Oh video game movies, will you ever stop being horrible? Ever since The Super Mario Bros. movie, it feels as if video game movies have been forever cursed to be some of the worst of all time. Not all are completely worthless. The first Resident Evil film was a fairly decent zombie film. Was it great or even good? No, but it was fun for audiences to watch. In addition, it didn’t try and follow the game’s story and end up butchering the plot line to shreds. Resident Evil opted to tell its own story within the RE universe, and in this respect felt like it could have easily been a side story to the games, rather than an adaptation. I liked this idea; cross-medium franchises have always been a cool concept to explore. The idea that separate stories can exist in the same universe, but in different mediums like Star Wars or Parasite Eve, has always been interesting. Then Resident Evil: Apocalypse came along and ruined that, by trying to combine the story of the third game, and the movies. This attempt led to characters being butchered, the plot becoming a complete mess, and of course the movie being completely awful. From the second movie on, the series spiraled downward in quality. The second film was awful, but at least it wasn’t boring. However, the third installment managed to be worse than the second by a lot, but was also ridiculously dull and boring. When the fourth film came around though, a funny thing happened. It still got worse, but it also decided to jump the rail and go completely off-the-wall stupid, and it was hilarious. The 4th film has become somewhat of a guilty pleasure for me. The ridiculous overuse of slow-mo editing, and the horribly corny acting cause fits of laughter every time I bring myself to watch it. Not to mention the fact that I find it hilarious that there was a film made in 2010 that was still ripping off The Matrix. All of it added up to a horrible, but fun experience; that I still like to put on when I’m bored.
Enter Resident Evil: Retribution, the fifth part in this awful series. There’s really no point in discussing plot here since if the film doesn’t care why should I? Basically it’s an excuse to have a bunch of characters from previous movies, and whatever characters from the games they haven’t completely butchered yet, fight zombies and each other in various locations to make the action scenes feel less repetitive but without having to use any imagination to get them there. The plot in this series is a complete mess at this point, so if you thought of trying to watch the last four movies in order to make any sense out of this one, don’t even bother. The story is so thin and full of holes, it would take a genius to piece it together into anything comprehensible. They even manage to mess up stuff from the last movie, which came out two entire years ago. But as with the last movie, all its flaws add up to a hilarious train-wreck of the film that I still had a blast mocking.
The cast in this film is hardly even worth mentioning. Milla Jovovich is always a fun actress, but she’s still playing the role exactly how she has been since Apocalypse, so it would be a waste of time going into any depth there. Michelle Rodriguez is back for a really stupid reason and for an incredibly short amount of time. Shawn Roberts is back acting like Hugo Weaving, as Agent Smith playing Albert Wesker once again; not a lot is to be said.
As far as technical work, the effects are definitely an improvement over the last films, though that’s not really saying all that much. The soundtrack has always been pretty solid for most of the RE films, and this is no exception, though it’s not really better than the last film’s soundtrack. The action in this one is a big highlight. Slow-Mo overuse is still in effect, but the choreography is a big step up for the franchise, making it a lot more fun to watch.
Overall, this is not a film I’d advise you to rush out and see. This is one of those films that you watch on DVD late at night with a group of friends and have a laugh. It’s an awful movie, with awful acting, awful pacing, and a non-existent yet still convoluted story. If you must see this movie in theatres, see it as a matinee, get a lot of popcorn, and have fun.