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.
Despite a cool slo-mo backwards opening credits roll this is easily the worst of the series to date. At one point Alice remarks 'i've heard that before' and we the audience couldn't agree with her sentiment more. Same old characters, same old flip flop of heroes and villians,same old tired monsters this time mostly in a VR land that makes no sense on reflection. Like the last entry best shot is the final cliffhanger.