Resident Evil: Retribution Review

 

Girl power

The story of ‘Retribution’ continues where it left off in the last movie, ‘After Life’. Alice continues her perpetual fight against the Umbrella Corporation and fights her way through hordes and hordes of enemies. If you haven’t been following the movie series, the Resident Evil movies are only loosely based on the video games. While they have elements from the video games, the storyline does not follow the video games’ storyline tightly. In ‘Retribution’, the stage has been moved back into the Umbrella Corporation facilities. It strongly resonates the formula applied in the first movie where a group of people were trying to get out of the facility alive. The notorious Red Queen, in the holographic image of a little girl is back, and so is her catch phrase: ‘You are all going to die down here’.

As with the games, both ‘Retribution’ and ‘After Life’ have moved on from the slow moving virus infected zombies to the Las Plagas parasite hosts in Resident Evil 4 and the Uroboros in Resident Evil 5. As you would expect, they are deadlier and faster. Alice, now aided by the former top Umbrella agent Ada Wong (played by the well know Chinese actress Li Bingbing) must fight their way through the facility to meet up with Leon S Kennedy and Barry Burton before they enter the facility itself. The Red Queen is determined to control the contamination once again by, surprisingly, unleashing all the experimental samples (including the cool Executioner) against these intruders. On top of that, with no explanation, Jill Valentine is under the control of the Red Queen and has now became one of the hunters. To further complicate things, some of Alice’s ex-allies, including Carlos and Rain are back, but this time also on the side of the Red Queen. As complicated as this sounded, it is not. ‘Resident Evil: Retribution’ is just another action packed running, shooting and fighting movie that keeps you entertained for 90 minutes.

More girl power

The director, Paul W S Anderson certainly did a lot to appease fans of the franchise in this movie. The same attempt in ‘Afterlife’ earned him a lot of kudos, so it is no surprise that the same technique was applied in ‘Retribution’ again. This is particularly obvious with scenes for the newly introduced Ada Wong, in which she kicks a whole lot of buttocks Resident Evil 4 style. Choices of casting for Ada Wong and Leon S Kennedy (Johann Urb) were pretty good in terms of look alike,as both actors resonated with these characters strongly. However unfortunately, the corniness of these characters was also translated into the movie, making them some of the worst acts in the series’ history. Li Bingbing performance as Ada Wong was very wooden and overly serious. Ada Wong was cold, deadly but flirtatious in the game and this is why a lot of people liked this character. Li’s version was just dead serious with not much movement on her face. As for Johann Urb’s Leon S Kennedy, it feels like he didn’t understand Leon the character and his relationship with Ada Wong. Certain lines were delivered just in the context of the scene but did not hint any existence of a back-story between him and Ada Wong. I wonder whether they actually have played the games to understand the characters before going on set. Sienna Guillory’s Jill Valentine is still a pleasure to watch. She represents one of the best interpretations of a video game character in movies. However it is a pity that Chris and Claire Redfield disappear completely in this movie. They were very good in ‘Afterlife’, especially Chris Redfield.

Cheap scares won't work on us Red Queen!

‘Retribution’ is no doubt a fan service to both the video games and the followers of the movie franchise. However at 90 minutes short, it seemed that Paul W S Anderson was trying to achieve too much without a well-structured framework to sustain the story. While running and trying to survive in the Umbrella Corporation facility worked in the first movie as an introduction, repeating the same formula in the fifth movie left the thirst of the audience unquenched in terms of story development. This is especially true when the story had expanded so much in ‘Afterlife’. From the ending of ‘Retribution’ we know that the franchise will probably go on as long as there is funding, but whether the next movie can tie up a lot of loose ends and fill up all the plot holes will be critical for its success. At this point, ‘Retribution’ is just second to the publicly panned ‘Extinction’.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

About the Author

Level up freak. Level 99 is a norm not a goal. Love my JRPGs and RPGs in general. Also love my platformers and puzzle games. Was addicted to Zoo Keeper, Magnetica, Animal Crossing, Disgaea DS, Dragon Quest IX and White Knight Chronicles. Prefer to spend my time away from gaming as an actor although do have a full time job that keeps my mortgage going. But generally love anything creative. And if anyone tells you gaming is a waste of time, tell them you have great eye, hand and brain coordinations that they will never have!