September 20, 2012

Movie Review: Resident Evil - Retribution

There is something about the Resident Evil movies that I just love. I mean that with all seriousness. There are a lot of people who will mock the series, complain about how it has widely diverged from the game series, or just see them as entertaining trifles. Not me. They connect with me on some strange level. It is a franchise that never ceases to entertain me with their level of nonsense. The creative team behind these films subscribe to a bigger is better sensibility where logic has no place.

Retribution picks up where Afterlife left off. Alice and crew had freed a bunch of potential Umbrella guinea pigs, who are now milling about the ship deck. Jill Valentine comes flying in with a host of Umbrella troops. There is a big firefight (which we initially see in reverse slow motion) and Alice is captured. Now, with he previous film's cliffhanger resolved, we can move forward with this film. It is not unlike the treatment of the clones found at the end of the third movie and their subsequent use at the beginning of the fourth.

To try to explain everything would be a fool's errand, not to mention robbing you of the glory that is experiencing this utter nonsense for yourself. You have characters mysteriously alive, allegiances becoming fluid, the return of once thought dead characters, and a whole lot of CG blood and gore amidst the flashy action bits.

The story itself is simple enough, it is the surrounding details and how they fit together that is all wacky. Alice, with the assistance of Ada Wong (Bingbing Li), is freed from the clutches of the returning Red Queen. Meanwhile, a strike team featuring Luthor (Boris Kodjoe) is infiltrating the Umbrella base to help with the escape. We get a scene, much like you would early in a video game, where the place is laid out and we see where we need to go and how long we have.

Once everyone is set on where they need to go, they are set loose. They move through various locations as the Red Queen sends zombies and other creatures after our heroes, not to mention Jill Valentine and her cadre of familiar faced shock troops.

Everything builds through the violence to a conclusion which renders Retribution nothing more than a prologue for the next film. And you know what? I can't wait for it. I hope they don't make me wait too long.

I am not sure I will ever be able to adequately explain why these movies make me smile so much or why I think they are legitimately good movies. I like the stream of consciousness nature they have been taking, particularly the last two outings. They never take the time to really explain anything, they rush headlong into an action bit. Visually, the flow makes sense, it has a certain logic in the way the images flow together, just never mind he actual details of the tale.

Milla Jovovich is a wonderful, ass kicking lead. She has great presence and the skills o make her fights believable. Add in a solid supporting cast of likable folks and it is easy to get shims the project.

Paul WS Anderson is one of those directors that people love to hate, it seems. While it is true he doesn't make the most intelligent films, he has a great stylized eye and I am not ashamed to admit that I like a lot of his movies. He is also great when working in the 3D format, he knows how o use the space effectively and there is always a nice slick look.

This movie made me grin like a madman. The action is ludicrous, the story is nonsensical, and some of the acting, wow, is just awful, but in an awesome fashion.

I had a blast with this movie and I look forward to seeing it again. I am certain that you already know if you will like this movie or not. It is not the sort of movie I expect to change any minds about, and I don't really care. This is pure entertainment coated in a candy shell of CG and crazy personality.


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