Everything old is new again. No, that’s not right. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, except when they’re your friends, but also your enemies?
Trying to find a motto that properly sums up Paul W. S. Anderson’s fifth “Resident Evil” movie is challenging, but not nearly as challenging as explaining the plot. A mishmash of old and new faces, cloning, simulated realities and any number of other convoluted ideas one can come up with, “Resident Evil: Retribution” is almost completely devoid of any cohesion.
“Retribution” starts where the last film left off, when series protagonist Alice is captured and taken to a secret underwater Umbrella facility. The facility is used to study the rate at which the T-Virus would spread through the world’s major cities, like Tokyo and New York, with the purpose of selling the virus to the world’s superpowers so that they’d destroy one another. This is about all that can be pieced together to form a coherent narrative from “Retribution’s” storyline. The rest of the movie involves Alice’s enemies becoming her friends and her friends becoming her enemies only for the whole situation to flip on its head again by the end of the film.
The confusion regarding the plot is largely due to the fact that cloning is a heavy aspect of the film. Characters that were killed in past films are alive again in this film, and in some cases there are multiple copies of that same person, with one copy being good and the other being bad. There are so many clones in this movie that it’s enough to cause one to pause and wonder why Umbrella didn’t just scrap the zombie virus and super computers to focus exclusively on making a clone army for world domination purposes; it certainly worked for the empire in “Star Wars.”
The poor quality of the film isn’t based solely on its convoluted plot. The acting is quite awful in its own right, with most of the words coming out of all but two characters’ mouths sounding like the equivalent of Yoko Ono performing Shakespeare.
On top of that, all of the characters and creatures that are borrowed from the games this series is based on are added with such reckless abandon that some may think that these movies were written by an excitable six-year-old who happens to be a big fan of the games.
The only aspect of this movie that isn’t completely lamentable is the action. The choreography is decent and moderately entertaining. Still, it is almost lacking entirely in purpose. Fights start and end in an almost musical chairs fashion and seldom do they actually push the plot forward.
This movie isn’t worth the time or the money required to see it, even as a cheap thrill. With great looking action films like “Looper,” or other horror films like “Paranormal Activity 4” around the corner, it would be best if everyone avoided “Resident Evil: Retribution” entirely.