Well, they had a chance to do all that again in Resident Evil: Retribution but this time, not even Milla could save this film from being dead on arrival. Not even Milla had that sparkle. This movie felt laborious and contrived. Uninspired is the best word that comes to mind. There was just nothing good going for this film.
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Films like the Resident Evil franchise is all about fun. I'll be the first to say that to look for story in popcorn flicks is an exercise in futility. They exist purely to entertain. But this film needed something that resembles a plot. Basically, the whole movie was for Milla's character Alice, now a prisoner of the evil Umbrella Corporation, to get from point A to point B and escape. That's it. Throughout the film, Alice does not have any emotional or personal struggle. She just has to put one foot in front of the other and get there.
Fine, so they put a huge amount of zombies and other more menacing bio-hazards in her way but at no point in time do you ever feel that she's in danger. The action sequences are disjointed. The choreography looks like it would have been great, but the camerawork was lazy. There were either too many effects on some and the others relied too much on the posing. For the first time, Milla Jovovich didn't give any tension to any of her movements. They looked beautiful but they had no power. So there was no energy.
They brought back Sienna Guillory to play Jill Valentine, and I first thought she was bad in the second film. To my dismay, she got worse. They brought back Michelle Rodriguez and Oded Fehr from the first Resident Evil and then Boris Kodjoe (who plays Luther West) from Resident Evil: Afterlife but hardly used them to their full potential. They just fired a lot of guns. They brought in Kevin Durand but just had him shooting weapons. He's always fun to watch but they didn't give him anything to do.
And then they also introduced Ada Wong (played by Bingbing Li) who has snuck into the heart of the Umbrella Corporation to rescue Alice, except she's wearing a skin-tight red dress with a huge slit to help expose her leg. Why she would wear this outfit on a rescue operation, I have no idea. Maybe that's how her character appeared on the video game the movie is based on, but it stuck out like a super sore thumb. Worse, Li is not a particularly exciting actress and she, too, had barely anything to do.
And what happened to Claire from Resident Evil: Extinction and Resident Evil: Afterlife? She was an awesome character who matched Milla Jovovich in bad-assery and she wasn't around. Halfway through the film, I had given up entirely and just felt sad that a franchise that has given me so much fun in the past has been reduced to this.
You're probably wondering why I care so much and why I was expecting the world out of a movie called Resident Evil: Retribution, a film based on a video game. It's because I thought the first movie was successful in that I had a lot of fun with it. The second was bad but the third installment, Resident Evil: Extinction, was even better than the first. The elements were all there. The acting was pitch perfect (for a fun, brainless, popcorn flick). The story was compelling. The characters were interesting. There was such a strong element of danger and unpredictability. The action was relentless and brutal. It was fun.
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This could have been fun. They could have just tried a little harder. They could have had just a little more fun with it. But after all is said and done, I'll still watch the eventual sixth installment. I've seen all five already anyway. I might as well.
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