<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. Starring Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Bingbing Li, Michelle Rodgriguez.
You may not have watched all the Resident Evil films, and that’s okay. You haven’t missed much. In this fifth installment of a franchise clearly past its sell-by date, you get a film that is so mind-numbingly barren that you don’t even wonder why it didn’t go straight to DVD; it should have gone straight to the bin!
The only thing I liked about Resident Evil: Retribution was the start where they deftly do a slo-mo rewind of the finale of the last film (Resident Evil: Afterlife) and through a series of floating windows (which does look nice in 3D) tell you about how the Umbrella Corporation developed a bio-weapon that turns people into zombies and how the earth has been battling this ever since. After that, the movie disintegrates into a longwinded chase through a subterranean base where mock zombie sequences in computer generated cities are constructed and our protagonist Project Alice (Mila Jovovich) has to escape from here.
And that’s about it really. A strange band of disposable ‘rescuers’ is dispatched by… well you don’t really know or care by whom, and they do a lousy job rescuing Alice who is being assisted by an Asian assassin (Bingbing Li) in a red gown with a slit till her crotch. Alice also finds herself a deaf kid to be her adopted daughter. The deaf kid signs but can speak exceptionally well making you wonder why on earth she’s signing at all if she can speak to people who don’t understand sign language!
Zombies attack, Alice’s old pal-turned-foe Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) is after her and they all act so horribly you wonder if they’re not shooting all this in their lunch break from their day jobs. Sure the stunts and action are okay, the 3D is passable and the music is amped up to compensate for a lack of script, acting, direction, plot, interest value but you will wonder what the hell is going on here. A total lack of interest on everyones part seems to be the order of the day. Paul W.S. Anderson seems to be churning out these films for his long-time wife Milla Jovovich to have something to do or fulfill their leather/bondage fantasies.
Sony’s similar franchise Underworld is so much better than Resident Evil (based on a video game, so really, can you expect much…). Also, Sony seems to have borrowed a bit from the film Aliens. The whole adopting this abandoned girl and then running off to save her from an ‘alien’ zombie creature who has captured her and wrapped her up in a gel-like shell ala Aliens. Clear case of copycat here.
Lots of plot inconsistencies and unexplainable events abound: like if they could blow up the underground base to save Alice then why hadn’t they done it for so many years before when Alice wasn’t even captured by them?
I don’t know who is pumping in money into this long dead franchise but they need to stop now. Give it to Kate Beckinsale and make some more Underworld (read the review of Underworld: Awakening here) films if you like.