Like the zombie apocalypse, Resident Evil: Retribution is a nightmare that never seems to end.
Although the Resident Evil series of films has never stood out for its overall quality, great acting, deep characterization or compelling story, Resident Evil: Afterlife was a terrible movie that ruined anything that was special about its predecessors. Then again, the franchise has been around for years and as long as people rush to the theaters to see yet another entry, the people behind these films will continue making them and I can’t blame them. But like Afterlife, Retribution is a dreadful action that’s so bad it’s offensive.
Retribution picks up right where Afterlife left off, so let’s recap the events of the previous movie for those who haven’t been paying attention. By the way, if you haven’t watched them, skip this paragraph since I’ll be focusing on events that might be considered spoiler territory. Former head of security of Umbrella Corporation turned into heroine Alice went to what was once known as Los Angeles after the zombie outbreak and she finds a motley crew of survivors that may know a way out of this post-apocalyptic city. They heard a transmission that’s coming from a nearby ship known as Arcadia which hasn’t been affected by the zombie infection and might take them to safer lands. When the survivors finally reach Arcadia, they find Albert Wesker, they fight him and before you know it, the movie ends, leaving some loose ends.
In this film, Alice wakes up in an underground test facility from Umbrella that’s filled with ingenious contraptions and she needs to team up with her worst enemies (read: Albert Wesker and Ada Wong) to escape. On the surface, a team led by Leon S. Kennedy is trying to infiltrate the base from the outside to rescue Alice and bring down Umbrella once and for all. As you probably noticed by now, some familiar names from the games are part of this new film and that’s because the writers decided to focus on one thing and one thing only: fan service.
After the mandatory recap that has Alice speaking in front a camera to fill us in about everything that has been happening in the Resident Evil universe since the 2002 film, she finds herself in an alternate fantasy. Here we see pretty much every recognizable character that’s appeared in previous movies, including Carlos Olivera, Rain Ocampo, James Shade, Jill Valentine, Ada Wong and the list goes on and on. As you’d expect, this is an alternate story, but I won’t reveal the purposes of the fantasy. Let me just say that everything about the story seems like an excuse to bring back familiar characters. Therefore, don’t expect anything that happens to make sense and don’t expect to remember anything that happens in this movie even a few hours after watching it.
I wish that’s the only thing that could be qualify as fan service, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. All the women use dresses and tight catsuits and Alice starts the first few minutes of the film naked (which is a sort of running joke at this point.) Also, Retribution is constantly making references to events from both the games and the films and some of them are so awfully specific that I can see a lot of people left outside. The Resident Evil movies have always been extremely popular which means that a lot of movie goers haven’t seen previous films or played the games, so alienating them with these obscure references seems like a bad choice. This is the most fan service I’ve seen in a movie in a long time and for the most part, it’s terribly integrated and does both fans and newcomers a disservice.
Resident Evil Retribution has distracting 3D effects, boring action sequences, bad acting, one-dimensional characters and a story that makes no sense as the minutes go by. This is a lazy cash-in that feels forced from beginning to end.