Warning: may contain plot spoilers
Resident Evil: Retribution
I have seen and heard many negative reviews about the latest instalment of the Resident Evil series of films, and that Paul W.S. Anderson has ruined the Resident Evil franchise with a lack of plot and direction but I really have to disagree with these critics.
These films were not intended for critics of film or the games. There are some flaws which could easily be pointed out but you have to realise who this was filmed for – the audience – not the critics. The plot is a bit repetitive in all honesty, but escaping from an Umbrella Lab in a certain amount of time has the originality of Resident Evil written all over it. This is also present in the games where you have a certain time limit to escape a building you are in before it explodes, adding to the nostalgia. Sometimes the characters have only two lines each but this is an action film intended to entertain, not to question. If you're a fan of the games and the films you will be able to look into the sub-text of the film, how the films have been intertwined with the games through the introduction of famous characters like Ada Wong, Leon S. Kennedy and Barry Burton. Some old favourites also re-appear which creates interesting twists, specifically with Michelle Rodriguez as Rain Ocampo and who else but Albert Wesker.
The 3D is consistently phenomenal when it has been present in the Resident Evil series, almost the best out there, beaten only in my opinion by Avatar. There were parts that appeared to leap out at you, they were above the audiences heads and admittedly I did jump once or twice. You can never fault the quality of Resident Evil in terms of cinematography and choreography; everything was sharp, crisp, vibrant and well timed. It entertained me throughout, there were also classic references to other films in the series too, including the woman from the previous film Resident Evil: Afterlife who attacks in the opening sequence.
The opening sequence for this film was one of my favourites for a long time, especially with the music composed by Tomandandy. Seeing the action unfold in reverse – although this is a classic editing technique – captured my attention entirely. When the flow of time was reset to normal, there was a different sequence edited from some of the same footage, and some from different camera angles. I was excited to see Jill Valentine, played by Sienna Guillory, return to the series from the Resident Evil 5 game with her mind-controlling scarab in action for the first time and with her machine guns blazing.
Milla Jovovich did well in this instalment, minus the start of the film. As with all the Resident Evil films, she explains what has happened so far: 'my name is Alice, I worked as a security operative for the Umbrella Corporation'. In all fairness this is primarily for new viewers, but also gives viewers a way to recognise the film. That's not to say this opening explanation wasn't creative. The sound effects which corresponded to certain footage was well done as you would have multiple sequences active at once within small areas of the screen; but it wasn't confusing, it was clear which screen we needed to concentrate on with their use of colour and sound effects. Another reference that made this a great film was that Alice used her coins that she had from the last film as ammunition for the last time against one of the Umbrella helicopters. At the end you do fear that the end has finally come for Alice due to the brutality she suffers which I won't spoil, the suspense of this part was built particularly well!
Johann Urb as Leon S. Kennedy was one of the most disappointing parts of this film for me. I was hoping for so much more than what we received. In the games Leon is confident but caring, he wouldn't suggest leaving someone behind to save himself even to complete his objective, in fact he would suggest the complete opposite! There was a huge lack of dialogue too, the first time his name is mentioned your hopes are built up, hoping that he will be kick ass but you are severely disappointed. There was no distinction between the different strands of virus, e.g. the G Virus, Uroboros and the original T Virus, which may also confuse those who aren't long-standing fans of the games. Another flaw was that I found some of the dialogue makes it seem like the characters weren't conversing, but rather making statements and talking at each other rather than to each other. The Red Queen sequences were the worst culprit of this.
This film was in my opinion brilliant, but if you have not played the games which these films are based on you will not be able to appreciate it to the level it deserves.
This film is brilliant and I can not wait for the next film in the series as was hinted by the ending.
Overall I rate this film 5/5
Review by Jade Earley
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