Review: Resident Evil: Retribution

Resident Evil: Retribution

  • Starring:  Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element), Sienna Guillory (Eragon), Michelle Rodriguez (S.W.A.T.) and more.
  • Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat, Event Horizon)
  • Synopsis: “The Umbrella Corporation’s deadly T-virus continues to ravage the Earth, transforming the global population into legions of the flesh eating Undead. The human race’s last and only hope, Alice (Milla Jovovich), awakens in the heart of Umbrella’s most clandestine operations facility and unveils more of her mysterious past as she delves further into the complex. Without a safe haven, Alice continues to hunt those responsible for the outbreak; a chase that takes her from Tokyo to New York, Washington, D.C. and Moscow, culminating in a mind-blowing revelation that will force her to rethink everything that she once thought to be true. Aided by newfound allies and familiar friends, Alice must fight to survive long enough to escape a hostile world on the brink of oblivion. The countdown has begun..” (-Collider)
  • Rated: Rated R for strong intense violence.
  • Trailer:

Soooo, after FOUR previous Resident Evil movie installments that all pretty much had the same basic plot (Skilled fighter chick fights against an evil corporation in a post-apocalyptic world, finds other survivors among the carnage of zombies and creatures nigh-impervious to bullets, uncovers secrets/twists/plans of sinister origins, and survives to carry hope into another day/sequel), here comes another Resident Evil movie.

Resident Evil: Retribution (referred to from here on out in this review as “RE5”) comes to the big screen with promise of being more, however. Being a part of the most successful video game movie franchise it continues the story of our familiar heroine, Alice (Jovovich), and reintroduces some familiar faces from the previous films. This action-packed adventure of Alice in Zombieland is definitely better than the last.

Let’s take a closer look at RE5

Some of my complaints in my review of Resident Evil: Afterlife (RE4) from two years ago were:

Resident Evil: Afterlife, unfortunately,was quite boring…to be blunt. I was disappointed…It starts off with a great action scene but gets boring quick. The gunfights, zombie killings, and explosions lead to the expected non-climatic battle, and then…it ends, with a tease for another sequel. The action scenes tossed in amid the monotone conversations, monologues, and dull “cookie-cutter” characters caused my eyelids to continue playing a game of peekaboo with the screen.

I am glad to report that, for the most part, RE5 was the opposite. (I did say “for the most part,” mind you.) RE5 plays out very well with respect to the feel of the video games themselves. Starting off with an in-depth recap, RE5 shows several of the memorable moments of the first films and quickly catches you up to speed with what is going on, thereby saving you from the need to have to suffer through all of the previous installments to have an understanding as to what in Alice’s world is going on.

So, here are some questions I had prior to seeing the film and afterwards I interviewed myself and revisited those questions. 😀  Thought I’d share:

  1. Is the plot the same as the others? Pretty much. Yes. Run, shoot, survive, fight a few big monsters, watch Milla kick butt! 😀
  2. Will this one have more of a video game feel to it, or will it be long and drawn out? A little bit of both. More video game -ish! Which works in its favor. But, by the end it goes a little long and gets a little lost in its direction/setup for another sequel (You knew it was coming).
  3. Are the characters more than 1-dimensional this time around? Actually, Alice’s character is more this time around, however, the supporting characters are exactly like what most adventure video game supporting characters are like. Alice gives reason to care…especially with her relationship with the young girl, Becky.
  4. Do you think Anderson took some notes from AMC’s The Walking Dead? Yes. I got some of the same sense of uneasiness and anxiety during some of the zombie scenes. Good action, no doubt! I’ll bet that Anderson and his wife, Milla, watch the show regularly. 😀 
  5. Are the 3D effects great? Yes! I would definitely encourage seeing this one in 3D. I enjoyed the effects.

Fans of the series will find more to enjoy, of course, with the inclusion of characters such as Jill Valentine, Rain, the Red Queen, Albert Wesker and more. They did quite a bit in order to pay “retribution” to fans after the poor presentation of the previous installments.

Is RE5 a groundbreaking film in terms of plot, characters, and videogame movie genre as a whole, or even acting itself? No, (as a matter of fact, most of the acting is quite stoic). But, what it does do is bring more character attachment to an already established heroine, put her in another film with tons of action, and makes up for some horrible mistakes in the past.

The addition of some rather unbelievable occurrences and fight scenes (yes, even unbelievable for a videogame movie…) takes RE5 a little over the top at times. It also could have ended before the seemingly thrown together final act in which the film loses steam. However, the first two acts made RE5 quite fun to watch…especially as all the work Milla and the crew put in to the choreographed fighting sequences and such.

Overall, Resident Evil: Retribution helps restore a little bit more faith in the franchise as we head toward the inevitable RE6. I remember after RE4, that Anderson and crew reached out to the fans in order to receive criticism and recommendations for the direction of RE5. It would seem that it paid off.

 Score:  3 out of 5 stars for Resident Evil: Retribution

For yet another perspective, see what my friend Dan from Fogs’ had to say about RE5: 

…“Resident Evil: Retribution” is a dumbly plotted, horribly acted film laden with ridiculous action sequences and ludicrous creature designs that have a tenuous connection to reality at best. By any objective qualitative measure, this movie fails. It’s poorly scripted, acted, and directed. It is literally laughably bad.

And as such, I loved every minute of it. I can’t wait for the next installment, and intend to catch up on the previous chapters ASAP.

The story of the movie basically boils down to “shoot your way out”. A true video game plot if ever I’ve heard one.

Not every movie can bring you this level of entertainment, people.

It’s ridiculous to the core, but thankfully Jovovich and Anderson know that the key to unintentional comedy is keeping a straight face. The creature designs are ludicrous, but they are actually supported by first-rate special effects.

The icing on this delectable cheesecake is display of bad acting the likes of which I’ve rarely seen.

This film earns the split grade! If you’re watching it for a serious movie, you know, you want to see something legitimately good… I would just ask, what are you thinking? C’mon. You know what this thing is gonna be. -Score: F

But if you’re looking for a cheese drenched slice of mindless entertainment (Read: Entertainment, less mind), they don’t get much better than this. I smiled the entire way through, and must have thought “Ohh ho hogh, that was awesome!” like 4, 5 times easily. :D -Score: A

😀 A split score from Dan! His entire review is so much fun to read. Be sure to see more of what he had to say about his first RE movie experience HERE. Thanks, Dan for sharing your thoughts!


Oh, and check out these additional posters for RE5! I liked them all and had a hard time choosing which one to feature at the top of the review!

Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer


  1. I have to admit, I’m disappointed to hear the last one was “boring”, I had hoped they’d all be these cheesily spectacular. 😀 I am encouraged by the fact that they all seem to have little to no plot. Thats encouraging! LOL

    You chose good snippets there, my review was well represented. My name is Dan Fogarty and I approved this message. 😀


  2. Great review, Terrence! I love these films (even the terrible ones!) and think they make great weekend filler when I’ve a few lazy hours to kill. Plus, I’m a Jovovich junkie from way back.

    I can’t wait to see this for myself!

    Oh, and a side note – if only they put as much effort into the film itself as they do for the posters, the films might turn out better….. thoughts?


  3. You know what? These Resident Evil flicks I can sit and watch when it’s shitty outside and there’s nothing better to do. They’re not among the worst films I’ve ever seen. They’re passable.

    This one sounds like it’s in the same vein. So maybe I will catch it. When it hits the small screen.


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