The Scoop: 2012 R, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and starring Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Bingbing Li, and Sienna Guillory
Tagline: Evil goes global
Summary Capsule: Alice teams up with some characters that were dead, some new guys, and Newt 2.0 in Russia.
Eunice’s Rating: Ya ploha gavaru pa Ruski.
Eunice’s Review: Hey, kids! Welcome back for another installment of Alice’s adventure in Zombieland! When last we left our heroine, she had just finished saving a ship full of survivors and Claire and Chris Redfield, and beat the tar out of villain Albert Wesker, though he still escaped. This movie picks up right from where the last one ended. Which is going to bring me to the first point I want to make about Retribution…
When I watch a franchise movie for review, there are three ways I look at it: How does it work within the franchise? How does it work by itself? How does it work as just a movie?
Retribution is probably the most prequel dependent movie out of all of the Resident Evils. It’s true that after the opening credits Alice gives the rundown of what’s happened over the last four movies, but, if you’ve never watched one before, I really wouldn’t suggest starting here. Just giving ample warning. So as a standalone it fails.
Anyway, after a whole bunch of explosions finishing out the scene from the last movie, Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up in a normal house with longer hair. A man walks in, it’s S.T.A.R.S. [*jazz hands*] member Carlos (Oded Fehr), he’s her husband. They have a deaf daughter named Becky (Newt 2.0). It’s a normal morning, getting the kid off to school the hubby to work – until a zombie comes tearing through their house! The survival is on, with Alice and Becky being temporarily saved by Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), who’s turned into a no guns hippie sort. Then long haired Alice dies. What is going on?!
While we ponder that, Real!Alice wakes up in an almost entirely white room wearing nothing but a paper apron. Jill, still controlled by a serum crab, questions and tortures her. Suddenly the security systems go down and Alice is free (after finding her clothes and gun) and emerges into… Tokyo? In fact it’s the same exact scene from the beginning of Resident Evil: Afterlife. I was very confused to what was going on by this point.
What’s going on is, Alice was captured by Umbrella, now led by the Red Queen, who fired Albert Wesker after the events from the last movie and he is now fighting them. So he sent Ada Wong to free Alice (Ada’s the one who downed the security). The facility they’re in is at MiddleOfNoWhere top secret Russia. The American suburbia? Downtown Tokyo? Mock ups for testing the virus and showing the spread to potential buyers of the virus as a weapon. And the people? Well now Umbrella has expanded its clone manufacturing to more types than just Alice.
Alice and Ada have to fight through Tokyo, suburbia, a subway (not sure where it’s supposed to be), and Moscow. Along the way they find Becky/Newt. who thinks Alice is her mom, and Nice!Rain. As part of the escape plan they’ll meet up with a group clearing the way from the other end of their route. This group is led by Leon S. Kennedy (though I don’t think he’s ever actually named), former basketball player turned zombie survivor Luther West, Kevin Durand as Barry Burton, and a couple of red shirts. Unfortunately for them the clones haven’t been used to just replicate civilians. There’s also an evil version of Carlos, Rain, and James, a bunch of masked soldiers, and mutated monsters all led by Jill.
Let me just say, the deal with the clones is genius for the franchise. You can kill and bring back a character/actor an infinite number of times, with new memories and personalities like they did here, or maybe play with the universe rules (as the RE movies are wont to do) and have them remember their originals. I could be down for this development. They also never actually say what happened to Chris and Claire Redfield and the opening bit doesn’t show them dying, so they could totally come back in the future.
And there will be more sequels as long as the money holds out to make them. Retribution is what I like to call a “bridge movie” (also works for books). It’s the title in a series that doesn’t stand too well on its own, but is the point where the story’s tone and universe changes, bridging the first half and second half of movies/books (fav example: Goblet of Fire marks the point where the Harry Potter books take a much darker turn and sets up the major points for future events). To explain what I mean further would be to give away a lot of the ending for Retribution, just trust me on this. So as to how this works within the franchise, I think it will be the bridge movie.
As just a movie, it left me with a bit of a meh felling. Like it’s shiny enough I guess. Filled with action sure. But between so much time devoted to the set up for this movie, then so much time for setting up future movies, there wasn’t much left for just the movie. Then the action was also broken up following two (sometimes three) different groups of characters. To me it felt rushed and a little disjointed. Just wasn’t working for me like the previous movies have.
It’s not the worst RE movie, but it’s not the best either. Since I had higher than usual expectations for it I was a little disappointed. Will I see the next one? Yes, I can’t fight it.
- In the Resident Evil movie-verse, Rain Ocampo and James ‘One’ Shade are from the first Resident Evil; Jill Valentine was in RE Apocalypse and Afterlife,; Carlos Olivera in Apocalypse and Extinction; Luther West in Afterlife; Albert Wesker in Extinction and Afterlife; and The Red Queen was played by Michaela Dicker in the first one.
- Ada Wong and Leon S. Kennedy first appeared in the games in Resident Evil 2. Ada was a spy, and then (spoiler) returned in RE 4 working for Albert Wesker. Leon was a cop on his first day on the job. Barry Burton made his first game appearance in Resident Evil as a member of STARS *jazz hands*, and (spoiler) was being blackmailed by Wesker. Barry also has one of my favorite game lines ever: “Jill, here’s a lockpick. It might come in handy if you, the master of unlocking, take it with you.”
- Don’t dodge the question, what happened to Chris and Claire? Mutant minds want to know!
- Why would Alice’s outfit and GUN be kept in the same room with her?
- Look, I need Kevin Durand to have bigger parts okay? Don’t be such a tease, movies.
- Why can’t Alice have a boyfriend? *frowny face* Kinda made mean angry.
- So, in Afterlife, it takes Claire days/weeks to even be able to speak after losing the serum crab. While Jill, who has been attached a lot longer, regains her memory and the ability to fight in minutes.
Jill: Project Alice, why did you turn against Umbrella?
The Red Queen: Project Alice, you’re all going to die down here.
Alice: I’ve heard that before.
Alice: Congratulations, you’re officially a bad ass.
Becky: I met your sister.
Becky: She’s not very nice.
Barry: Someone’s got to stay here, Leon. Besides, I’m kinda enjoying myself.
Becky: You’re my mommy aren’t you?!
Alice: I am now.
Alice: I’m gonna kill you.
Albert Wesker: Perhaps, but first you have work to do.
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