HT Schuyler: Resident Evil: Retribution Review

Posted: October 3, 2012 by htschuyler in HT Schuyler's Movie Reviews

Rated 14A for strong action violence, language and scary images.

Directed by: Paul W. S. Anderson.

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Johann Urb and Kevin Durand.

I, like most people, am I fan of the Resident Evil video games series. By that, I, like most people, mean that I really only like the 4th game and am indifferent to the others. As far as the films go, I’ve seen Resident Evil: Extinction and a few scenes from the previous films. So, am I the right person to be reviewing this movie? Nope. But I was bored and wanted a dumb action movie so I paid to see this movie, so I may as well share my thoughts on it. Just a word of warning; if you’re the type of person who is going to defend this movie by saying I just don’t understand it because I haven’t seen the other ones, then fine, you’re right, I haven’t seen the other ones therefore this movie’s brilliant plot does seem a little confusing to someone who is not aware of the no doubt genius stories of the other films, but hey. just because I haven’t seen the other movies doesn’t mean that this film shouldn’t provide a fun visual experience, right? Wrong.

Oh, and before I dive in I’d like to mention that this movie had one of the worst trailers I’ve ever seen for a film. Seriously, this shit is unbelievable: click here.

The movies opens with what I assume was the ending scene of the last movie, where a bunch of people are running and shooting and screaming, except this time, it’s played in reverse, and in SLOW MOTION! So that happens, then we are given a convenient recap of what has been happening in the movies so far, narrated by the film’s protagonist Alice (Milla Jovovich). After that is done we are treated to the same scene again, just this time in normal speed and normal pace. We then cut to the opening scene from Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead. After that we cut to Alice waking up in the evil Umbrella corporation (a organization that runs the world and is evil…that’s about all I could gather from this), and finds out that her and the sexy zombie slayer Ada Wong (Bingbing Li) need to travel through a variety of elaborate video game environments, each one full of monsters and zombies that must be defeated, in order to team up with a group of rough bad ass looking guys who are there to rescue them or something. All that really matters is that one of the bad ass guys is Leon S. Kennedy (Johann Urb), a fan favourite from the game. So that’s basically it as far as plot goes. We follow these groups of characters as they go from one level to the other fighting bad guys and looking cool. That’s it.

Acting overall is pretty shitty. Milla Jovovich does a halfway decent job at carrying the film I suppose, but for the most part she just walks around looking confused. Bingbing Li plays hands down one of the stupidest characters I’ve seen in a while. I felt that her character (who is dressed in a sexy Chinese dress that shows off her legs) was really out of place in the forth game, which took place in a grimy European village, and surprise surprise, her character looks even more out of place here. I find it impossible to take her “dramatic” scenes seriously when she looks so ridiculous. Michelle Rodriguez joins the party…she walks around, shoots a gun and frowns. Johann Urb brings little to no emotion or depth to his character Leon, and he mainly just barks orders at people and shoots. Sienna Guillory plays the deep and essential character of Jill Valentine, who is “evil”. She walks around, shoots, delivers her pathetic dialogue and makes mean faces at Alice. Yeah, she sucks. Every character here is so void of emotional and so underdeveloped they may as well have just been played by cardboard cut outs. In fact, that probably would have been better.

The Good:

I am well aware that most people simply view these movies are straight up action films and nothing else, and with that in mind I have to reluctantly state that the action is pretty good. It is very entertaining watching these ridiculous characters fighting monsters, and the fight scenes are very well directed and choreographed. I also really liked the monster designs, and a lot of the visuals are very impressive and exciting. Though it’s far from original, I did enjoy a lot of the horror set pieces, and a lot of the action was fast and entertaining.

The Bad:

Oh…where do I being? The movie has no plot. It is literally just one action set piece after another, with a few scenes of dialogue where characters try to explain what’s happening, only to make this more ridiculous and confusing. Acting is laughably terrible, as I mentioned, and the screenwriting is just so horribly bad I was actually laughing my ass off on several occasions just hearing the shit coming out of these character’s mouths. I can appreciate dumb actions movies when they’re done well, and the action here is good, but the reason it bothers me so much is because there is just no substance. Even the lamest, dumbest movies I can think of have some artistic merit or some message or moral to send off to it’s audience, but this has nothing. No scenes stick, and I have a hard time even recollecting the events of the movie. I’m fine if you want to make a dumb action flick, but give the audience something, even if it is just a forced message. Oh, and the ending. I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say we can all look forward to more of these movies in the future, whether you want it or not.

In Conclusion:

I knew this movie was going to be bad, but I had no idea it was going to as brutal and offensively bad as it was. It’s a lazy mess with a few good action set pieces and effects to hold your attention but overall nothing substantial to make it worth your while. If you want a mindless action film with lots of violence to watch inebriated, then this is the film for you, but if you want a movie with actual thought, talent, effort and still a large amount of violence, go see Looper.


  1. Ha, the trailer really was bad. I never bothered to even check it out until now, truly laughable. Makes me laugh though that these two lovebirds keep making these terrible films together. I wonder where these two (Jovovich and Anderson) would be if they weren’t together and whether we would have so many terrible Resident Evil films.

    • htschuyler says:

      Probably, they would just have a different actress playing the lead. As bad as they are they make a fair amount of cash.

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