LAKE OCONEE —
Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
Rated R for sequences of strong violence throughout
There are many reasons to not see, or be reluctant to experience, Resident Evil: Retribution; the first being that it is based on a 1996 video game. Other reasons include; Resident Evil (2002); Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004); Resident Evil: Extinction (2007); Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010) and now Resident Evil: Retribution (2012). I love movies about zombies and the undead, but I dare say that the Resident Evil franchise has become “zombiotic.” I know I must have seen one or two Resident Evil films before, but I don’t see any in my incomplete list of films reviewed since 1997; not a single one. Perhaps I did review one and forgot to record it or perhaps out of my personal standards I refrained from wasting keystrokes.
The basic problem is the lack of plot: horrible world conglomerate seeking to take over the world invents a chemical agent that turns humans into flesh-eating zombies. Good guys who kill zombies can become bad guys because they get bitten by zombies or they can be corrupted by the corporation and then flip back to the good side. As the franchise evolved (but not by much), magic powers were thrown in and the SF techniques kicked in a bit more, but otherwise, it is the same old story. Hot women---especially in leather and evening gowns--- seem to be the brains and the most deadly---except when you need some beefcake to sweat, grunt, be crude and finally be splattered all about at potentially nodding off moments during the hour and a half you will waste your life should you get lost and stumble into the theater with this clunker on the screen.
The violence is very much video-game-gimmicky. I was thinking about the creative way HBO’s True Blood’s characters kill off the good and the bad. Each way is gruesome but creative. In this film it is just “point-blast-and-splat and on to the next run-the-maze-and-get-trapped and then: shoot ‘em and lose ‘em.
Seriously, that is it. Well, there is a slight whiff of weird junior-high erotic tumbling between women while the moronic men folk stand around gape mouthed. This scene went on forever and while I am writing this, I realized they are up in some far off frozen submarine base north of Siberia and I can’t recall while the chick-fight was going on any steam coming out of their mouths. But I do remember when the characters were below ground there was panting vapor. This is the kind of things filmmakers should not encourage; attention to what is not there rather than what is there and what is going on in the scene.
I didn’t hate the movie that much. There was a scene when femme fatale heroine wakes up (after what seems to be her death) in an ideal suburban home with handsome father and sweet hearing-impaired child played by the hearing-impaired actress Aryiana Engineer from the film Orphan. Miss Engineer, signing and speaking to our tough talking, tough killing machine not-really-her mother demonstrates that somebody slipped up and injected some real character development in this 93 minute video game that has long ago lost its energy. I actually read that the role of the little girl was to go to an average little girl but the producers actually bumped into talent when Miss Engineer showed up. Well, what a shock! Acting actually affects a film’s quality? Well, I suppose when most of your characters are developed in a computer, you might miss that little tidbit of cinema-making wisdom.
I think it is clear, by now, that I advise you to pass this one by. I see hundreds of films a year, and this isn’t the worse film ever made, but it insults my intelligence and is a disgrace to zombie film fans the world over. Those of us who respect the genre should be outraged. We should seek retribution against such resident evil.
I intend to do so, by giving this undead film one bow tie out of five. And that bow tie goes to Miss Engineer.