Action sequences have new energy and seem fresher than ever. A new Asian action actress is a sexy addition as is Jill Valentine who's back but now in a bad-ass insanely sexy outfit. Too many returning characters and plot-lines mean that this is mainly for the fans.
Not an adaptation of a video game but an adaptation of all video games AS video games, digital constructs where humans are reduced to pure information and instruments. Anderson plays fast and loose with game conventions, yet ends up with a detailed insight on the art of the new millenium, the rise of games and the fall of cinema. Perhaps it could have been 15 minutes shorter, but everything before is a masterpiece.
Resident Evil Marathon, Hour 8.9: Things seem to be happening backwards, now. We keep revisiting the same lines, scenes and faces - the credits are literally regressing. I missed Guillory's soap-opera-camp Jill Valentine until I looked it up and realized it's still Guillory. My reality is slipping. It really is like I'm forced to watch my idiot brother play a video game. My agency, my will, is leaving me.
Few filmmakers let space be such a large part of their narratives like WS and his areas of play. These frame and affect the action, and condition character decisions to their rules. Here, the Kamchatka facility is the valley of the uncanny for viewer and Alice alike; transforming settings we know (at least cinematically) into menacing ("You are all going to die.") arenas for slaughter. How far can the rules be bent?
The opening credits rewind the ending of the previous installment in slo-mo, then Milla's character summarizes the whole story of the franchise thus far, then it fast forwards the same scene of the credits that was just shown. Then the actual events that open Retribution initially are as disorienting and baffling as in a wacko arthouse techno-thriller. Too bad it becomes the routine shoot-and-kick-them-up afterward.
The only reason Retribution is engaging at all is because every new scene introduces some shockingly dumb new element that defies expectation and comprehension. Even going into it expecting it to do no justice to the video game series, it's one of the absolute worst action movies I've ever seen.