ďProject Alice, Youíre all going to die down here.Ē
- The Red Queen
ďIíve heard that before.Ē
Iíd actually seen all four of the previous Resident Evil films in the theatre, liking the first one, finding the third (Resident Evil: Extinction) a guilty pleasure and finding the fourth (Resident Evil: Afterlife) wildly uneven but still at times idiotically enjoyable. That being so, I felt no need whatsoever to head out to see the latest entry in writer/director Paul W.S. Andersonís ongoing video game-inspired trek into zombie-action-science fiction-horror-comic book esthetics, and even with the promised return of fan favorites Michelle Rodriguez, Sienna Guillory and Oded Fehr Resident Evil: Resurrection on the surface looked like it had precious little to offer.
That early assessment, based only on trailers and descriptions of the plot, was far too kind. After watching the sequel at home, Resident Evil: Resurrection comes off as nothing more than a tired cash grab, Anderson apparently so bored with the material itís almost impossible to figure out why he and star Milla Jovovich even bothered. There is no plot, no care for the characters, no reason for any of this to exist, the action sequences themselves delivered with no discernible flair making the movie itself a boring, inert mess not even fans of the series will end up caring to bother watching.
The plot picks up right at the end of Afterlife, Alice waking up in an underground lair in the wilds of Russia once again facing off against the maniacal Red Queen. The computer has taking Umbrella to a new level, using legions of clones to test new versions of the T-virus in order to accelerate world domination. Mysteriously aided by primary adversary Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), a team of mercenaries have been sent down into Umbrella to facilitate Aliceís escape. All sorts of monstrous mayhem obviously ensue.
Fine. Dandy. Sounds like the making of B-grade over-the-top zombie-fueled silliness that could end up being a bunch of guilty pleasure fun. But it isnít. Not ever. And if not for a somewhat inspired opening sequence in a creepily eerie suburbia thereís little to no imagination on display in this fifth chapter in the series whatsoever. Everyone is going through the motions, nothing more, everything building to a tiredly inept climax that has me hugely disinterested to know what happens next.
Everyone is wasted, Rodriguez (who can still kick-butt with the best of them) and Fehr particularly so. Guillory fares a tiny bit better than the rest but not by much, while Afterlife survivor Boris Kodjoe also returns even though Anderson and his script refuse to do a single interesting thing with him. There are some impressive creatures, and the special effects are relatively solid, but when the narrative is this threadbare and nondescript none of that matters in the least bit, and by the time the film ended the reverberations of my continued yawning could probably be felt throughout all of downtown Seattle.
Will fans care? Yes, this time I think they will. Resident Evil: Resurrection isnít just a bad film, itís made without any sort of concern for its audience. Anderson is picking up a paycheck here, nothing more, and as bored as he apparently has become with this series I canít imagine if a sixth chapter is made anyone anywhere is going feel even slightly inclined to take a look at it.
Resident Evil: Resurrection is presented on a dual-layer 50GB 3DBlu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video with a 2.40:1/1080p transfer. A 2D version of the movie is also included on the same disc.
The Blu-ray feature English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtracks as well as French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks and feature optional English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Extras here include:
∑ Audio Commentary with writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson and actors Mila Jovovich and Boris Kodjoe
∑ Audio Commentary with writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt
∑ Deleted & Extended Scenes (3D, 12:35)
∑ Outtakes (3D, 4:36)
∑ Project Alice: The Interactive Database
∑ Maestro of Evil: Directing Resident Evil: Retribution (8:06)
∑ Evolving Alice (6:50)
∑ Resident Evil: Reunion (9:42)
∑ Design & Build: The World of Resident Evil: Retribution (9:11)
∑ Drop (Un) Dead: The Creatures of Retribution (6:58)
∑ Resident Stuntman (6:17)
∑ Code: Mika (5:34)
∑ Resident Evil: Retribution - Face of the Fan (3:17)
Itís interesting that Anderson puts far more energy and enthusiasm into his pair of audio commentaries than he apparently did in either the writing or the directing of the film, but there it is all the same. At the same time, itís equally obvious that Jovovich is still having something close to a blast making these movies, her enthusiasm for the character and her close involvement in the fight sequences moderately infectious.
As for the rest, itís a lot of material and I imagine only diehard fans are going to want to dive into all of it. Disc two truly is loaded, however, and as lame as the movie itself is going into the bits, pieces and whatevers it took to make it is admittedly somewhat interesting.
Resident Evil: Retribution is the lamest entry in the ongoing series, mainly because it is so obviously going through the motions and nothing more. Still, Sonyís 3D Blu-ray presentation is close to technical perfection, and Iím sure fans will still want to add it to their collection no matter what I have to say as to the actual filmís quality (or lack thereof).