I can’t really remember what happened in the last installment in the Resident Evil series, or any of them, for that matter. I have seen them all, but that’s what happens when a movie is totally forgettable. Director Paul W.S. Anderson spends a few minutes at the start of this movie to explain to us what happened before. Do we need this? No, not really, because Retribution doesn’t concern itself with telling a compelling story, so why bother with a backstory. This is another one of those movies that is out there, but for whom was it made. Are there droves of fans out there clamoring for more Resident Evil? I imagine this is not the case.
I actually used to think Anderson was sort of an anti-genius because he made movies that were technically proficient and entertaining in a guilty pleasure kind of way. Event Horizon is still one of my favorite horror movies, however ludicrous it may be. In recent years he has more and more gone the Uwe Boll way. His movies have become less and less compelling and ultimately entirely forgettable. Resident Evil: Retribution is a good example of this. He doesn’t concern himself with telling a story that could be even remotely interesting. Fans of protracted slow-motion action sequences will find some satisfaction, but that is just about the only group of people who can find something to enjoy here.
What did struck me as interesting was how Retribution doesn’t even pretend to hide its videogame heritage. The videogame series has become more and more a simple shooter and Retribution follows suit. More so than ever this installment is divided in a level structure with everything we have come to expect from shooter games like Call of Duty. From Tokyo to New York to some generic suburban area. We jump from area to area, get new weapons, new enemies. The only thing missing is the first-person view. Everybody knows how much fun it is to sit next to somebody who is playing a videogame… well, that’s what watching Retribution feels like. Utterly uninvolving and boring.