Monday, September 17, 2012

Movie Review: Resident Evil - Retribution

The video game franchise of movies has come a long way since Super Mario Bros, the first game turned movie circa 1993. Despite being considered one of the worst movies ever made and a certified box office failure it ushered in a new genre of movies to which many fanboys like myself owe many thanks to.

Enter: Resident Evil

Resident Evil is the most successfull video game based film series with the 5th installment, Retribution, in theaters this weekend. But there's a large disconnect between the game, characters, and movie plots for me because the very first Resident Evil game soiled my pants and I never played another Resident Evil game. Ever. So watching the film series on the big screen in a crowded movie theater seemed much safer than a dark, tv lit bedroom. Ok maybe not in hindsight because a crowded movie theater is the last place I want to be when the Zombie Apocalypse starts.

Resident Evil: Retribution picks up where Afterlife left off. Alice (Milla Jovovich) releases the prisoners from the tanker off the west coast only to be assaulted and captured by Umbrella agents. Being held prisoner in an Umbrella testing facility, Alice has an unlikely ally in her escape in order to stop the Red Queen computer system from terminating the entire human race which is mostly infected with the T-virus.

Retribution was a reunion of sorts, it brought about the return of the Red Queen, Rain Ocampo (Michelle Rodriguez) along with the first movie's Umbrella commando team, and Luther West (Boris Kodjoe). After surviving the sewer tunnels in Afterlife, Luther joins an Umbrella resistance team with Leon S. Kennedy (Johann Urb) and Barry Burton (Kevin Durand) to rescue Alice. This is the first movie I've seen Kevin Durand as a good guy, just when I thought he played a pretty good bad guy (I Am Number Four and Real Steel) he goes and rocks the boat on me. Slight spoiler but Durand did go out the best way, that's how you'd want to die unlike, well, I don't want the ladies crying on their keyboards. Woo woo, woo woo woo.

And call me slow but I just caught the Alice in Wonderland reference this go 'round: Alice, Red Queen, White Queen (Resident Evil: Extinction) along with Collide's cover of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" in the credits of Extinction. But I love allusions in movies so I can feel all smart and explain them to my date but then again that maybe why she hasn't returned my texts.

Honestly, each film in the Resident Evil series has let me down. They are not bad movies by no stretch but for some reason I expect a lot more from them and instead they leave me empty handed. It's as if the theme of the series is "isolation" because all of the movies eventually narrow their environments to less than a city block even though an entire world is on fire. Earth is being ravaged by zombies but I'm only seeing interior walls of buildings and facilities. I'm claustraphobic man! And like the loyal fanboy I am, I pay my money everytime hoping, "This is it! This is the movie where the whole world blows up!" Then it doesn't.

Sad face.

Other than my inexplicably high and baseless expectations, Retribution is definitely on par with the series. I really can't think of a "bad" Resident Evil movie, they've all been consistent despite me wanting more, well, chaos. But the previous films had given me the solace of A Perfect Circle's "The Outsider [Renholder Apocalypse Mix]" as the unofficial theme of the franchise but not Retribution. Insult to injury, ouch.

The month of September is a reality check that summer blockbuster season is over and the start of Cuffing Season. Retribution kicks off Cuffing Season's casual date period with Dredd 3D and End of Watch up to bat the weekend of the 21st. So ladies, please oblige any last minute movie invites, someone needs to be kept warm this winter.

Movie Moment of Zen:
Should have been The Outsider [Renholder Remix] but I'll have to settle with Barry Burton's (Kevin Durand) death scene.

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Disclaimer: I’m an employee of Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner, however the views expressed in this post are of my own.

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