Before embarking at my look at the fifth of the Resident Evil film franchise, I might just reflect on the four movies before it. I should note that I’m only a passive fan of the video game series, so it came as a surprise to even myself that I soon generated a love for the films…
Resident Evil (2002) introduces Milla Jovovich as Alice, supported by Michelle Rodriguez and James Purefoy. A high-intense action film that has many moments of claustiphobia. I actually felt really uncomfortable viewing this, especially with the sadistic way that many characters met their demise. However, by the finale, the movie proved its’ worth and made me wanting more. 8 out of 10.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) was a very loud experience and my least favoured of all the films of this franchise. There is lots that don’t make sense and much of the pacing of the movie is uneven. It does however introduce two important characters, Carlos Olivera (played by the wonderful Oded Fehr) and Jill Valentine (the lovely Sienna Guillory). Also, the scene inside the church is among my favourites from all these films. My feeling is this movie was rushed to production and could have done with a bit more pre-production time. 6 out of 10.
Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) a change of scenery and a distinct different visual film to the two previous films, mostly set during daylight hours in a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas. More significant characters are introduced, Claire Redfield (portrayed by the versatile Ali Larter) and Albert Wesker. 7 out of 10.
Resident Evil: Afterlife [in 3D] (2010) is one of the best 3D experiences I’ve had inside a cinema. Immediately continuing on from the events of Extinction, the film moves from Alaska to Los Angeles before finally settling upon a floating ship off the Californian coast. Introducing more significant characters, Chris Redfield and Luther West. The opening scene is stunning, making superb use of the 3D mechanics. The film is brilliantly paced and the best ensemble group of actors/characters since the first movie. 7.5 out of 10.
So, that brings me to Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), watched in 3D.
Opening with the conclusion to the abrupt-ended finale of the previous film, the viewer is soon after given a re-cap of the entire franchise story. Two major characters of Resident Evil lore are soon after introduced, Ada Wong and Leon Kennedy. Joining them is a slew of other returning characters, highlighted by Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine and we even have the re-appearance of actors Oded Fehr and Michelle Rodriguez. Sadly, no return of the Redfield siblings, though.
Plot-wise, this is probably the most video-game-ish of all the films, but this presents some problems for the viewer, as it creates an immidiate detachment to much of what is going on. However, mid-way through the movie, thanks mostly to Milla Jovovich’s commitment to this franchise, the plot finds some heart and enough motivation to begin caring.
Identical to all films of this franchise, the movie ends with enough closure but is also open-ended to acknowledge that another chapter will soon be enjoyed in the near-future. Visually exciting, with the action scenes particularlly well executed, the movie is slightly let-down by a plot that could easily confuse anyone thinking too hard and offers little surprises.
Nonetheless, Resident Evil: Retribution works adequately as a standalone experience, yet greatly favours fans with knowledge of the franchise. For those that wish to get the most that the film has to offer, I also highly recommend viewing in 3D.
Score: 7 out of 10.