Long running franchises tend to suffer from the same ailment – the latter installments eventually lose sight of the better aspects of the series. In the case of Resident Evil
, the highly styled action was typically framed by an interesting story line. It wasn’t earth shattering stuff, but at least it tied everything together well. Unfortunately, writer/director Paul W. S. Anderson sacrificed an appealing narrative for big battles and groundwork for Resident Evil: Retribution
Alice (Milla Jovovich) is captured by brainwashed friend Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) and taken back to the Umbrella Corporation’s home base. But an unexpected ally agrees to help her escape, after which they must work together to stop the annihilation of the human race. To do so means facing a series genetically modified monsters, reuniting Alice with friends from her past.
That description appears thin because the plot in the film was almost non-existent. Reverting to what is usually reserved for initial video game adaptations, the movie is a succession of “boss fights” with few narrative revelations. To make matters worse, most of the monsters already appeared in other chapters. The only exception was an undead army equipped with automatic weapons.
The opening sequence is an impressive scene played in reverse that held promise – but it remained unfulfilled. At first it suggested a new, exciting chapter was about to unfold, taking the series to a new level. Instead it literally signified going backwards, resulting in a regression of quality that is quite unforgivable at this point in the franchise. To add insult to injury, the end reveals this film was little more than an extended setup to the seventh picture.
It revives and alters a piece of character development previously used to humanize Ripley in Alien
. But audiences did not react similarly, rejecting Alice’s maternal instincts. Nonetheless, Jovovich remains solid in the role of the kickass hero, taking down multiple mutants single-handedly and looking good doing it in tight black leather. But even she’s ill-used in this picture.
One can only hope the next movie will be worth this vacuous stepping stone.
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich
, Sienna Guillory
and Michelle Rodriguez