is for a computer-generated character|
Umbrella and the Queen have captured Alice and cloned the crap out of her and a lot of other people (many we have seen in previous Resident Evil movies), running simulation after simulation, and using Alice's unique physiology (I think) to perfect the zombie disease. Wesker wants to help Alice escape the of-course-it's-underwater Umbrella station she is in, so he sends in some help, in the form of Ada Wong (Bingbing Li). All the two of them have to do is fight their way across three city-sized zombie experiments and meet up with Wesker's extraction team.
|That sounds easy enough|
There are a lot of returning characters to Resident Evil: Retribution, but the acting is at the level the series is known for (hint: the bar is not set high). This is actually Milla Jovovich's best work in the series to date, as she not only kicks ass and looks sexy, but she also manages to deliver a few one-liners. It's not impressive work by most standards, but for an actress as wooden as Jovovich, it is worth noting. How about the rest of the cast? Well, there are some newcomers. Bingbing Li is pretty and wore some fantastically inappropriate clothes for fighting zombies, but it all of her dialogue was dubbed over in post-production. And it looked like it, too.
|An evening dress is a solid choice for outrunning zombies, right?|
|Thankfully, "posing with weapons" was|
Luckily, writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson was well aware of that fact, and made a movie that played to both the franchise's and his own strengths: CGI action sequences. If you're looking for ninety minutes of mindless action sequences, Resident Evil: Retribution may be the film for you. Anderson has a knack for making Jovovich look like a formidable action hero, and his production of action scenes is some of the smoothest in the business right now. That doesn't make up for his shortcomings as a screenwriter, but at least he's not spending a lot of time trying and failing to have these characters force emotions or a lot of hammy jokes.
|Although a "women driving" line would have been good here|
After watching this film with Danny O'D, we both reached the same conclusion with regards to Paul W.S. Anderson's talents: it's not that he's a good director or anything, but it is nice that he keeps making action movies for Milla Jovovich to be a sex object in. She's not exactly old here, but how many other 37-year old actresses have this kind of opportunity to kill fake things and be ogled by audiences in genuinely profitable films? The answer, obviously, is "not enough." Hollywood has failed to generate a new generation of dumb action heroes as Stallone and Schwarzenegger have aged into irrelevance, so why not make some scripts for aging (by Hollywood standards) beauties that may or may not have acting talent? Just retool an old Chuck Norris movie for someone like Jennifer Love-Hewitt or Jenny McCarthy and have them fight Communist zombie ninjas. How hard is that? It's obviously working for Kate Beckinsale.
|Note: I would also watch Michelle Rodriguez fighting Nazi alien terrorists|
Okay, so Resident Evil: Retribution isn't a legitimately good movie. How is it in terms of action movies, or at least the other Resident Evil movies? The action certainly looks good in Retribution, and there is an awful lot of it. But there is also a lot of stupid plotting, despite the fact that this movie feels like an hour and a half of mindless action. Did this story need to keep tabs on Leon Kennedy and the other gun-toting "characters" that were meeting up with Alice? Absolutely not. Did we need Alice to care for a child? Lord, no. How about changing the villain in the series out of absolutely nowhere? That was only slightly less stupid than filling the cast with recognizable actors who were "only" clones, and therefore perfectly expendable.
Look, the less attention you pay to this horrible excuse for a story (example: whatever happened to Ali Larter and Wentworth Miller after the last movie, anyway?), the better off you are.
|More of this, less of deaf children|