Resident Evil: Retribution (2012) * * * *
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Stars: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Michelle Rodriguez
"The Umbrella Corporation's deadly T-virus continues to ravage the Earth, transforming the global population into legions of the flesh eating Undead. The human race's last and only hope, Alice, awakens in the heart of Umbrella's most clandestine operations facility and unveils more of her mysterious past as she delves further into the complex."
Many people feel that by now, the Resident Evil franchise has run its' course and should be allowed to die a gruesome, bloody death, followed by a quick shot to the head to keep it from coming back to life as an undead reanimated mutant.
I am not one of those people.
I do not know why I like this series of movies so much, as I usually dislike horror films in general and blood and gore in specific. But I love these movies, and I suppose most of the blame belongs to Milla Jovovich, who I adore.
However much I may have loved the first few films in the series, I have to honestly admit that RE5, while not bad, was not all that it could have been. The beginning of the film recaps the story up to now quite nicely, beginning immediately where the previous film ended, and then, as so often happens, Alice wakes up in an Umbrella Corp cell, unsure of where she is or how much time has passed. She soon learns that she is deep below the surface of the ocean in a secret testing facility where the Umbrella Corporation is continuing their testing of the T-virus. A rescue team is on the way to extract her, but she must travel through the testing facility to meet them so they can escape to the surface. Umbrella Corp has perfected the cloning technology that began with Alice, and have created clones of many of the people from Alice's past, who she encounters throughout her escape, and depending on the clone's programming/brainwashing, may be helpful or trying to kill her. Add in the hundreds of infected mobs roaming the facility, and Alice has her work cut out for her.
Unfortunately, the plot is nearly non-existent. Alice has to meet the extraction team and escape - that's it. Along the way she fights mutants and infected that she's defeated before, in a variety of situations, and there is very little of anything that is new or fresh. Basically this movie is all about getting Alice out of the impossible situation that she found herself in at the end of RE4, and moving her into position for the real story and action that is to come next. The ending scenes of RE5 are truly amazing and horrifying as she learns just how close to extinction the human race has come, and I wish that most of RE5 had been cut and we had just been brought straight to the exciting part. I hope they do end up making RE6, because THAT is where the story will get good again, but with so much wasted time and space in RE5, I don't know if that will ever happen.
Most of that probably didn't make much sense unless you've already seen the movie - Sorry for that. I guess my point is that they wasted a lot of time getting her to where she needs to be next. I just hope we get to someday see what happens after she got there, as the ending of the film is a giant cliff-hanger.
As usual, the film is visually compelling and stunning for the most part, although sometimes more gory than it really needs to be. The fight scenes are pretty awesome, as is to be expected, and there are major scares around almost every corner. I really wanted to be able to give Resident Evil: Retribution five stars, but it probably deserves less than three. I'm splitting the difference at four stars due to some of the amazing visual moments in the film (watch for the underwater pyramid of undead, and the final shot in the film - both are stunning!). Basically if you are a fan of the franchise you'll probably love the movie. If you aren't already a fan you probably won't, and if you haven't seen any of the previous films then this may not be the best place to jump in for the first time.
So there's my opinion - What's yours? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of Resident Evil: Retribution, or if you are planning on seeing it.