Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)

After watching the second through fourth Resident Evil films, I ordered the fifth on DVD. My memory of the film from seeing it at the cinema was that it was very silly, but not much more than that. Watching it again proved to be pretty good fun, actually. I remembered stuff as it happened - actually, usually a bit before - which allowed me to just enjoy the ridiculous action sequences without paying much attention to the plot.

The fourth Resident Evil film ended with enemies swarming to attack the heroes. This one resumes at the end of that attack, then goes backward through the fight, in slow motion. We're then treated to a "the story so far" monologue from Milla Jovovich, before we see the action sequence again ... forwards and in normal speed this time. Well, it's a cheap way to pad your film by four minutes, I guess.

Now back in the third film they established that the human villains of the series had sophisticated cloning technology, and this film explores the ramifications of that: we're confronted with a secret base where clones with implanted memories are dropped into staged zombie attacks and the outcomes studied for ... purposes. Initially it was to sell the bioweapons technology, but since the world is now overrun with flesh-eating undead, the purpose of continuing to slaughter clones is less clear. A cynical person might say "It's so they can fake us out by having clones of key characters get killed" or "It's to justify the massive zombie hordes that get slaughtered in this film". It also gives them a reason to have Michelle Rodriguez, Oded Fehr and Colin Salmon return to the franchise though, and I'm ok with that.

Alas, the film also brings back Sienna Guillory, who remains as utterly unsuited to the role of Jill Valentine in this as she was in the second movie.

But you know what, this is the fifth film in a female-led action franchise, in which both the top two credited stars are women, and - for all it's nothing more than a loosely justified series of action set pieces, plus a blatant rip off of the Ripley/Newt subplot from Aliens - that's a pretty cool thing. I look forward to the next time Milla Jovovich jumps around the screen shooting zombies.

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