Resident Evil: Retribution Review

resident_evil_retribution_ver4By: Bryan Montgomery
Rating: 3 out of 10

You’d think after a while they would just stop making Resident Evil films.

Resident Evil: Retribution is the newest trash heap from Columbia Pictures that attempts to revitalize a long-expired franchise by throwing special effects and gunfire in your face.

It’s long, it’s boring, it’s pointless and it’s unnecessary.

Alice awakens after losing her powers to Albert Wesker in the previous film’s events in the middle of Umbrella’s underground facility in the arctic.  Teaming up with Leon Kennedy and Barry Burton, Alice must find her way out of the facility and seek revenge against those that put her there in the first place.

A franchise that clearly peaked with the surprisingly legit Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Retribution just feels like another two-hour waste of space.  Milla Jovovich does the best that she can with the little depth that the film has to offer, but by this point if you have bought a ticket or have rented the movie, you know exactly what you are getting yourself into.

An interesting development that the film attempts to make is the return of several key characters from the first three films.  The returns of Rain and One from the original film along with Jill Valentine and Carlos Rivera from Apocalypse are a welcome change of pace, but they soon become victims of an awful script and atrocious pacing.  The movie simply goes from one generic action scene to another with no care or desire to actually advance the story.  There was potential in Retribution but it simply devolves itself into mediocrity.

One would hope that at least the action would be worthwhile since the two-hour running time is pedal to the metal for most of its running time.  Not the case.  A great deal of the action is boring, lifeless and simply hopes to jump from scene to scene with no rhyme or reason except for a high amount of expositions that help bridge the gap.  Barry Burton, Ada Wong and Leon Kennedy, three well-beloved characters from the original franchise, are massively wasted in this film.  I was even disappointed that the writers weren’t able to squeeze in a “master of unlocking” joke from Burton.

As a Resident Evil fan, however, there is a great deal to like about the direction that the franchise is taking.  At least this quickly dying franchise is smart enough to bring in characters that the fans are familiar with; bringing in Leon, Barry, Ada to compliment a franchise that has already seen Jill and Wesker is a smart move, as is bringing in some of the villains from the newer generation of Resident Evil games, such as the Las Plagas and the Majini.  However, when the film is said and done the consistency of the filmmakers to force Alice into the Resident Evil canon is the franchises’ undoing.

Resident Evil: Retribution started strong and has small glimpses of greatness, but quickly stoops to the level of its predecessors by being redundant, boring and unable to fulfill any level of promise.  A great deal of action and explosion does not make a good action movie and hopefully the failures of Retribution will show the powers that be that this franchise needs to go away quick.  Enough damage has been done to the name of the franchise, at least let Resident Evil go away with a small shred of dignity.

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