"Oh the horror...but not the good kind."
Alice once again finds herself at the mercy of the Umbrella Corporation after being captured by Jill Valentine and taken to Umbrella's underground stronghold. Wesker, whose now changed sides, enlists the aid of Ada Wong and a strike team led by Leon Kennedy to rescue Alice and destroy the facility.
What a mess. I'm a longtime fan of the RESIDENT EVIL video game franchise and I've accepted the existence of the Milla and Paul Anderson led films. The first one at least felt like a zombie/survival horror type scenario, the second had a lighter tone but the nemesis was at least fun to look at and root for. Once the third time around came we got super-Alice and things got a little weird. Anderson started dropping in subtle nuances like Wesker, Las Plagas as well as some of the familiar faces from the games like Chris Redfield and now Ada Wong, Barry Burton and Leon Kennedy. Sadly, despite these additions, this film (along with the every entry after part 2) continued to distance itself from both the source material and the genre it's known for.
Did this flick get anything right? Yes, but very little. I loved the opening--backward--sequence that gets us in the game. I loved that this film's structure actually felt like an RE title in theory as our character trudged through various levels of the Umbrella structure (a clever endeavor of sorts) and I loved seeing Leon and Ada in the mix, even if they were tremendously underused as they lingered in Alice's shadow. And alas, that's about all the praise I can give. Now for the bad.
On the one hand I wanted to appreciate the revamping of our previous cast. The recap intro to the film has gotten a fair bit of flack, but I see why they did it that way. Sure, we all know the score by now, but the recap dug up all the old faces and got them front and center in our minds in hopes that their recycled appearances wouldn't feel lazy and moot. It was a nice try, but I'm not impressed. Most of the these characters are just there, they serve no purpose whatsoever. The only one who gets any real use is Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), but even she was unnecessary (and why'd we get two of her? It was as dumb as it was pointless).
The biggest problem with this movie is that NOTHING REALLY HAPPENS. It's boring as hell, a point driven home by the fact that everyone on screen spends ninety nine percent of their time shooting at something. I'm not kidding here, the fight scenes (aside from the final one) are nothing but gun play and explosions. You'd have to shake these actors to find a pulse. There are countless small things that stand out like a sore thumb as well. What happened to Claire and Chris Redfield? What was the point of the Red Queen aside from regurgitating the same two lines over and over? Why bring Wesker into the fold if you're not going to have him fight alongside everyone else (that's something I was dying to see all movie)? Why didn't Rain shift into a monster after injecting Las Plagas--especially considering Wesker says to Alice ten minutes later "You're the only one who can bond with this virus."
RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION was a huge disappointment. Look folks, I'm a fan of mindless violence and I didn't go into this thing with a hate on or with the mindset of witnessing Oscar worthy performances, but I know a lazy, butter churned cash cow when I see one and lemme tell ya, that's what this series has become. It's been that way for awhile mind you, but this entry doesn't even try to hide it and laughs at us every agonizing step of the way. To make matters worse, it ends with a ridiculous cliffhanger that almost guarantees another installment. They should've just killed Alice and let Leon take over, but no, this is what we get instead. I did laugh when Leon puts his hand on Ada's leg near the end and she nonchalantly removes it (priceless), but the bulk of this experience was me waiting for it to end. I hate to be so critical toward a franchise I've enjoyed despite its faults, but this time there's no hiding from them and it's a damn shame because at this stage of the game, I expected more from team Anderson.