Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Film Review: Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Stars: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory and Michelle Rodriguez

Even the most ardent supporter of the Resident Evil series would have to admit it’s a small miracle there have been five films made and that the productions have stretched out over a decade. As somewhat of a fan of the series, I still find little to recommend in this, the fifth instalment.

With the exception of the visual treat that is Milla Jovovich, what has kept me watching the series is the film maker’s commendable efforts to actually try and progress the foundations built in the first film; the T-Virus has spread from a single building, to the city, to the world, and humankind is now near extinction. It would have been easy to churn out four sequels without any relation to one another, but with each sequel the story gets bigger and the film making techniques deliberately mirror each other to good effect. Ultimately, the series feels like a series rather than individual episodes.

Sadly, the advent of 3D and the limited filmmaking ambition of writer/producer/director Paul W.S. Anderson have signalled the death of any foreseeable shift in the quality or visual style of the series. Retribution is the most computer game-like film of the series and this is to its detriment; the first 30 minutes are perfectly fine but the next hour is just repetition of never ending slow-mo fights, gunfire, and thumping techno music to fill the void of any tension or suspense. This fifth film’s story is actually a slap in the face to the fans as it claims ‘Evil Goes Global’ on the posters and trailers, but the action is actually confined within a giant underwater lair which houses the action; the other four at least progressed the story over 90 minutes whereas Retribution could have been told in half an hour. Also, the 3D is as meaningless as any other film’s 3D but the reduction in light was more noticeable than most I’ve seen, which didn’t do my enjoyment any favours.

In conclusion, Retribution is easily the weakest entry in the Resident Evil series, but the final sequence does promise the all-out battle and chaos on a global scale we were teased with here. With Anderson at the helm it might be another disappointment, but Retribution isn’t bad enough to put me off... and that is some kind of praise in the least.

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