Resident Evil: Retribution (3D)

2012-09-14 09:25
 
What it's about:

In the fifth movie in the Resident Evil franchise we find our heroine Alice (Milla Jovovich) awakening as a prisoner in the midst of a top secret compound belonging to the Umbrella Corporation - whose bio-weapons caused the zombie plague that has all but eradicated humanity. After being helped by members of a resistance movement, Alice sets out to free herself from this compound as she learns more about her past and the intentions of the Umbrella Corporation.

What we thought:

Aside for small snippets, I haven't seen a Resident Evil film since the first film. I have to get that disclaimer out of the way out of fairness to the series' fans but, to be honest, it doesn't really matter. While we're on the subject, I may be a casual game player – as opposed to a hardcore gamer – but I've never played any of the Resident Evil games. Again, I mention this simply so that fans understand that it won't affect the review itself because a) I hear the game is really good and besides this is a review of this film, not the games it is based on and b) I know enough about games in general to talk about video gaming in a general sense.

As you may have guessed, I mention all this because I would be very, very surprised if my review of this fifth instalment doesn't very seriously piss off fans of the Resident Evil series of films and games. Sorry Evil Residents (that is what you call yourselves, right? How could it not be?) but I don't care – Resident Evil: Retribution is just that jaw-droppingly bad.

Actually calling Resident Evil: Retribution – and really, aren't they all kind of about retribution? – a "bad film" is almost definitely disingenuous. It's "bad", that much certainly is true, but calling it a "film" or a "movie" or even a "flick" is a bit of a stretch. Put it this way: If you scanned a comic book, enlarged its pages and glued it over the screen at your local cinema would you dare call that a "comic book movie"? More pertinently, if a movie studio put their latest blockbuster release, say The Avengers, onto a PS3-compatible disc, placed that into a PS3 disc case and sold it as a PS3 game, would you dare call that a "PS3 game"? Of course you wouldn't.

There are plenty of things horribly wrong about Resident Evil: Retribution (though oddly, for a change, not the 3D, which was pretty good) but nothing else compares to the biggest problem of all: Paul W.S. Anderson has completely and utterly failed to adapt a video game into anything other than a video game with really life-like graphics.

Correct me if I'm wrong (and don't worry, I'm sure you will) but the way most action games work is that the "gameplay" of running, jumping, shooting and generally misbehaving is interspersed with "cut scenes" that fill you in on the advancements in the game's plot. Not the game's "story", mind you, or its "narrative", but its plot – the distinction is crucial. This is not to denigrate video games, just so we're clear. It's a formula that works brilliantly for what video games are there for: An interactive experience. It is, however, not something that works at all for filmmaking – or any kind of linear storytelling medium, for that matter.

And yet, here comes Paul W.S. Anderson and Resident Evil: Retribution who seem to think that the only difference between video games and movies is that one if a mixture of CGI and real people, while the other is just straight up CGI. This might sound like an exaggeration, but its not. The only difference between this film and your average video game is that it uses live actors – live actors whose acting bares more of a resemblance to planks of wood than people, but "live actors", nonetheless.

It divides its time between slow-mo-riffic action scenes (where the gameplay is supposed to go) and info-dump-heavy plot exposition scenes that are usually delivered by a computer generated talking head, resulting in a film that literally feels like you're watching someone else play a video game for an hour and a half. The only remotely impressive and not brain-bustingly boring thing about this is just how much plot exposition they can pull out of so little plot. Otherwise, it is every bit as exciting and involving as watching someone else playing a video game for an hour and a half.

There's no point in going into all the film's technical failings (zero characterisation, zero story, a complete inability to stand alone as a film and, aside for Milla Jovovich wearing nothing but two A4 pieces of paper that almost-but-not-quite cover her naughty bits, fairly underwhelming special effects) because they're as obvious as the fact that die hard fans will inevitably jump down my throat for having the audacity to judge it as a piece of filmmaking.

To the die hard fans then, I have only this to ask: why on earth would you rather spend your hard earned cash effectively watching someone else play Resident Evil when you can actually play the game yourself? Really, enquiring minds want to know.


Less fun than watching someone else play Resident Evil for an hour and a half, Resident Evil: Retribution only proves once again that good video games do not good movies make.
Read more on:    milla jovovich  |  celebrities  |  movies

John 2012/09/14 9:25 AM
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The Movie Is Awesome
boet 2012/09/14 9:57 AM
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I take it you didnt like it then?
Joe 2012/09/14 11:23 AM
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To be honest, I really dont think that you should be writing this review. You never played the game, neither have you watched any of the other sequels.
Luke 2012/09/14 11:25 AM
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All the movies was pretty good! Poor review mate...i suggest you go play the game..
Reinhardt 2012/09/14 11:59 AM
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Your review is bad and you should feel bad. Not watching all the Resident Evil films or playing the games and doing a review on the last one is like saying I only watched LOTR:The Return of the King, it doesn't make sense. Truth be told, the first two films were great, but after that it became the same story over. But any RE fan will like it.
John 2012/09/14 12:37 PM
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Clearly not a fan then I take it? Please, please, please dont review Silent Hill - Revelation next month, I'll let you in on a little secret, it's also based on a game...
Phumz 2012/09/14 12:47 PM
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This is a poorly written review. You never get around to properly analysing the film and you fill the article with your irritating disclaimers.
Lola 2012/09/14 12:55 PM
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I didn't need to read the LOTR series to enjoy the films (which I did) and I think that should be the case with any something to film adaptation. A film should be able to stand on its own merits. It should be able to entertain viewers who haven't played the game or read the book or comic or whichever other thing it was adapted from. Otherwise what's the point of making it?
Robert 2012/09/14 12:59 PM
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It's got zombies and Milla... what's not to like. Forget that it's used a game as a springboard... it's freakin ZOMBIES and MILLA!!
Emil 2012/09/14 1:40 PM
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This review was absolutely terrible. You haven't seen any of the previous movies. Obviously when there is more than one movie, everything makes more sense if you at least have some knowledge of what you're writing about. Secondly, stop attacking the fans of this movie. We are all here to hear what you thought of the MOVIE, not the people who watch it! Some people like the movie, and some don't. By making snark comments about those who don't makes you sound childish and amateurish.
Norman 2012/09/14 4:56 PM
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Sorry man, I usually enjoy reading movie reviews, but this one stinks and I agree with everyone who gave their opinion of your review. Also i still don't know much about the movie, one thing you did not fail to explain to us is what you think of the movies fans. Not the point of a movie review... Fail!
Really 2012/09/15 2:41 PM
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Ilan Preskovsky is a chop... Is this the same chop that gave The Muppets and Arthur Christmas four stars?
Anton 2012/09/16 6:58 AM
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Looking forward to seeing it
Leon Steyn 2012/09/16 7:32 AM
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As someone who reads quite a lot and kind of knows how reviews work, although I do not really have a clue how to do it and just blabber on because I seriously having nothing better to do with my time, your review is simply THE WORST I have ever read. You speak more about yourself and your incompetence to review the RE:Retribution movie than anything else. The title should have read: "How to write a bad review about a movie". And seriously, News24, is THIS the type of reviews you post on here? Where is quality control? Half this person said did not even make sense! Oh, by the way, I saw the movie, and I thought it was great. I am NOT a gamer, but a loyal follower of the RE movies - so don't just think it is ONLY gamers who will enjoy this - that is BS.
Sean Barber 2012/09/16 11:45 AM
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Usually this publication has reviewers that are competent. Sorry to say your review is not good.
Grant Sunthorn 2012/09/16 7:17 PM
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The movie was absolutely brilliant and I enjoyed every minute of it. The above review is sub-standard to say the least and its obvious the reviewer is neither a fan of the series or of the games. I suggest finding someone more qualified to do the reviews from now on...
WorstReviewEver 2012/09/16 10:15 PM
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To anyone who's seen any of the previous RE's, this one is a must watch as the franchise continues to excell and move ahead. The movie was great, good story line and full of action and zombies, and ofcourse the ever beatiful Alice kicking zombie butt in style. There will definitely be a 6th installment comming out at some point, of which I think should be the last in the sequel just by looking at the end of 5 it can't live on much longer, but there will be a final somewhere and think 6 will be it, unless they pull a serious twist. To the reviewer, you are clearly not the right man for the job, you should not have reviewed this movie, especially if you did not even watch any previous Resident Evil releases or even played the game and is therefore completely unqualified and unfit for the purpose of reviewing this magnificent piece of work. Point in case, you suck! Now, please go and review something that you've actually seen and know what you're talking about. It's like watching the latest movie on Aliens without having seen anything before it and then wanting to write review about it, can't be done if you want do do it right and know what you're talking about. To all the fans, the 5th instalment of the Resident Evil series is definitely worth it, ignore this lame review from an obvious retarded reviewer who doesn't have ANY clue what's plotting. I will do my best to avoid anything written by idiots like Ilan Preskovsky going forward!
Darq 2012/09/17 9:00 AM
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I am afraid I have to agree with this review, and wish to backdate it to all the Resident Evil movies. Let me add I am a serious gamer; have all the Resident Evil games and have seen all the movies. I will admit I was ecstatic about the release of a Resident Evil movie when the first one was released, but was sadly disappointed it was terrible and why did I watch all the rest you ask, simple I kept hoping it would get better. The movie series is full of wasted opportunities and a complete misunderstanding of the difference between what makes a good game and what makes a good movie, as a matter of fact I have seen more character development in the games than in the movies, which pretty much proves the point. I want to challenge all the people criticizing the review the movie was not called Zombie Romp instead of Resident Evil and didn't star Milla Jovovich and Sienna Guillory would you still be up in arms about the review. I think not.
Dude 2012/09/17 9:16 AM
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This was an awesome movie, and the worst and best part was at the end. Making you want more just has the movie ends. It makes you think what can happen next. A fan will only understand this. Maybe the writer dont get Bio-Weapons, maybe if there were "STRIKING ZOMBIES" with demands, then it should be a good movie.
Alan 2012/09/18 10:11 AM
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Yip you never played the game but make bad review of the movie, back to the drawing board for you it is a grate movie as all the other Resident Evil movies.
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