Movie Week: Resident Evil: Retribution

For this Movie Week, Mike and I decided on a B-movie – Resident Evil: Retribution.  Recently we’ve been reviewing blockbusters, and felt that we should try something more along the lines of our prior ‘Ghost Rider’ viewing (Mike’s review, my review).  I’ve long had a guilty liking of the Resident Evil series, and there was a new one coming out….

The Resident Evil movie series is based on the popular Biohazard computer game, which I’ve never played.  I avoid most computer games – I imagine that I would be drawn in and spend entirely too much time on them.  However, in its place the movie series has managed to grab hold of me.  The first Resident Evil movie was a very well-done affair with fun characters, a straightforward plotline, and enough action, horror, and plot twists to satisfy most viewers.  Unfortunately, the subsequent movies in the series never quite measured up to the initial movie.  Their need to increase the drama, the action, and the surprises eventually made it hard to maintain a reasonable suspension of disbelief.

The newest entry in the series involves the attempt by Alice, the main character, to reach sanctuary after the destruction of most of the world by the T-virus unleashed by the Umbrella Corporation in the first movie, and to punish the remaining officers of the Umbrella Corporation, as they attempt to control what remains of the world.  Like any movie based on a computer game, the movie moves through distinct phases, each a set piece that sets up a series of actions for the characters to work their way through, and a goal that they must achieve.

This movie had some great chapters, with lots of explosions, zombie-killing, and thrilling derring-do.  It was significantly better than the last two movies, Resident Evil: Extinction and Resident Evil: Afterlife.  It succeeded in its major goals – to entertain, to seemingly advance the plotline without really achieving much, to provide fodder for more computer games, and to convince movie-goers to try the computer games.

If you go into the movie without huge expectations, then you’re likely to be rewarded with a fun experience.  The Resident Evil series will never be high-concept, and for the most part are forgettable, but sometimes you want a tasty snack rather than a gourmet meal.

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