Resident Evil: Retribution DVD Review
Written by Daniel Benson
DVD released by Sony Pictures UK
Written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
2012, Region 2 (PAL), 92 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 28th January 2013
Milla Jovovich as Alice
Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine
Michelle Rodriguez as Rain
Aryana Engineer as Becky
Bingbing Li as Ada Wong
Boris Kodjoe as Luther West
Resident Evil movies, much like the games, seem to get worse with each passing instalment. While I have a no shortage of fondness for the first in the series, the subsequent sequel (Apocalypse) was so awful it turned me off the franchise immediately. Maybe the sense of popcorn action fun returned with Paul W.S. Anderson back in the director's chair for 2010's Afterlife, but by then it had blotted its copybook permanently.
Honestly, if I'd not been sent Resident Evil: Retribution for review I'd never have revisited this far too persistent series. Resident Evil, it seems, is as unwilling to die as the zombies and mutant creatures that roam Raccoon City.
Retribution's opening credits roll over a slow-motion attack on a cargo ship. Played backwards. Maybe there wasn't quite enough money in the budget for a better opener, as the same sequence plays full-speed in the right direction once Alice (Mila Jojovich) gives the audience a fourth-wall-breaking re-cap of the previous films. From that point, the format becomes almost exactly like a videogame.
Having been captured by the Umbrella Corporation, Alice wakes inside a secret test facility where the original T-Virus was developed So it could test its bio-weapon on populated areas, Umbrella has recreated major cities including Tokyo, New York and Moscow, where unlimited mutant creatures can be unleashed. It also has its own cloning plant, ensuring a perpetual supply of infectees and cannon fodder. If you were wondering why you've seen 'dead' characters from the franchise in the trailer, that's why. Someone also had the foresight to back up the Red Queen computer system to a USB stick, because she's back and in control of the whole facility.
Alice hooks up with Ada Wong, who busts into Umbrella with the help of Albert Wesker. Forget about Jill Valentine, she's been put under the control of the Red Queen by way of a red scarab necklace that no one thinks to take off her until the final scenes. Ada also has the foresight to send in an extraction team, but cleverly places them at the opposite side of the massive underground complex. So with a never-ending supply of weapons and the magic of CGI, Alice and Ada have to battle their way from one side of the facility to the other. Maybe make the rendezvous point a bit closer next time, eh Ada?
You're not going to watch a Resident Evil movie for any kind of quality entertainment, you watch them to see Mila shoot zombies in the head and kick things in the face in slow motion. On that count, it delivers big: zombies, SWAT teams, massive mutant monsters and that big thing with the tongue and its brain on the outside are all sent to be shot and kicked in the face in slow motion by Alice. So much like a videogame is Retribution, you might find your fingers twitching for the 'change weapon' button or think you've mashed the wrong bit of the keypad when the Red Queen brings the map up (yes, she actually does this, several times).
There's really not a lot more to say about a film that delivers a 90-odd minute montage of explosions, monsters, zombies and gravity-defying fight scenes. If you're ever in the need for that kind of entertainment, Resident Evil: Retribution will suit you down to the ground. If you prefer your action sci-fi a little more cerebral then skip this and watch Prometheus instead.
Video and Audio:
The video is a 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. The audio is available in English or Italian DD 5.1, with the director's commentary track in DD 2.1
- Drop (un)Dead - Creature Featurette
- Filmmakers and Cast commentaries.