I wasn’t even sure what installment of the Resident Evil franchise this was. I have seen more Resident Evil movies than I should admit, which is all of them. I have no idea why I have seen all of the Resident Evil movies and I actually told my husband I would never willingly watch another one after this. I am not sure what it is about me but I tend to watch some very terrible movies. I guess I’m a horror slut and will pretty much watch anything with a haunted house or a zombie in it. The fact that I sat through Resident Evil: Retribution proves that I have a high tolerance for suck that Im not proud of.
The original Resident Evil seemed, well… original. The rest of them, not so much. Here’s what I looked up online about the Resident Evil series:
1. Resident Evil (2002) The T-Virus, or zombie-makin’ virus, escapes a top secret Umbrella Corporation facility by accident. Protagonist Alice has to escape the underground facility.
2. Resident Evil Apocalypse (2004) T-Virus reaches the outside world, Alice has to rescue a little girl from a junior high school, and Umbrella Corp. blows up Raccoon city with nukes.
3. Resident Evil Extinction (2007) Alice gets superpowers from genetically bonding with the T-Virus and a group of survivors decamp to a survivor stronghold called Arcadia.
4. Resident Evil Afterlife (2010) Alice becomes human again because of the evil machinations of Wesker, Arcadia turns out to be a trap.
5. Resident Evil Retribution (2012)
Which brings us up to date, unfortunately. The absolutely stunning Milla Jovovich, even though she looks exactly the same as she did 10 years ago when she starred in the first Resident Evil movie, could not save this epic stinkburger. Milla Jovovich truly needs to move on. This movie doesn’t do her future career in cinema any favors. The beginning is a shootout scene with Umbrella Corporation that we watch playing out backwards, meaning bullets fly back into guns and people fall back onto the great big oil tanker the battle takes place again. The backwards theme turns out to be entirely appropriate and symbolic, unfortunately. My husband said that the backwards stuff was “cheap teenage boy effects”. Uh, that pretty much sums up the whole movie.
Alice, after all her tribulations, is still being targeted by Umbrella as Baddie No. 1 after all these years, though who could possibly give a fart considering the human race is almost extinct and Umbrella itself serves no purpose as the whole world is overrun by zombies.
Which brings me to the problem of Resident Evil’s logic. If all humans are extinct, there are no people left to spend money to flow into Umbrella’s coffers, and isn’t that what corporations are all about, money? Why chase after an enemy of the corporation when the corporation has no assets or promise of assets ever again?
After a narrated recap by Alice herself, we learn Alice is trapped in an underwater facility in Siberia. One of her many clones is living out a simulation of suburbia where she sports a terrible blond wig with horrific bangs. She has a cute family and a deaf daughter. Of course not 5 seconds can go by before her idyllic lawyer foyer is being trashed by slobbering zombies. Several yawns later, the plot of Resident Evil: Retribution is spelled out by one of the characters — because surely a movie of this depth and breadth needs the monologue equivalent of Cliff Notes — by a dragon lady named Ada Wong (Li Bingbing) who has perfect asymmetrical hair and possible double eyelid surgery. The whole movie’s plot is that Alice needs to escape to the surface. That’s it. There’s no more. Sorry. There are some people who are set to rendezvous with her in Fake Moscow or thereabouts. Fake Moscow, Fake Tokyo, and Fake Suburbia USA are all installments in the underground antechamber from which Alice must escape. They are global in the way Epcot Center is global — nobody would be convinced that these sad, dippy looking scenes were actually shot at international locales, even if they actually were. The whole movie is so video tragically game-ish that the DVD should come with a joystick. I know the franchise was based on a Capcom video game, but do we really need squares around various locations and people’s heads? Glowing letters? The only thing missing was a Mana bar. Oh wait, and a plot.
Alice flits from boss battle to boss battle. The little deaf girl from the beginning scenes clings to Alice, thinking she’s mommy. At one point, the little girl asks Alice “Why are you dressed in S&M bondage wear, mommy?”. So Alice tromps through zombie Epcot Center sometimes with the little girl in tow. It’s a small world after all. Old, dead characters from the previous movies are brought back under dubious circumstances. New-old gimmicks are introduced, such as zombies with four-pronged hydras for mouths that I will call swastikapus because they look like a cross between a swastika and an octopus. Another boss, encountered in Fake Moscow, I think, has its brain outside its head, yet another tragically apt metaphor for the film.
A frenemy of Alice’s, Jill Valentine, has a spider-jewel thing between her ample bosoms that robotically controls her brain, this lady ends up being the final boss battle. Her character is so boring and her acting so wooden, they had to dress her in a skintight catsuit as they were otherwise out of options. Wesker, the evil big cheese of Umbrella Corporation, is a dime-store villain in dire need of a black mustache to twirl and a maiden to tie to some railroad tracks.
Milla, please extract yourself from these awful, plotless films, you’re far too good for this! Oh wait, I just read that she’s married to Paul W.S. Anderson, the director. The hell? Awkward…