The Resident Evil series has had a turbulent time, both on the big screen and in the prolific game saga which has spanned a massive 17 years!!! There's been truly amazing hits and quite frankly some thoroughly disappointing entries in both game and film.
The original film was always going to be a challenge, the Resident Evil games are a holy grail for some gamers, being the one and only survival horror worth playing. Personally I think it was probably the most atmospheric and dark films that has been released in the series. In fact there's only really one of the RE films which I think is a bucket of monkey turd and that's the third instalment - Resident Evil Extinction..........what a disappointment. Now you would argue that across the films its quickly moving away from the zombie factor and focusing more on action and set pieces which is completely true but I also believe that gone are the days of old where slow walking, pale faced bumbling zombies are actually scary. Resident Evil Retribution tries in no way to scale away from the epic action angle that its predecessors have taken, yet it definitely delivers a truly interesting entry.
The film gets going and soon enough were back with Alice as she is waking up in what seems like a new 'normal' life, with a child and a husband. She is soon thrown into a zombie apocalypse and realises that she is in an Umbrella underground facility. She wakes up being interrogated by Jill, now being controlled by the red scarab attached to her chest. Ada Wong shows up to try and save Alice and Wesker appears on screen to explain that the Red Queen is now in full control of the Umbrella infrastructure. Alice is told that she is now in an underwater facility where they run simulated outbreaks in different parts of the world to enable them to sell the T-Virus to other countries. Sounds complicated but it's not that hard to follow...there's plenty of old faces that turn up which will please fans of the previous films and games. Leon is sent in with a team to save Alice before Jill and the Red Queen can kill her.
The team must battle through the different environments and meet up to escape, but the Red Queen does everything in her power to stop it. The action sequences themselves are stunning at times especially on Blu-Ray and the CGI is absolutely spot on. I love the nazi-esque zombies and the 'boss' scenes are engrossing.
One of the biggest strengths in the film (the action sequences) also at times act as a disadvantage too, the main problem being that you no longer have the suspense of the team being savaged by zombies and at times they look like they have a certain invulnerability. In one particular scene Leon and his men are surrounded by the biggest nazi-zombie army fully equipped with tanks, rpg's and an endless supply of ammo yet Leon and his men seem to fend them off for an eternity without having to reload! It does get slightly ridiculous at times and as I've said before the films have evolved over time from a dark zombie homage to the games to an action packed spectacular. If you can put up with the fact that the films are changing just as much as the games then you will appreciate like me that the action scenes are pretty incredible.
In terms of gore (remember this is a 15), there isn't bucket loads. Gone are the days of nasty flesh ripping zombies! However there a few scenes which still hold the trademarks of a Resident Evil film. There's plenty of CGI knocking around and it all looks good, including the zombies and the various monsters encountered.
A mention must go to the two female leads, Milla Jovovich and Sienna Guillory if not for solid acting then for sex appeal. Skin tight leather clad body suits is definitely eye catching!
Overall Resident Evil Retribution is a far cry from the original RE, but just like its predecessors has taken a high impact action approach. Do not expect a slow paced zombie film with scares and tension because this is not it. The team are kick ass, taking down anything in its way, the action and CGI is overpowering and its clear to see that this simply is an action film using the RE franchise. Fancy an action film, give it a chance!