I hate to sound like a Negative Nancy, but the script was mostly incoherent and the acting was sub-par at best. I went through the entire film thinking, “a movie is supposed to be a story” — whereas this felt like an incomplete chapter. I know we don’t walk into a Resident Evil film thinking it’s gonna be a classic, but it should at least have a captivating story. This film, like the previous installment, relied too heavily on the CGI.
If you’ve missed one or two of the Resident Evil entries since the original big hit in 2002, there’s no need to worry, so have some of the actors. Reprising roles from one previous films or another are: Michelle Rodriguez (Rain, No. 1), Oded Fehr (Carlos, Nos. 2 and 3), Sienna Guillory (Jill, Nos. 2 and 4) and Boris Kodjoe (Luther, No. 4). Don’t fret, either, if you’ve never seen one of these films in your life. A handy prologue, narrated by Alice, lays it all out for you.
I was also a little turned off by how they just plucked things out of various Resident Evil games and stuck them all in together to appease gamers, it’s a complete “let’s just stick this in there, that should suffice” mentality. And yes, I do understand that the majority of people who go see these films are fans of the gaming series, but for those who aren’t, they wouldn’t know who some of the characters were.
As for the 3-D, it’s pleasing if you’re an occasional moviegoer, but for those who judge a 3-D experience based on the number of objects that fly out of the screen, you might be in for a little bit of a disappointment. The 3-D was seldom used during this film. This isn’t a big issue for myself, as I’m not really a fan of it being incorporated into film.
In conclusion: Resident Evil: Retribution is style-over-substance in every possible definition of the concept. The plot only served as an excuse to move the characters quite literally from one action sequence to the next, and the 3-D is uncomfortable, off-putting, and will more than likely draw you out of the ensuing onscreen action. A number of later developments clearly show that the director (Paul W.S. Anderson) avoided emotional character moments in favor of over-the-top action at every single turn. However, in a time when amateur filmmakers can throw together cool action videos with blockbuster CGI special effects in their home office, context and competent storytelling should be more relevant than ever. If Anderson doesn’t care enough about his characters and story to make them anything but emotionless fighting and shooting machines, why should we, the audience, care to sign up for further installments of his Resident Evil vision?