Resident Evil: Retribution 3D Blu-ray Review
I’m all for mindless fun at the movies. Not every film has to be THE TREE OF LIFE and have some deeper, existential meaning, but at some point, you have to draw the line. The Resident Evil films have crossed that line and then some and what started as a decent horror/sci-fi film has turned into a rehash of the same movie, with none of the characters moving forward and none of the plots being developed on any level. The fifth film in the franchise, RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION, feels more like a “clip show” from a sitcom, where the actors reminisce about all the better days so the writers can take a break.
When we left off in RESIDENT EVIL: AFTER LIFE, our heroine, Alice (Milla Jovovich), was on a giant boat with ton of survivors and about to be attacked by the Umbrella Corporation. By now you know that every Resident Evil movie promises a huge, epic sequel at the end and then when that sequel comes, it confines itself to a very small setting. Such is the case with Retribution. Instead of having an all out war with the Umbrella Corporation, where Alice is leading hundreds of people, we get a very quick glimpse of Alice getting knocked unconscious in the water and then waking up in a holding cell within Umbrella. The prison is actually a training ground where Umbrella is testing the effects on the virus, using clones to see how they react. While there, Alice encounters Ada (Bingbing Li), who informs her that Albert (Shawn Roberts) has broken away from Umbrella and needs Alice’s help. From there, Alice, Ada and a group of rescuers try to break out of the underground Umbrella facility.
Retribution brings back a lot of our favorite characters from previous films, including Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), One (Colin Salmon) and Todd (Oded Fehr). Since cloning is now a major part of the world, any character is eligible to return, but none of the characters return in the form we knew them. Now, they’re enemies of Alice and so their return means next to nothing. If anything, I would have liked to have seen Claire (Ali Larter) and Chris (Wentworth Miller) return and have their storyline continued. Unfortunately, it has become common in the Resident Evil films to jump from one tired plot to another and never fully develop anything. At this point in the series, I’ve stopped caring about the characters and have given up hope that they’re going to open up the plot and settings.
But with all of that said, I understand that the Resident Evil franchise is about having fun and displaying some mindless action. In a sense, Retribution succeeds at giving us some decent action sequences, but everything felt so familiar. They brought back some old foes, which didn’t help, but even the stunts and filming of the scenes felt like something we’ve seen before. No one will accuse director Paul W.S. Anderson of being original, but he ripped off a lot of films here, including his own. The most obvious was during the final fight, which blatantly ripped off some of the choreography from Jet Li’s UNLEASHED.
If you’ve toughed it out through the first four films, then I’m sure you’ll check out the fifth film. If you were hoping for something new and original or for the series to take a more epic turn, then you’ll be disappointed to know that Retribution is more of the same. Again, the ending sets up a very epic sequel, but I’ve been fooled too many times before to hope we’ll see anything different next time.
3D BLU-RAY REVIEW
I know I say this every time I review a 3D Sony title, but I just can’t understand why the company that invented Blu-ray can’t master 3D. Once again, RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION lacks the 3D depth that the film deserves. There were some good 3D moments, but I expected more all around.
Video: Disappointing 3D aside, RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION looked beautiful on Blu-ray. The limited use of color really pops against the darker backdrops.
Audio: The audio was also very impressive.
Commentary with Paul W.S. Anderson, Mila Jovovich and Boris Kodjoe: There’s a lot of “I love this movie” talk going on in this commentary, which I tend to get bored with. They stay on the surface most of the commentary and fans looking for any insight into the decision making process or the filming of the movie will be disappointed.
Commentary with Paul W.S. Anderson and Producer Jeremy Bolt: The first commentary was light and fluffy and this one is way more meaty. These two get into a lot of the specifics of the filming process and offer some cool insights into the film.
Deleted & Extended Scenes (12:34): More of the same from these extended scenes. I didn’t see anything from these five scenes that shouldn’t have been cut.
Outtakes (4:36): Everybody has a good laugh when they can’t remember their lines.
Project Alice: The Interactive Database: This is simply a database of sorts where you can navigate around and read more about various characters.
Maestro of Evil: Directing Resident Evil: Retribution (8:06): Various cast and crew members show up to talk about how great Paul W.S. Anderson is. They talk briefly about the 3D and his marriage to Jovovich.
Evolving Alice (6:51): A featurette chronicling Alice’s evolution through the series, both physically and mentally. It’s a nice recap of the series for those that came into it late.
Resident Evil: Reunion(9:42): This is dedicated to all of the returning characters. If you forgot which film they appeared in, this is a nice reminder.
Design & Build: The World of Resident Evil: Retribution(9:11): A quick glimpse of the various visual effects in the film. It’s not too technical, so casual fans should appreciate it.
Drop (Un) Dead: The Creatures of Retribution(6:58): This one focuses on the new creatures in the film.
Resident Stuntman(6:17): These quick little features should have been combined into one longer making-of featurette. But anyway, this is all about the stuntmen in the film and the fighting styles of the various characters.
Code: Mika(5:33): Mika Nakashima (J Pop Girl) talks about her role in the film, as do other cast members. Nakashima is a huge pop star in Japan, so I’m assuming this is more for them than anything.
Resident Evil: Retribution – Face of the Fan(3:16): A lucky fan was able to visit the set and this is her brief story about her experiences.
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