Main cast: Milla Jovovich (Alice), Sienna Guillory (Jill Valentine), Michelle Rodriguez (Rain Ocampo), Aryana Engineer (Becky), Johann Urb (Leon S Kennedy), Kevin Durand (Barry Burton), Li Bingbing (Ada Wong), Oded Fehr (Carlos Olivera), Boris Kodjoe (Luther West), Colin Salmon (James “One” Shade), and Shawn Roberts (Albert Wesker)
Director: Paul WS Anderson
Resident Evil: Retribution is… let me count… oh yes, the fifth movie in the Resident Evil franchise, and it’s pretty amazing that these movies still get theatrical releases and make lots of money when a typical franchise would have gone straight to DVD by this point. Everything else is right on point, though. Cosmic law demands that a franchise would become incoherent and plot-free by this point, and this movie is pretty much all that in spades.
So, when the movie opens, we have the Umbrella air force, led by the brainwashed Jill Valentine, attacking Arcadia. Everyone who matters get captured, which conveniently explains the absence of Claire and Chris Redfield in this movie. Alice is captured and is forced to wear something even more skimpy than Milla Jovovich’s “patient” costume in The Fifth Element, tortured by Jill under orders from the Red Queen – who’s back for reasons never explained in this movie – until, hey, the security measures break down. She’s free!
It turns out that a mysterious ex-Umbrella operative, Ada Wong, is behind the rescue. Alice is captured in a Russian base that also serves as a cloning mart and training ground, and now, she has to find her way out. Luckily for her, a team comprising Leon S Kennedy, Luther West (how he ended up with these guys is not clearly explained as well), and friends are sent to bring her out. Unfortunately, a couple of mutant monsters are on the loose.
This movie is exactly like a video game, with Alice and entourage having to cross from one training dome to another, encountering monsters in a path that leads to mini-bosses such as the Executioner monsters. There is not much plot here either, just action sequence after action sequence, all unhindered by things such as logic or coherence. It’s all about the slow-motion stunts, somersaults, shooting, and breaking of things – lots of things!
This movie also brings back dead characters from previous movies, with them being clones this time around. So Michelle Rodriguez is back along with Colin Salmon while Oded Fehr plays a small cameo of sorts in a pointless throwaway scene of an Alice clone stuck in a zombie apocalypse scenario in a training dome. You may have seen the zombie apocalypse thing in the trailer – just know that the whole thing turns out to be pretty much a dream sequence of sorts, pointless apart from introducing a little girl, Becky, for Alice to showcase her protective instincts. Leon S Kennedy is pretty much wasted as he turns out to be another bruiser shooter guy here – Chris Redfield makes a far bigger impact in the previous movie compared to this guy here. Don’t get me started with Albert Wesker. Poor Shawn Roberts is stuck with what seems to be a hideous blond wig – it’s really, really painful to look at.
Don’t expect logic here, as things are pulled out of Paul WS Anderson’s rear end without any rhyme or reason. The biggest head scratcher would be Alice completely forgetting that pulling the chest scarab-thing from one’s chest would release that person from the Red Queen’s control. The movie also reuses some scenes from the previous movie, so yes, this one is quite a lazy effort on the movie makers’ part.
On the bright side, while the movie is a lazy plot-free effort to keep the franchise going and to give Milla Jovovich another entry in her IMDB page, most of the lead female characters kick some mean rear ends. Michelle Rodriguez is… Michelle Rodridguez, while Sienna Guillory goes all berserk and crazy here, playing her role with a relish that is quite infectious. Alice is still Alice, and Ms Jovovich always carries off that role competently. The fight scenes are rather unrealistic, mostly because it’s hard to imagine someone as slender as Ms Guillory can send another person crashing dozens of feet away with just a kick.
Still, it’s hard to recommend Resident Evil: Retribution because it’s so stupid and devoid of any interesting story. The only reason to watch this is if you, like me, have stuck with this series for so long, so hey, what’s another one and a half hour of loud dumb nonsense. Everyone else, there are other big dumb action movies out there that could tell a better story better too.