Resident Evil Retribution is the latest installment of the presumingly long dead franchise of silly action films. Starting in the last film they've been priding themselves in using the same IMAX 3D technology used in Avatar. Unfortunately for them, using the same technology didn't make the last film any easier to sit through.
"Retribution" though is a different type of movie. It picks up immediately where the last one left off. Alice and her friends are surrounded by helicopters, guns blazing, people getting destroyed...
And the rest of the movie doesn't let up pace. It plays out with the pulse of an action packed videogame. And, what makes a videogame so fun? The missions, how impossible they are, and how big the bosses are. The more impossible it is, the more fun it is to play. In this case the mission is that Alice has to escape a supposedly inescapable Umbrella Corporation fortress. It's thousands of feet under the ice, and in the middle of a frozen waste land. To make things more difficult is the Red Queen from the first film who controls the entire facility, and she does everything in her power to make sure they do not escape. She sees their every move, hears their every word, and stays 10 steps ahead of them as they make their way through monstrous simulation rooms. One nightmare after the other. One simulating the outbreak in China, another in New York, another in Moscow, and even one in Raccoon City.
And it's awesome to watch.
While this is going on, there's a rescue team of 4 men on their way down from the surface to bring her back up. Only they've planted a bomb that will destroy the facility in 2 hours. So, on top of everything else, they also have 2 hour to escape.
Alice is led by Albert Wesker, who supposedly died in the last film, and whose survival is unexplained.
It does offer a little more insight into the roots of the virus though. Giving you a look into how the outbreak came to be. How it got into the hands of different countries, and a peek at how it must have been when it hit those countries.
We also see the warehouse where Alice and the other 'test subjects' are created and stored, adding to the origins of Alice herself.
Think "Willy Wonkas Factory", if it were made to create the worlds deadliest virus.
If you're into action movies with over the top stunts, unnecessary slow motion, and hooky villains, then "Retribution" will feed all of your needs. It's a movie that's all about the body count, and about who can kill the bigger bad guy.
For me, it was more satisfying of a film than the unexpectedly watchable "Expendables 2".
Another one of "Retribution's" strengths was not making the most common mistake that most of these types of movies tend to make, which is over-cutting the action scenes. It takes its time to let you soak in the fights, letting you get lost in the suspense of a giant hammer being swung centimeters from their face. Even if it does look completely fake, it's still acceptable. Because it's what you expect from this kind of movie.
If you're a fan of the game, expect to see an appearance from a couple of key characters and a classic location, making this probably the only film of the franchise that feels like a movie based on the actual videogame. Rather than one that piggy backs on the name.
The IMAX screen and the 3D is used wisely to make the gargantuan facility look especially daunting. The hallways look endless, the ceilings make you feel helpless, and the relentless waves of zombies make me positive that I'd have no chance to survive a zombie attack. Despite the films cheesy dialogue, expected "bullets flying at the screen" gags, and being a predictable movie...it aims to be nothing less than a good time, and it succeeds.
Resident Evil Retribution gets 3/5 stars.
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