Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)

Genre: Action and Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 36 min.

Release Date: September 14th, 2012 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson Actors: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Bingbing Li, Aryana Engineer, Boris Kodjoe, Johann Urb, Robin Kasyanov, Oded Fehr, Colin Salmon, Shawn Roberts

 


 

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icking up mere seconds after the last film ended, Alice (Milla Jovovich), aboard the Arcadia ship, engages in a climactic firefight against Wesker’s (Shawn Roberts) army of black-garbed storm-troopers and a massive fleet of planes. Most of this is actually shown in reverse as an artistic decision, leading to Alice speaking directly to the audience as she sums up the major plot points of the previous four features. Umbrella Corporation’s experimental viral weaponry research is, of course, best digested by diehard fans of the series. Anyone unfamiliar with all of the other movies really has no business starting mid-story with this fourth sequel.

“I developed powers…” chronicles Alice, commenting on one of the biggest problems for this series. There are far too few explanations, for just about everything. In her recap of events, she even mentions that Wesker took away her powers – but that she managed to continue to fight anyway. As it turned out, her supernatural abilities didn’t diminish in the slightest, with the serum’s effects and her countering of it largely dismissed.

To make up for the utter lake of sensibility, the film incorporates lots of spontaneous action, sudden crashes or explosions or gunfire, and hyperactive zombies lashing out from otherwise calm environments (such as when Alice enjoys a peaceful morning with her deaf daughter and her husband, which turns out to be a dream sequence). Also without consideration for logic (even of the cartoonish, sci-fi kind), several actors from throughout the series return as clones (including Michelle Rodriguez, Oded Fehr, and Colin Salmon), solely to boost the star power and to distract from the fact that main characters from the previous episode have vanished without so much as a mention. And, comically, Alice continues to wake up naked from her various states of unconsciousness, which appear as scripting ideas solely for Jovovich to show off her fit figure despite having aged and having had children.

Meanwhile, without any care for reasonable storytelling, Alice finds herself miles under the ice at a Russian facility, awaiting a strike team to help her escape. And this operation is somehow orchestrated by Wesker and his top agent, Ada Wong (Bingbing Li) – who is coincidentally located deep underground with Alice. “The human race faces extinction,” insists Wesker, which is all it takes for him to randomly become aligned with Alice, who once again takes on the Red Queen – a computer program more evil than the invincible Agent Smith-like nemesis Alice has been combating for the last two films.

The axe-toting executioner monsters return, the Las Plagas undead make an appearance, and Wong’s costume is spot on – all components included to satisfy fans of the video game. Sadly, however, these bits fail to add anything to the amusement of the scenarios. They’re also unable to coerce believable – or merely fitting – interactions. Every subsequent scene feels as if manufactured on the spot, simply because director Paul W.S. Anderson thought it would be impressive (or derivative, considering some ideas are very much like in “Aliens,” with a daughter character played by Aryana Engineer, and cocooning conducted by mutant monstrosities). But it all unfolds as if unrelated sequences from a dozen different movies. It’s a blur of colorful destruction and never-ending ammo, running rampant across international battlegrounds (ridiculously simulated inside the arctic Hive facility), containing, quite possibly, more CG than the video games.

– Mike Massie

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