The rapidly deteriorating Resident Evil franchise delivers its worst film yet with Resident Evil: Retribution. In this fifth chapter, things get so sloppy, disorganized and frantic that it is as if one of the T-virus zombies bit the movie on the leg, and got it all crazy and infected.
This is the third installment directed by the much-maligned Paul W.S. Anderson, who has been involved with the franchise from the beginning in various capacities. He directed the first movie, took a couple of movies off, returned for 2010's lousy Afterlife, and then directed this monstrosity. He has the dubious distinction of having directed the best and worst films in the franchise.
Things are getting very repetitive in the land of Alice (Milla Jovovich), the superexperimental woman trying to take down the Umbrella Corporation, the evil bastards responsible for the T-virus. The T-virus is a germ-warfare weapon gone terribly wrong that turns people and animals into ravenous zombies who sometimes sprout strange shit out of their faces and totally lack table manners.
The film's opening credits involve Alice in a firefight on a big boat, and the battle is shown in reverse. I actually thought this was neat, and it made me hope I was in for a relatively good time. Unfortunately, it was the best part of the movie. It's not a good thing when your movie peaks in the first three minutes.
Alice gets her ass blown off the ship and wakes up in some sort of facility where the Umbrella Corporation basically tests zombie scenarios on giant soundstages simulating Russia, New York, Tokyo, etc. They do this for reasons I couldn't really discern or give two shits about.
Alice tries to escape with a hearing-impaired girl in tow. The girl thinks Alice is her mom, because she existed in one of the testing zones where an Alice clone was her suburban mother. The real Alice, wielding guns and wearing tight black outfits, feels a sort of obligation to the little girl, and starts taking care of her like Ripley took care of Newt in Aliens.
Actually, I just did a very blasphemous thing by comparing anything in this raw-sewage extravaganza to the mighty Aliens. I apologize to James Cameron, Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Henn for doing this. I assure you that it won't happen again.
Some of the series' prior stars return, including Michelle Rodriguez as Rain, the indistinguishable mercenary looking to kill Alice for, once again, reasons I couldn't really discern. Rain also has a clone who is a little more mild-mannered and hates guns.
Anderson seems to be a director who shoots first and thinks later. Many of his scenes contain bad dubbing and looping, which can be quite distracting. He has continuity problems throughout, and seems to think he can distract viewers from these problems by blowing things up. He's just a sloppy bastard behind the camera.
Also, things just "happen" in this movie with no real explanation or reason. When new monsters show up (no zombie dogs this time), it's as if you are hitting a new stage in a mindless video game, rather than it being something that contributes to the movie's narrative.
Jovovich, who is married to Anderson, has never been a master thespian, but she has decent action-star chops. Therefore, it's time for her to move on from this mess. Granted, Anderson and Jovovich did attempt something new with last year's The Three Musketeers fiasco. However, when you want to move on, it is not recommended to do so with a Three Musketeers reboot directed by your hack-director husband.
I saw this movie with somebody who is not only a big fan of the franchise, but also of the video games from which it came. He told me that this movie is actually faithful to many aspects of the video game itself. He also told me that the movie blew ass, and he walked to his car with his head hanging low.
Another person we watched it with called the film "the worst movie I've ever seen." I've seen Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio, so I can't make that claim. But I can tell you that this is easily one of the year's worst films—and I've officially lost faith in this franchise. It got off to a good start, but it has seen its glory days pass.