Video Game Adaptations: Resident Evil Retribution
Clever title, this. In that I want retribution on everyone involved in this atrocity. I’m going to go out on a limb here and nail my colours to the mast: Resident Evil 5 is the worst film of 2012, the worst PWSAnderson film (that’s going some), and the worst Video Game Adaptation ever made. In terms of how bad it actually is, I think it’s in the same league of iniquity that houses the likes of Sucker Punch and Alien v Predator: Rectum. The failures here are so manifold that this isn’t so much a review as a shopping list of what not to do if you want to make a film, and the series now bears no resemblance at all to Resident Evil the video game. But what’s getting me down most about it, is that 5 films in it is now obvious that nobody involved gave a fuck on any level. They just took the cash and phoned in a dispiriting, repetitive, boring half-arsed movie that could only be worse if…
Actually, scratch that, I don’t think it could be worse. Even if it had been made by blind people with no opposible thumbs, this film could not be worse. As such, it’s drawn this series out of retirement for one last Hurrah.
Contains an actress actually looking embarrassed and massive spoilers below.
Remember the end of Afterlife? Well, Alice (Milla Jovovich), Claire (Ali Larter) and Chris (thingy from Prison Break) were on a tanker facing being borded by an invasion of loyal Umbrella troops being commanded by one Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory). That they did this to Jill’s character actively angers me, but I’ll come on to this in a minute. Retribution opens with the invasion played in reverse and slow motion, because Anderson clearly thinks that’s cool, before it then plays forwards again. Yay, that’s great. Thanks for that. Claire and Chris disappear from the film at this point (probably the actors insisted on it), and Alice is captured. Incidentally, Guillory now has long blond hair, rather than Jill’s short brunette look. It’s good to know she could get her hair dyed while piloting a helicopter. Oh, and she’s also changed into a purple jumpsuit. This is actually indicative of how fucking lazy the film is, because were you to watch them back to back, and I’d rather have them smashed up and inserted into my eye cavities than do that, then it would be totally and completely jarring. It’s just so god damned slapdash.
Anyway, Alice (who remember has absolutely no superpowers whatsoever) is captured. This is Anderwank’s cue to give us the “greatest hits” of Resident Evil, otherwise known as Milla addressing the camera directly in a listless tone for about 10 minutes. She even reconfirms that she has no superpowers whatsoever, but the images they show when talking about her powers frequently come from Afterlife after she’s allegedly depowered. Again, this is hugely lazy, not to mention almost aneurysm inducingly boring.
So far, so lame. She then wakes up in a house in suburbia (eh?) which comes complete with Carlos from RE2 and Extinction as her husband and an adorable little deaf kid. Shit you not. A deaf kid. Next thing you know, she’s fighting off a home invasion from a slavering zombie horde, only to be rescued by Michelle Rodriguez’s’ Rain (eh? thought she was dead too). Eventually she succumbs to the monsters, a proto-sacrifice to save the adorable little blond moppet. And then wakes up in the middle of a cell being lamely interrogated by Jill. Next thing you know, and someone has shut down Umbrella’s computer allowing Alice to bust out into what looks like the middle of Tokyo, unfortunately about to suffer an attack from a zombie horde, thus forcing Alice to retreat into the corridor. Armed only with a spiky ball on a chain and a gun she, despite having no superpowers whatsoever, manages to slaughter about 20 zombies. I keep going on about how she has no superpowers at all because the fucking films go to such great lengths to remind us that she has no superpowers whatsoever while the evidence before our eyes is the exact fucking opposite.
Anyway, for some reason or another she’s in Umbrella’s control room and introduced to Agent Ada Wong (a highly highly embarrassed Bingbing Li) who does at least look like the character from the games. She’s, apparently, working for Wesker, who if you remember Alice killed in the last film. This makes it about 8 times and counting that she’s offed him. Anyhoo, he reveals that they’re in the Straits of Kamchatka, and exposits back and forth with Alice for ages explaining the layout of the facility they’re in. Basically, it’s set up in a series of Arenas- New York, China, Suburbia and Moscow with a helpful submarine port at the end. He’s sent in a strike team consisting of Leon (Johann Urb), Luther (Boris Kodjoe- yes, I thought he was dead too), Barry (Kevin Durand- easily the best performance in the film), and some cannon fodder.
Basically Alice and Ada have to make it to the submarine port to meet the Strike team and get rescued. Apparently, as if this pudding isn’t overegged enough, the Red Queen (evil homicidal computer from the first film, except it wasn’t evil and was in fact trying to contain the outbreak- Anderwank can’t even remember his own fucking work) has taken over and is trying to make humanity extinct. So, Alice and Ada move to Suburbia where they’re ambushed by Jill, Rain and Colin Salmon from the first film (I’ve just discovered his character is called “One” Shade. How racist is that?) all of whom were previously thought to be dead. So, there’s a bit more exposition, and it’s revealed that these are all clones. As is Alice. Not that this stops her hooking up with little deaf kid and displaying maternal instincts. Because that would be character consistency.
Jesus this film is shit.
Anyhoo, Ada sacrifices herself, for unknown reasons, and Alice and Moppet escape. Only to be met by ANOTHER Michelle Rodriguez. Alice rescues the strike team from a group of evil gun wielding zombies (don’t ask), and they make it to the surface. Where there’s a big fight between Alice and Jill and Leon and Luthor and an infected Rain. Eventually Alice twigs to remove Jill’s chest thing, and drops Rain into the Ocean. This allows Wesker to rescue them, take them to the white house, re-infect Alice and give her all her superpowers back for an Apocalyptic type ending that leads into the inevitable sequel- which should be the last one looking at it.
This isn’t a film. Well, it is obviously in the medium of cinema, but on any level it’s not constructed like a film. It is, in fact, constructed like a video game- and I don’t mean that in a good way. Anderson has basically gone out of his way to throw all logic out of the window to allow him free rein for what passes for his imagination. So, he thought it would be cool to have a zombie horde in Moscow and found a way to do it. What’s irritating, though, is that before each segment begins he stops the action, the Red Queen interjects and says something like “loading Las Plagas”. This then cues the next extended, unimaginative and monstrously repetitive actions scene.
As for the action scenes themselves, this is a good indicator of how little of a fuck was given by all involved. The monsters are all reused from the series, and thus totally BLAH as we’ve seen them all already. Furthermore, there’s no weight or dramatic tension to them. We already know that Alice is practically indestructible by this stage (despite having no superpowers whatsoever), and once we’ve got long-dead characters popping up as clones left right and center, well, who gives a fuck? The final fist-fight (yay, what a climax) is particularly bad. Anderson steals the X-Ray device I first saw in a Jet Li film (I think it’s Romeo Must Die, but I stand to be corrected on this) whereby you “see” the skeleton actually break when punched. What Anderson has forgotten is that a blow to the solar plexus that’s so hard it shatters the rib cage and stops the heart is not something you get up from to continue fighting with no obvious sign of movement being impeded. It’s just such lazy fucking hackery.
As to how its shot, well, a plague on fucking 3D. It allows Anderwank to get away with shooting a film in the style of a retard doing a painting made of poo. I can only assume that those IMDB reviews praising it for its great action all saw it at the cinema and were bedazzled by the abundance of shit flying at the screen. Which, incidentally, includes Guillory and Jovovich running like they’ve spent 4 days in the saddle. It’s not quite as ridiculously OTT as Afterlife was, which is surprising, albeit not as surprising as the fact that Afterlife, a platinum stinker of a film, is miles better than this.
Then there’s the script. It’s execrable. Horrible, actually. There’s a sheer abundance of really cheesy lines, but not good cheesy, cringeworthy cheesy. Then the characters are both ill-thought out and lazily drawn. Wesker has pulled practically a 180 from previous films, Alice is still a boring cypher, Jill is (aside from not being Jill Valentine in any way, shape or form) cursed with tedious and shameful faux-badass dialogue and worst of all it recycles whole chunks of the scripts from previous films. The Red Queen in particular is guilty of reusing her lines verbatim from the first film. This may be because the actress that played her has grown up, but really, fuck off.
Given the hideous script and disjointed concept, it’s no wonder the actors struggle. Li actually looks embarrassed on more then one occasion, Guillory is totally miscast for this role (although funnily enough not to play Jill Valentine), Rodrigues bored and confused, Jovovich bored and confused, and the dickhead playing Wesker sporting an inexplicable accent. The only positive I can say regarding the acting is that Durand blows everyone else off the screen in his supporting role, but given that we know they’re all clones, his competent performance can’t raise a glimmer of emotion at his noble sacrifice. This plagues the film, actually, because when the “good” Rain is killed, we just don’t give a fuck. We know she’s a clone, and we know she’s disposable because we’ve seen the “bad” Rain hunting Alice, Ada and the deaf kid.
Incidentally, this reminds me, why is the kid deaf? What does this actually add to proceedings? In fact, I’d say it was a mistake because only heinously mean-spirited films kill kids at the best of times, and I’ve never seen a film kill an adorable handicapped kid. Just shaving away another layer of potential danger, frankly.
Overall, Resident Evil Retribution is a fucking abysmal film. We had a debate a while back about which series was better RE or Underworld- 2 of the most rancid franchises out there. I argued for Underworld, based on that the only film from either series that I’ve actually enjoyed was Underworld 4. I’d now like to nail this down as fact, because while Underworld is pretty dreadful all in all, it simply doesn’t contain a film as inept, painful, and embarrassing as Resident Evil Retribution. Have an Orangutan of Doom and very well deserved it is too.
Resident Evil Retribution is a horrible adaptation of the RE games, in that it basically isn’t an adaptation of the property any more, but worse than that, is a film rivaling Sucker Punch for shittest effort of the last 4 years. As far as video game adaptations go, this is the only film I’ve seen that I can unequivocally say is worse than Super Mario Brothers. It’s so bad that even Uwe Boll would be embarrassed about it, and represents the crowning glory in Anderson’s continuing embarrassment of a career. And the fucker made money too.
Not to mention that the music is shit as well, by the way.