Wednesday, July 05, 2017
Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
DIRECTOR: Paul W.S. Anderson
WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson
Alice awakes to find that she now has the perfect life. She has a loving husband and a beautiful daughter. A massive contrast to the last decade of her being on the run from the Umbrella Corporation and battling the undead. When all hell breaks loose, and the system shuts down, Alice discovers that she is actually trapped in one of the Umbrella Corps. hologram testing facilities. A program that was created to display what type of devastation the T-Virus can cause in major cities. Alice soon discovers this perfect life is fake and created by Umbrella which makes her seek revenge.
Resident Evil: Retribution begins straight away. The story starts off exactly where the last one had finished up. We see that Jill Valentine has now come for Alice and all of the survivors on the Alaska safe haven. The flick opens with an incredibly gorgeous sequence that plays in reverse to reveal the damage that Jill Valentine and the Red Queen have done to what we all believed could have been salvation for Alice. There are lots of casualties, and large-scale devastation seems to be the only fitting way to begin the fifth entry as the previous instalment was the most bombastic yet.
As with every single Resident Evil film, we get the introduction by Alice. You know, the computer screens showing snippets of all the scenes from previous films? She is here to keep reminding us of past events as if the fans are silly and don't remember what happened a few years ago. Still, the introduction sequence has become one of the most noticeable aspects and a staple of the series even if they have become a tiresome way to give new viewers of the series a go at catching up on a decade of movies without ever having to commit to six hours of Resident Evil.
The next scene is my favourite moment in the entire film. Alice wakes up to a perfect life. She has a husband, Carlos from Extinction and also a young daughter. She has a lovely home in the suburbs, and everything seems to have turned around for Alice. It is quite a sweet moment. We witness what could've been for Alice had she not spent the better part of a decade battling the undead and Umbrella. It is one of those rare moments that give this series this sense of emotional vulnerability. We see a life that Alice would be perfect for but know this will be absolutely shattered. It's a scene that becomes extremely sad as you want to see Alice be happy.
The entire scene ends up feeling very reminiscent of Zack Snyder's brilliant Dawn Of The Dead opening scene. We see suburbia on the brink of chaos as Alice tries to flee with her young daughter while zombies are attacking all of her neighbours. It doesn't feel like a coincidence as some of the shots feel almost identical. Right down to the set up of the camera on the car and Alice running out onto the front pathway to see the devastation that the virus has had on the neighbourhood. It's a gorgeous scene, but it's not original by any means.
Retribution compared to Afterlife is a much more enjoyable entry in the series. It feels like an improvement over the last film. It doesn't feel like its filler for the most part. It seems like Paul W.S. Anderson had a clearer vision and the 3D wasn't the big gimmick of the story this time around. The story does move from one massive action set-piece to another, but the story in between all the action feels more weighty. It feels like the stakes are once again high in Retribution. The addition of bringing all the characters back from previous films is also a nice little touch to the story.
The movie isn't without its problems, though. Retribution has several moments that deliver the cheese. There is a scene where Alice and a group of survivors are in the Russian hologram, and we have hordes of undead zombie soldiers. It wouldn't be so silly if we didn't already see these in the zombie horror comedy, Dead Snow. It feels like it's taken directly from that movie. It's made even worse when the zombies are seen driving tanks, jeeps, and motorcycles. It feels even out of place for a Resident Evil film directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and doesn't come across as scary but more unintentionally laughable.
The acting in the film is solid from all involved. Having basically the entire cast from previous films was a stroke of genius. After the 3D gimmick was used in Afterlife to success, how could you possibly top that, add the character from previous entries to bring back fans you may have lost when you got rid of previous characters that they were attached to. It was great seeing Michelle Rodriguez and Oded Fehr return. Even Colin Salmon was a neat addition. It was fun to see him not die immediately in a laser grid like he did in the first film.
Lastly, the direction from Paul W.S. Anderson is great. You can hate him all you want for the quality of his filmography, but I can't in good consciousness say that the man is a terrible filmmaker. He may not make Oscar-winning films, but he has this pretty impressive visual style and can deliver some standout action as well as give us some solid camera work. That may come down to the help of his cinematographer, though. All in all, I think this was a better-looking film than Afterlife and Apocalypse. I think using Russia, Tokyo, Alaska, and New York as settings also gave this movie some more visual flair.
DEATH TOLL: 125 (Estimated)
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Two pilots getting coin bullets to the face.
- Civilians are shot to death.
- Civilians are killed in an explosion.
- Zombies are shot.
- Someone is slashed and killed by a Licker.
- A Licker is hit by a car.
- A zombie is knocked over a banister and is impaled on a piece of wood.
- People are bitten by zombies.
- A zombie is smacked in the face with a baseball bat.
- Two executioner zombies are shot in the face and blown up.
- Nine guards are executed by being shot in the back of the head.
- Lots of zombies are shot in the head.
- Zombies are hit in the face with chains.
- A guy is sliced up the middle by a zombie with a chainsaw.
- Someone drowns by being pulled underwater by zombies.
- Lots of broken bones.
- Someone is killed by having their ribs broken and heart crushed.
- Someone is repeatedly shot in the body and face.
- People drown when a huge underwater facility floods itself.
- A Licker is blown up.
- A Licker is shot in the head.
- Zombies riding bikes are killed by being run off the road.
- A zombie is hit with a grapple arrow and pulled into a bench.
- Russian war zombies are mowed down by bullets.
- A Licker picks up a guy and bites down on his head.
- A Licker is crushed by falling debris.
Resident Evil: Retribution is an improvement over Apocalypse and Afterlife. The story in the latest film feels meatier than the previous entry, and the emotional stakes are much higher here in Retribution. The acting is solid for the most part, we have lots of enjoyable set-pieces, and the movie looks great. The film has its issues, though. We have some incredibly cheesy moments and scenes that feel directly lifted from better zombie films. Still, the movie is a fun action zombie film. Go to watch the returning characters take on Alice, and you should have a good time.