Movie Review: “Resident Evil: Retribution”- Evil certainly went global, but at what cost

Written by Ethan Butler September 24, 2012

When it comes to the “Resident Evil” franchise it helps to go in knowing that you are not about to see something close to a Oscar caliber film; going in with this mindset is one of the reasons I enjoyed this movie so much. It should go without saying that by traditional standards it is a pretty bad movie, but it is still an insanely enjoyable action film with some pretty kick-ass action sequences, and an ending that promises that the series most insane moments are still yet to come. Since I have been, and still am, a big fan of the series, I knew going in that I was going to love it, and this is a fact I am not ashamed of at all. Sometimes it is nice to go into a movie, turn off your brain and just enjoy the insanity happening on screen. Also, it’s always good to support Canadian cinema. Now the plot (what little of one there is) finds Alice (Milla Jovovich) captured and detained in Umbrella’s uber secretive and fortified base, and having to attempt to escape with the help of characters new and old whilst fighting off hoards of nightmarish creatures.

A Fanboys Wet Dream

From what I gather from my own experience watching the movie, and from other like me who really enjoyed it as well, this movie kicked some serious ass. To be fair, there is a great deal wrong with it but there is also some good old fashioned awesomeness as well. The introduction of such fan favourite characters like Leon, Barry, and Ada Wong was very exciting, but sadly they were all mostly very underused, and the acting was pretty awful as well. One thing that can be said for “Resident Evil” is that it does play host to some very strong lead female characters. Alice continues to be super bad-ass, and might I add pretty easy on the eyes, and the supporting ladies in this film are often far more strong than the males, something which is sadly uncommon. It is easy to say that this, the fifth movie in the franchise is the most like a  video game as it has various “levels” and “Bosses” that our heroes must face to (for lack of a better phrase) “beat the game”. This style is what in my opinion makes this possibly the best movie of the series.

Holy Action Sequences Batman

Say what you will about the directing skills of the best director with the last name Anderson but the man certainly does know how to shoot really cool action. This film features possibly the craziest action scenes of the series, with our heroes battling everything from creepy mutant zombies, to giant mutant monsters, to zombie Russians through the multiple locations that they traverse. The fights were stylishly shot, and brutally fought, with plenty of bone crunching action to please the action junkie with us all. The action may have been crazy cool, most of everything else was how do I put this… was worse than a diaper filled with the remnants of Indian food.

Acting and Writing… Well About That

Now it should come as no surprise to anybody that most of the actors in this film are not Daniel Day-Lewis, in fact I actually feel bad naming him here on account of this fact, but I had a point to make. The child actor in particular actually made it hard to watch what was supposed to be a somewhat important albiet brief scene, and let’s just say that few others fared much better, if only Kevin Durand was given more to do, but I digress. Part of the reason that the acting was so-so does to a degree does fall onto the action scenes excluded and the poor script by director Paul W.S. Anderson. The dialogue was cheesy, silly, and altogether poorly written. Though because of the fact that this is a “Resident Evil” movie most of what I just said means didily squat to fans like myself, but being a critic I had to bring it up. All that matters to the fans is that it looked cool, and the action was crazy awesome.

The Eternal Dilemma

When looking at this film as both a longtime fan of the series and a critic, I have to face a great internal battle. As a fan I loved every minute of this cheesy action gore fest, but as a critic I have to acknowledge that in reality it is pretty terrible. While the action was awesome, everything else was pretty lacking; actors and characters I was hoping would be awesome were grossly underused, and the writing was overall terrible and the movie suffered for it, but did I have fun?… yes, YES I did. Sometimes a bad movie is just what you need, and I always like to support Canadian cinema.

My Rating: As a critic- 4/10, As a Fan- 8/10

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