Friday, September 21, 2012

Movie Review - Resident Evil: Retribution

If you haven’t read one of my movie reviews before, just know that there may or may not be spoilers and what I write here may or may not be a recap or make any actual sense.
(All pictures from the excellent Resident Evil: Retribution movie site, which makes reviewing their movie easy by having pics readily available. Thanks, Sony!)
I saw two movies in the theater yesterday, which is a record for me.
Not an all-time record. I think that would be four. I used to meet up with a buddy of mine from time to time on Fridays and we’d just go and see a bunch of movies. I think we only hit four once, but it happened. Now, with a family and a horrible work schedule that is more like a form of psychological torture than an actual rotation of shifts, I don’t even get to go and see one movie all that often.
But yesterday, sensing I was more broke than King Kong Bundy’s old recliner, the family decided it was a great day for movies and dining out.
            Admittedly, I didn’t argue the point. I really wanted to see Resident Evil: Retribution and the place that was playing it at the right time happened to be the Movie Tavern. The missus would be able to drop Lil’ Troublemaker off at school, then we could go and see the movie and pick him up afterwards. Perfect. Movie Tavern is pretty great anyway because you can see the movie and eat for about the same as it would cost for the movie and half of one of those pretzels that manage to be greasy and dry at the same time at AMC.
When we got to the counter to buy our tickets, the lady said, “Resident Evil 3D,” and I sort of went, “Um.” I hadn’t remembered to make sure the time was for a 2D showing. Crap. We turned around to leave.
You see, I have not traditionally been able to see 3D effects in movie theaters due to my vision problems. Not only did the 3D not work, the visuals were blurry and not even worth looking at. But I had Lasik surgery back in January and my optometrist had speculated that it might clear up my 3D issue. We’ve actually had a lot of conversations about it. I just hadn’t tried it yet because, like I said before, I don’t get out to see movies like I used to and I didn’t want to screw up one of my rare opportunities.
But this time due to our time constraints it was either try the 3D experiment or just skip the movie entirely. I consulted with Mrs. Troublemaker and we decided to go ahead and give it a shot. So we went back to the counter, ordered our food, and were issued our 3D glasses, which I would refer to as “goofy” if they didn’t closely resemble the sunglasses I actually wear.
The first few trailers were regular. Well, I can’t really call the trailer for Skyfall regular because it was fucking amazing; but they were all 2D. Then the screen filled up with this wondrous and somewhat nerve-wracking phrase:
PLEASE PUT YOUR REAL3D GLASSES ON YOUR FACE PARTS NOW
(or something like that)
I was all tingly. I had no idea what was going to happen. Would I be able to partake in the movie magic, the cinematic sorcery that everybody had been talking about? Would the effects not work, but maybe I could still watch the movie? Would it be all blurry and give me a migraine and make me bleed out of my eyeballs? This was fucking exciting.
And then the trailer for the new Silent Hill movie started playing and a bunch of snow or ash or something started falling out of the theater ceiling.
Holy. Fucking. Shit.
While I was still adjusting to the absolutely amazing things I was seeing not on the movie screen but in front of it, a fucking horrible demon monster the size of the Chrysler Building walked in front of the screen and I shit my pants. I was not ready for that.
I did not blink once during that trailer. I was bolted to the very edge of my seat, totally transfixed by the miracle of technology I was witnessing. I am not exaggerating when I say that it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. Part of the reason I hadn’t tried a 3D movie before now was that I honestly didn’t want to find out I couldn’t see the 3D. I was more comfortable not knowing, because once I knew for sure that would be it. I know it sounds stupid to be so concerned about such a silly, gimmicky thing; but movies have always been such an integral part of my life and who I am. I didn’t want to discover that I couldn’t be a part of this new facet of the media that I have always loved so much. It would be like finding out you weren’t capable of using the “Hover” feature on your new Hovercar.
So anyway, seeing that Silent Hill trailer was a singular and amazing experience that will stick with me for a long time.
But we’re not here to talk about the trailer for a movie that I will totally be seeing in 3D as soon as it comes out. We’re here to talk about the latest entry in one of the most polarizing and divisive movie franchises I can think of.
I love the first Resident Evil move. But I think I might need to go a bit further than that. I also love Mortal Kombat and Event Horizon. People – I am a full-on, bona fide fan of Paul WS Anderson. I know he gets mocked a lot. I know his movies are simple, good-time, popcorn fun. I like that. I like the fact the he straps his wife into ridiculous costumes that look more like fetish gear than tactical battle dress and has her run around doing somersaults while kicking zombies in the face. I like that his movies don’t give you a whole lot of time to think about how silly they are because everything is go, go, GO! I like that he often does things simply because they are awesome. There was no reason to bring Oded Fehr, Michelle Rodriguez, and Colin Salmon back for this movie except for audiences going, “Hey! That’s that person from the other one! Neat!” So he did it.
I like the guy and I like his movies. I was stoked about seeing RE: Retribution and so was the missus.
The movie opens with a familiar figure floating serenely in the water. Well, sort of serenely. It’s Alice and she’s sort of slowly rotating. And then all of a sudden she pops up out of the water and you realize everything is playing in reverse. Our heroine ends up on the deck of the huge barge from the end of the last movie doing the sort of things she does – shooting guns, wearing super-tight clothes, and grimacing while stuff blows up around her and people die.
If you recall, the closing scene of Resident Evil: Afterlife was of all the happy people Alice had rescued frolicking about on the deck of a large ship, thrilled to be headed for somewhere that wasn’t an awful, zombie-infested shithole. I can’t remember who these people were or why they thought there was a zombie-free utopia somewhere, but it doesn’t matter because they’re all fucked now. The Umbrella Corporation has shown up in a bunch of helicopters that look like the GI Joe Tomahawk and the COBRA Mamba had babies. And those babies are spitting bullets and Umbrella Soldiers all over Alice’s nice, clean boat.
Also in attendance is Alice’s former pal, Jill Valentine, who has been turned into an evil mega-bitch by a ruby robot spider that Umbrella stuck to her cleavage. Jill Valentine consists mostly of a skintight purple jumpsuit and said cleavage. Quite frankly I’m not even sure she had a head. Oh, wait – she did have a head because that’s where all of her terrible, wooden dialogue came from. I just meant she might as well not have a head.
The scene rewinds all the way to the actual end of the last movie where everybody was sort of happy, then starts playing normally. That’s when the Umbrella Doom Copters show up and we see the past few minutes in their natural progression.
Alice manages to kill about 4,352 of the Umbrella troops (but not Jill, of course), but then gets exploded into the water, which takes us back to the opening.
I thought this was all unspeakably cool. To be fair, part of the reason I liked it so much was that this was my first exposure to this “REAL3D” or whatever and I really got to savor every little thing since we first saw it all in reverse slow motion, then at normal speed going the right way. If anybody ever needs a clip to convince somebody that 3D is rad, I would recommend this one. Totally awesome opening that got the adrenaline pumping and reassured you that, “Yes – we are still making big, ridiculous, explodey movies here. Don’t worry, my lamb – there will be much violence in the next ninety-six minutes.” It was like getting a hug from the Murder Fairy.
So Alice is floating down into the depths of whatever body of water that was supposed to be, when all of a sudden she wakes up. In a bed. In a house. In the suburbs of Raccoon City. Lookin’ good. And hey – here’s her husband, Todd! He’s being played by Oded Fehr, who was killed two movies ago. This shit is weird, but we’re going along with it because Alice deserves a break and also because Resident Evil. Alice now has longer blonde hair and very small panties.
It turns out Todd and Alice have a deaf daughter whose name escapes me because the last thing I wanted out of this movie was a prepubescent protagonist. But – as tends to happen – I don’t have much time to consider it because zombies attack and rip Oded Fehr’s face off. Alice grabs her daughter and all of a sudden this thing turns into a fucking escort mission. Boo.
I’m going to make some fun of it, but this whole suburbia sequence was actually really cool. It was standard zombie movie fare stuck in the middle of the far more sci-fi tone of Resident Evil, but with the flair of the franchise. It was a neat change and a nice display of just how different the Resident Evil movies are.
So Alice and Alice, Jr. manage a harrowing escape from the zombies and make it outside where they find Michelle Rodriguez driving a car that might as well have “I AM A GIANT LIBERAL STINKING HIPPIE” painted on it with pink tofu (dyed with natural vegetable extracts). I honestly believe this movie was in danger of breaking down the fundamental laws of cinema and causing a massive, galaxy-ripping rift that would have swallowed all of existence because Michelle Rodriguez was not playing a tough girl with a heart of gold. She was playing A GIANT LIBERAL STINKING HIPPIE. It was weird.
So Rodriguez picks up our hero and her burden daughter, but manages to flip her stupid little Prius within about a minute and a half, right in the middle of some exposition that didn’t matter anyway because Resident Evil. Alice and Lil’ Alice straight-up abandon Hippie M-Rod, leaving her to say, “Oh, shit,” as a bunch of zombies surround her fruity car.
Our not-very-thoughtful ladies make their way to a house, which is a terrible idea. They corner themselves in a closet inside where of course Zombie Oded Fehr shows up and eats Alice’s face with his All-New Monster Mouth action feature. If you don’t know, Resident Evil zombies have these four toothy tongue things that unfold out of their mouths to make eating your face easier for them and about fifty times as gross for you.
Oh, and forget my recommendation for that first scene. The next scene features Milla Jovovich regaining consciousness in a prison cell that looks like an Umbrella-themed Tiffany lamp, wearing two pieces of paper smaller than what people use to print TPS reports. This is the scene that will sell 3D. Unfortunately she’s being aurally tortured by her not-friend Jill, which for me is a total boner-killer.
I was going to take a moment to ponder the thought process behind taping two pieces of paper to Ms. Jovovich-WS Anderson rather than just sticking her in a hospital smock or something, but that would be dumb. Obviously the thought process was, “I’m 36 years old, I’ve given birth, and I still look like this – tape them fuckin’ papers on me.”
Anyway, through a series of events that may or may not make sense Alice ends up clothed in her latest battle/bondage gear, ready for hardcore zombie action. After being chased down some brightly lit hallways by the same laser net that diced that black guy in the first movie, Alice bursts through a portal to find herself in Tokyo. Because Resident Evil.
Before Alice can even get her bearings, it becomes apparent that there is something sinister in Tokyo. No – I’m not talking about a dirty old businessman trying to get his hands on some used panties. Alice clearly isn’t even wearing panties. No, here there be zombies! Some chick goes all nuts and jumps on this dude and starts eating him up. Then some more zombies show up and start eating people and before you know it Tokyo is CRAZY-GO-NUTS!
But Alice has been through four movies worth of this shit already and knows just what to do – she busts out the window of a cop car and relieves it of its armory. She also gets a long chain with a lock or something on the end, which makes for some awesome visuals later. Seriously – don’t poo-poo the chain weapon. When you’re in the midst of crazy zombie time, you’re going to want at least one weapon you don’t have to reload. There’s a even a little callback to Alice’s larceny a couple of minutes later. Once downtown Tokyo is engulfed in a full-on zombie rampage, we get a shot of a cop running to the looted cop car and stopping, looking at the window and being all, “What the fuck happened to my gear?”
Alice is long gone by then. Following the dubious logic of the Resident Evil franchise, she is headed towards a massive, obviously Umbrella-operated doorway that just opened up for no good reason. Luckily it stays open long enough for a shit-ton of zombies to follow our heroine inside, so before you can really think about it you’ve got RAD SLOW-MO FIGHT SCENE.
Trying to recap this fight scene would be like trying to recap a wrestling match between Rey Mysterio and a howler monkey, so I’m not gonna bother. Just know that there were a ton of flips, kicks, swinging chains, and some total gun badassery. This was another scene that could sell the 3D. It’s also worth noting that white backgrounds make the effects pop like mad and this movie thus far has had a lot of white backgrounds.
Once all the zombies are dead, about a thousand more zombies start running into the hallway where Alice just ruled ass. This chick knows her limitations (especially after that dirty dastard Albert Wesker stole her super-science T-Virus powers last time) and hauls ass out of there.
Naturally she emerges into the Umbrella Corporation’s Main Control Room, which is only slightly less ridiculous than Noomi Rapace just happening across the room where they were hiding that ancient dude in Prometheus (which I cannot wait to see again).
Side Note: Which science fiction undergarments do you prefer? Alice’s pieces of paper or Noomi and Charlize’s gauze? I like the papers, but they’re both pretty nice and equally implausible.
A bunch of control consoles pop up out of the floor, each manned by a couple of dead folks. Not zombie dead, just dead dead.
Then Wesker and Ada Wong show up and brother, Ada Wong cannot act for shit. The interesting counterpoint to this is the fact that the guy playing Albert Wesker might be the very best actor ever in the universe, because he is terrible. Not terrible in the way that Ada Wong is terrible, but terrible in exactly the same way acting in video games is terrible. It’s astonishing. I can’t imagine what sort of talent it takes to do… that. Heck, I can’t even quite describe what that is. It’s just this weird, stilted, emotionless delivery that video games have and you accept because it’s a video game. Except it’s not emotionless – it’s almost like there’s a ton of emotion, but those digitized characters just don’t have quite the means to express them. That’s exactly what the dude playing Wesker does. It’s like he’s just an ass hair shy of screaming and yelling and giggling all the time.
Whereas Ada Wong sounds like she’s reading a telephone book and just knows that nobody’s paying attention.
It’s worth noting that Ada Wong is not the worst actor in this movie.
So Albert Wesker isn’t actually in the control room, he’s just a big video display like Max Headroom. Actually, I was kind of hoping he had downloaded himself into the internet or something, but this was not the case. It turns out Wesker and Wong are good guys now and Wesker is in charge of an anti-Umbrella group of people. He tells Alice that the Red Queen (the creepy little girl hologram from the first movie) is no controlling all of Umbrella’s operations. Alice is not actually in Tokyo, she is in an Umbrella testing….
Hey.
HEY!
Pay attention! I know this is, like, three minutes of exposition and it’s hard to pay attention because you want more hardcore zombie action ASAP; but this is where the entire rest of the movie is explained. Just listen for a couple of minutes and everything else will almost make sense. Yeah, I know it was a poor decision to have Ada and Alice just stand there listening to Wesker. They should have been doing nude yoga or something.
So our current setting is deep under the Arctic Circle (or maybe Antarctic – who knows?) in an Umbrella facility where there are a bunch of different domed environments – Tokyo, Moscow, New York, Toronto (which doubled for other cities because as Hollywood knows, Toronto looks like everywhere), and Dubuque. Okay, not really Dubuque. But the largest and central dome was “Suburbia”. The original purpose of these environments was to allow the Umbrella Corporation – which seems to get progressively more evil with each movie – to demonstrate the capabilities of its T-Virus to various countries so that they would buy it as a biological weapon. This worked so well that Earth is now covered in zombies. I was actually relieved to hear this, as I thought we were going to find out everything from the last four movies had been happening in these domes somehow. I am relieved to know that everything in the Resident Evil movieverse is still thoroughly fucked.
There’s some vague explanation for why these environments are still active even though there pretty much aren’t any countries left to sell biological weapons to; but it pretty much amounted to because Resident Evil.
Wesker tells Alice and Ada he has dispatched a team of terrible actors that look like video game characters to rescue them from the Umbrella facility. They have two hours to get to the chopper or… well, something. Also, the Red Queen has dispatched Umbrella troops so they need to move.
Then the Red Queen has some sort of silly battle with Wesker for control of the video screen and tells Alice, “None of you are getting out of here alive,” and Alice is all like, “I’ve heard that before, bitchcakes.”
Side Note: I find it amusing that Spellcheck recognized “bitchcakes” as a word, meaning I have used it before.
As Alice and Ada boom it out of the control center, we move up and out of the facility to the frozen wastes above. Yet another extremely GI Joe-looking vehicle is moving across the ice and it is chock full of hunky brosephs, one of whom is unmistakably Leon Kennedy. Like, to the point where even if you’ve never even played a Resident Evil video game, you’d look at this guy and go, “Oh, that’s supposed to be Leon Kennedy.”
There’s another guy that I thought of as Asian Ryan Reynolds, but Mrs. Troublemaker told me he wasn’t Asian and didn’t look anything like Ryan Reynolds. But he was clearly filling a role meant for Ryan Reynolds. Like, in an alternate universe where Green Lantern did what it should have done to Reynolds’ career, he was totally in this role. I was surprised to find out later that this actor played Jonah the dog-faced boy on Dark Angel. And I’m still calling him Asian Ryan Reynolds.
The only other guy that matters is Suave Black Guy. There might have been four or five other dudes, but they’re just around to get killed.
So Team Axe Body Spray parked their GI Joe Snow Cat beside some generators that look exactly like the ones that I thought the Empire blew up on Hoth and take a big, circular elevator with flags painted on it down into the Umbrella facility. On the way down they dispose of their heavy winter coats because it’s not like they’re ever going to need them again and also MUSCLES.
The guys arrive in Fake Moscow and the Red Queen sends Las Plagas after them. I’m assuming Las Plagas is something from the games. I dunno. The last Resident Evil I played was 4 and I only got to play it for, like, ten minutes. The third one is still my favorite. Anybody know if 6 is going to be any good? I skipped 5 because it looked like it was one big escort mission and I fucking hate escort missions.
Oh, sorry.
In the movie, Las Plagas is a bunch of zombie soldiers with lots of big guns, rocket launchers, and jeeps with big guns and rocket launchers. There’s even one with a chainsaw because Resident Evil. I don’t know why they’re in Russia because “Las Plagas” sounds Spanish to me, but again – Resident Evil.
Team Axe Body Spray does alright against the horde of armed undead, at least until the one with the chainsaw gets through and cuts one of the bros in half. Only then do they decide that maybe they should just keep moving and find the hot ladies they were sent to rescue rather than stand around shooting at hundreds of zombies.
Meanwhile, Alice and Ada are in fake New York where they fight two gigantic dudes with axes and bags on their heads that I, quite frankly, thought were from silent Hill. And when I say “gigantic dudes” I mean literally giants. Like, fifteen feet tall or something. And they looked great. I had no sense whatsoever that these guys were CGI or superimposed or anything. The battle between the ladies and the giants was slick and entertaining. The giants moved through and interacted with the environment so well that I wasn’t taken out of the movie for even a second. Well, at least not until Alice and Ada blew up a car whole standing about two feet away from it. That was pretty stupid, but it did look awesome, especially when the car exploded backwards into the two giants, propelling them into another explosion, causing a third explosion. Triple explodery negates defiance of physics. Because Resident Evil.
Ada and Alice escape from New York (see what I did there?) only to emerge into the Suburbia dome, which looks an awful lot like the Raccoon City from Alice’s dream. As a matter of fact, it is the Raccoon City from Alice’s dream. A lingering shot on a crashed helicopter – crashed in precisely the same manner as one in the earlier sequence – proves this. Alice spots movement in a nearby house and the pair enter to check it out. That’s not even logic specific to Resident Evil, that’s just good horror movie logic.
Alice finds the room where she and her daughter were hiding in her dream and approaches the closet.
Now, we all knew her stupid daughter was going to be in there. My thought here was, “How awesome would it be if instead of her daughter being in that closet a zombie busted out right before she opened it?” and then a zombie busted out right before she opened it and it actually made me jump because as much as I thought that would be a cool thing to happen, I never thought it actually would. Good job, Paul WS Anderson. After a brief fight Alice dispatched the undead surprise and then her daughter showed up. Dammit.
Alice is all confused and torn because she doesn’t actually have a daughter and the daughter is all confused because all of a sudden Mommy is a brunette and wearing really tight clothes with lots of buckles all over. I thought it was a nice touch that they took a second for that rather than just going with because Resident Evil.
As soon as Alice gets back downstairs the Umbrella Clone Squad shows up with a bunch of troopers. They might have been clones, too for all I know. But they had masks on. If you’re thinking too hard this part could be really confusing, as the Clone Squad consists of Michelle Rodriguez (not the hippie one), Oded Fehr (not the husband one), and the black guy from the first movie (no longer diced). Alice’s daughter is all like, “Daddy!” and Alice goes, “That’s not your daddy,” and then everybody starts shooting. Ada Wong may not be much of an actress, but she handles her action scenes really well. There’s this one spot where the movie has to explain that Ada Wong has a grappling gun like Batman’s, but rather than have her explain to anybody that it is a grappling gun, she shoots it through a dude from across the kitchen and yanks him into the counter to kill him. That way, when she gives it to Alice a minute later you know, “Oh, Alice is going to need to go upwards later,” and they don’t have to waste time talking when things could be bleeding or blowing up.
The reason Ada gives Alice the grappling gun is because she is going to stay behind and keep the Clone Squad busy so Alice and Alice, Jr. can escape. There’s no real reason for this self-sacrifice other than because Resident Evil (though later on we kind of find out why – I’m telling you, there is a logic to a lot of this that I think people miss).
Alice and her daughter make their way to a subway station where they meet up with Hippie Michelle Rodriguez. She immediately punches Alice in the face and shoves the kid on the ground, all like, “Why the fuck did you assholes just leave me in the car after I saved your lives?”
I’m just kidding. She’s just happy to see them and then Alice shows her how to use a gun, which Hippie M-Rod uses to shoot the both of them because, holy shit, how could you just leave her in that car?
No, no – kidding again. Alice leaves her daughter with this complete stranger and goes off to find Team Axe Body Spray. There are a couple of hideously awkward lines after this that made me wonder if this movie actually had dialogue written in the script or if it was just descriptions of a series of events and explosions with “Alice says stuff here” or “Wesker explains plot” written in places. M-Rod says, “We need to find a place to hide,” and then immediately follows it up with “Let’s see if we can hide over here.” It’s just weird and unnatural and I wonder if it was maybe ADR so she isn’t just silently walking Alice’s daughter away with a gun. I was kind of hoping they were both going to get killed anyway, so I didn’t care too much.
I’m gonna be honest – I don’t totally recall the next sequence of events. But somehow Alice and her daughter and Hippie M-Rod meet up with what remains of Team Axe Body Spray and they make their way to a huge chamber with a submarine in it. Somebody – maybe Leon, but who cares? – explains that this used to be a Russian submarine factory and that Umbrella used the sub to transport the T-Virus to the purchasing nations. The group gets to the giant circular elevator, but then a Licker shows up and kills Hippie M-Rod, slashes Asian Ryan Reynolds, and steals Alice’s daughter. There is an absolutely hilarious segment here where Alice says she is going after her Fake Daughter and Leon tries to talk her out of it. This is easily the worst scene in the whole movie because nobody – not Alice, not Leon, not the audience – believes for a second Alice isn’t going after that girl. And the actors don’t even try to sell it. I shit you not – Leon is almost laughing through the whole scene, like the actor is thinking, “This is so dumb. Nobody’s going to buy this.”
Milla Jovovich is not a bad actress. Yeah, she’s punched, kicked, grimaced, and slinked her way through five of these movies now; but she’s always convincing and her performance never seems fake or phoned-in. And we’ve seen her in other movies where she successfully portrayed emotions other than “kill zombies”. But man – this scene was just a dud.
Alice goes off to find her daughter – which is honestly kind of dumb anyway, because the Lickers are these huge, animalistic monsters that have never been shown to have any motivation other than to murder or at least mutilate and I can’t imagine why Alice thought her daughter would still be alive. And it’s not even her real daughter, anyway. There’s also a Significant Moment between Suave Black Guy and Alice, but she’s got shit to do. Maybe he’ll get to be Dream Husband in the next movie.
So Alice follows the rabbit up the hole and Team Axe Body Spray stay behind to fix the elevator.
It’s about that time when Jill show up with the Umbrella Clone Squad, who have captured Ada Wong. There’s some talking here, but it really doesn’t matter because there are bullets that need to be fired. Asian Ryan Reynolds lets himself get shot to pieces so that Ada and Leon and Suave Black Guy can get away and this part was totally stupid. Right as he steps out to surrender he throws his gun up in the air and everybody shoots him. He falls down, but then sits back up and catches his pistol and shoots Clone Black Guy From The First Movie. I think it would have been cool if Actual Ryan Reynolds had done it or maybe if they had expanded on this guy’s character, but it just seemed weird.
Alice has wandered into an entirely different movie at this point. I say this because if it wasn’t clear before that things were being lifted rather heavy-handedly from Aliens it becomes undeniable when Alice finds Newt… er, her surrogate daughter encased in a giant, gooey sac thing. She tells Alice that they mostly come out at night – mostly, then the Licker shows up and Alice says, “Get away from her, you bitch!” and shoots it out an airlock.
That’s actually sort of what happened.
On their way to meet up with the remnants of Team Axe Body Spray, Alice and Sort-Of-Newt stumble into a huge room that looks like some kind of futuristic dry cleaners with massive hanging conveyors spiraling down from above. Except rather than suits and button-up shirts, there are people hanging from the conveyors. Thousands of clones are being moved through the room and a ton of them are Alice. Alice, Jr. is understandably freaked out by this, but Alice explains that she’s her real mom and is going to take care of her.
Side Note: At some point earlier in the movie it was explained that Umbrella had a certain number of template human beings it cloned to use in its simulations. They are simply imprinted with a certain set of memories and sent about their business in one of the environments until the Biohazard of choice was unleashed. I liked that they used the term “Biohazard” several times in the movie to describe the outbreaks or viruses since that’s the Japanese name of the Resident Evil franchise. All of this clone business might seem hard to swallow, but the idea of Umbrella being proficient cloners was actually introduced two movies ago when it was revealed they had created hundreds of Alice clones in an attempt to find another subject that could bond with the T-Virus in the same way that Alice had. This led to Alice discovering a huge ditch full of dead Alices. It was a pretty impactful visual.
Speaking of impactful, right after the touching mother/not-daughter moment the giant Licker leaps out and lands right in front of the pair. 
I guess it didn’t get shot out of an airlock, after all. But that’s okay because Alice drops a bandolier full of Umbrella grenades on the ground and uses the GRAPPLING GUN to zip out of the clone storage chamber while HUGE EXPLOSION happens below.
Back at the elevator Suave Black Guy and Leon have finally gotten the thing working. They’re ready to bail, but know they can’t leave without Alice. Fortunately she shows up just in time. As the elevator moves up to the surface, the explosives that Team Axe Body Spray set way back when they first showed up (I think I forgot to mention that) went off, flooding the facility and giving us some really awesome visuals. It’s not often you get to see New York, Moscow, and Tokyo covered in billions of gallons of water all at the same time.
The surviving protagonists reach the surface and pile into the GI Joe Snow Cat, which then drives off across the ice.
Of course that’s not the end.
The ice starts shaking and rather than speeding up or driving in a different direction, our heroes stop and GO CHECK IT OUT. As soon as they get outside the ice starts cracking and buckling and the top of the Umbrella submarine thrusts up through the ground. Jill and Evil Clone M-Rod emerge with a handcuffed Ada Wong in tow. Alice is all like, “Oh, shit – I totally forgot about the Big Showdown,” and Jill goes, “I know, right?”
Alice squares off with Jill to determine who has the sexiest jumpsuit and M-Rod injects herself with Las Plagas (it turns out Las Plagas is a parasite that gives you super abilities) and starts fighting Leon and Suave Black Guy. Both of these fights are totally rad. Seriously. Alice versus Jill>Bane versus Batman x10. For real.
And then M-Rod straight-up kills Suave Black Guy with a single palm thrust to the chest and the camera goes all Mortal Kombat and shows his sternum cracking and his heart just stopping. It was awesome except for the fact that Suave Black Guy was pretty cool and it was kind of a bummer he died.
Meanwhile, after two whole movies, Alice finally realizes all she has to do to release Jill from Umbrella’s control is rip that ugly ruby spider off of her cleavage. So she does and then shoots it to pieces and Jill is weakened but good again. Just in time for Alice to have to fight M-Rod.
This fight is also good, but not as good as Alice versus Jill just because Alice has kind of already had her ass kicked a lot. M-Rod uses the same palm thrust on Alice that she did on Suave Black Guy, but I guess it doesn’t hit quite right because it just makes Alice breather in a really sexy way. Well, pretty much everything Alice does is in a sexy way, but she does it harder. As our heroine falls to the ice, she sees a hideous face beneath and gets an idea. Jill tosses her a gun and Alice shoots the ice out from underneath M-Rod, where a shit-ton of Las Plagas soldiers grab her and pull her below. This was an awesome visual because it was a long distance shot of Rodriguez struggling at the top of this massive pyramid of zombies, slowly being pulled into their midst.
Then a chopper shows up and rescues the survivors.
Get ready, because this shit is not over. The next scene is unbelievable.
Alice, Alice, Jr., Leon, Jill, and Ada arrive at the White House. Yes. Seriously. That White House. It is clear from the conditions inside that it has been turned into the base of operations for some sort of military campaign. Alice is escorted into the Oval Office, where – of course – Albert Wesker is waiting for her. Without so much as a how-do-you-do he injects her with the T-Virus. Alice is understandably pissed, but Wesker explains that the Red Queen has decided to wipe out the human race and that super-powered Alice might be their only hope. You might be inclined to disbelieve Wesker or think that he is overstating the situation, but then everybody goes out to the roof of the white House and witnesses the CRAZIEST SHIT I HAVE EVER SEEN.
As the camera pulls back (in a fashion very similar to the “Holy Shit!” reveal of the first movie) it is revealed that the White House is surrounded by tanks and military vehicles which are, in turn, surrounded by walls which are, in turn, surrounded by trenches which are, in turn surrounded by BILLIONS OF MONSTERS AND ZOMBIES. There are machine guns firing and flamethrowers belching flames into the hordes. Winged monsters are flying around everywhere (in and out of the screen, thanks to the excellent 3D). It looks like the cover of a Sepultura album.
And then the credits roll.
I totally dug that movie. Sure, there was a lot of stupid and a ton of the acting was wretched; but the bulk of the responsibility for entertainment was placed on Milla Jovovich and the visuals and both of those delivered big time. If you hate Paul WS Anderson or the Resident Evil franchise itself, Retribution won’t change your mind. I’m sure you’ll enjoy that Ang Lee movie about the kid in the boat.
Resident Evil: Retribution is no classic. It’s not genius filmmaking and it isn’t going to revolutionize Hollywood. But it isn’t trying to. Paul WS Anderson just wants to entertain us with zombies, explosions, and his hot wife and for me it all totally worked.
4 out of 5
Yep. And in case you’re curious, here’s the franchise in order of how much I like them from worst to best:
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (the only one I actively dislike)
Resident Evil: Afterlife
Resident Evil: Retribution
Resident Evil
Resident Evil: Extinction
I am totally stoked about 3D movies now. I should have a review of Dredd sooner than later.
-Phantom

2 comments:

  1. OMG I loved this 'summary' of the movie. Love the names especially lol, suave black guy and team axe body spray almost made me piss myself. lmfao. and I agree the white house scene was EPIC and I think the oly thing saving these movies is milla jovovich, great actress

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Now I'm pissed that Walmart didn't do a special edition metal case to match the rest of the series.

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