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Movie Review: Resident Evil: Retribution

Posted October 1, 2012 by Paul Fennessy in 2012
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Ramp Rating


Release Date: 28th of September 2012


Decent action scenes, the 3D works surprisingly well and some cinema-goers may be charmed by its style-over-substance trashiness.


Emotionally hollow, features weak performances and dialogue, and is formulaic to the point of the tedium.

Alice and co are back for more Matrix-aping action scenes, amid yet another all-too-familiar bid to save humanity from evil forces.

by Paul Fennessy
Full Article

There are certain movies that audiences and critics disagree markedly on, and the Resident Evil film series provides an archetypal case in point. Largely derided by the latter on a routine basis, the series has still managed to enjoy enough success to allow for five films (based on the equally popular video game franchise) and counting.

Unsurprisingly, in light of the previous films’ success, Resident Evil: Retribution seldom attempts to deviate from the formula that has already brought the series so much not-quite-hard-earned cash. As was the case with the previous instalments, it stars Milla Jovovich as Alice – the feisty heroine of whom humanity largely depends on for its ultimate survival, amid a deluge of zombies and other evil forces intent on orchestrating its destruction.

This time around, Alice finds herself trapped in a confined facility, which she has been placed in by the dastardly Umbrella Corporation. In order to escape and save the human race from the T-virus threatening to render all life extinct, she must first overcome the Red Queen – a highly sophisticated supercomputer determined to sabotage her exit plans.

If the plot sounds threadbare, it’s because it is. However, such drawbacks haven’t put audiences off flocking to the films in the past, so director Paul WS Anderson can merely argue that he is catering to the masses by prioritising relentless action over story and emotional complexity. Consequently, the dialogue is decidedly unconvincing and cliche-ridden – viruses tend to ‘spread like wildfire’, for instance. And yet the script is at least semi-competently written. In fact, it seems also Pulitzer-worthy when compared with some of the jaw-dropping and invariably monosyllabic clangers which featured in the first film’s screenplay.

Moreover, when the characters are not spouting cliches, they’re joylessly reciting painfully lugubrious technical mumbo-jumbo. It’s not even a case of the film only making sense when minute details of the previous instalments are recalled – I watched each previous series entry over the past week, prior to seeing Retribution, and still the plot seemed confusing and half-baked at the best of times.

On the plus side, there are some nice visuals (heightened by the 3D effects) and occasional scares that are conveyed effectively, while the choreography and general execution of the action scenes is hard to fault.  It is these instances where Jovovich appears to be most adept, yet in contrast, she is plainly out of her comfort zone during the normal everyday moments shown at the start of the film – or basically any instance when required to demonstrate something other than affectless roboticism, which isn’t very often to be fair.

Therefore, will Resident Evil Retribution belatedly interest viewers who were initially dismissive of the series? It’s unlikely. Are fans of the previous movies going to be disappointed with this effort? Not a chance.

About the Author

Paul Fennessy

Paul likes films, books, music and artsy stuff in general. He also likes writing about those subjects, preferably typing at 100 miles an hour while simultaneously slurping coffee and checking his Twitter stream.

  • http://www.lisamcinerney.com Lisa McInerney

    Does anyone else think that the plot really, really strongly resembles that of Portal?

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