Resident Evil: Retribution (Blu-ray Review)

I have to admit, while covering Sony’s Resident Evil Comic-Con panel in 2010 (here), I truly believed Resident Evil: Afterlife was going to be the last film in the franchise, at least for Milla Jovovich’s character and arc.  Was I ever wrong!  Not only did they prove my way of thinking incorrect, but Milla has returned for yet another bang ‘em up entry into the mostly forgettable zombie franchise, Resident Evil, and has recently confirmed her involvement in a sixth, and hopefully final entry that will end her character’s story and possibly set the tone for futures ones or a reboot without her.  Whatever the plan, it sounds good to me.  The Resident Evil movies are not going to get any critical acclaim or standing applause from the moviegoing community, but at the end of the day, it’s still an entertaining way to spend your time and escape for 90-minutes in lieu of dealing with real life.  So I’ll take it.  Here’s me raising my glass to episodes six, seven and hopefully beyond.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  We still have part five to discuss below.  We should get on with it.


Regrettably, I missed this one in the theater this past September.  The Dark Knight Rises was still going strong, taking priority in my life, and there were no press screenings for this one offered in my area.  And I know this sounds bad, but if I let a new release slip by a week or so out in the theater, I generally lax my position in going and nine times out of ten just wait for its eventual Blu-ray release (unless it’s Descent 2…dammit!).  And so I let time get the best of me and lo and behold…now it’s December, but Christmas wishes do come true sometime.  Santa Sony graciously offered me up Resident Evil: Retribution to review on Blu-ray and essentially put a smile on my face from ear-to-ear.  Take it from me, that’s hard to do.

So essentially, what it all boils down to is the realization that Resident Evil: Retribution is basically a cast reunion for the franchise.  Returning from the previous film are: Milla Jovovich (obviously) as Alice, Sienna Guillory (Jill Valentine) and Boris Kodjoe (Luther West).  Colin Salmon who played James “One” Shade and Michelle Rodriguez (yeah) who played Rain Ocampo in the first film return.  Oded Fehr who portrayed Carlos Olivera in the second and third film also returns.  Unfortunately,  Ali Larter (Claire Redfield), Wentworth Miller (Chris Redfield) and Spencer Locke (K-Mart) do not return this time around and their absence is explained by their characters being captured by Umbrella.  Boo!  I would have at least liked to see Ali one more time.

If you’re one of those who just love dumb senseless violent films, like Ghost Rider 2 for example, you’re going to love Resident Evil: Retribution.  I understand the hardcore fans will probably revisit and re-familiarize themselves with the previous four entries, but if you just want an a$$-kickin’ good time, that’s not necessary.  If you seen one Resident Evil movie, then you seen them all.  You kind of know what’s in store for you already.  RIght?

Well, here’s the cold hard truth.  Much of the above was written before I sat down with the film.  I never thought I’d be saying this, save for Piranha 3DD or the Silent Hill sequel, but Ghost Rider 2 is leaps and bounds better than this last Resident Evil entry.  Leaps and bounds!  And believe me, you don’t know how painful that is for me to say because I loathed Ghost Rider 2.  While you shouldn’t expect a lot from a Resident Evil movie, you sure shouldn’t have to sit through what I just sat through either.  Gawd!  It’s so awful I don’t even feel like recapping the plot.  It’s basically told to you on screen as the movie dumbs not only the viewers senses, but insults you left and right too.  But it’s a necessary evil as part of a Blu-ray review so I’ll slosh on.

After a tireless recap of all four previous films, the movie picks up immediately after the events in Afterlife.  Once again, Milla’s character wakes up from a coma like state and finds herself in a new Umbrella base environment, akin to a virtual like world I guess you can say.  After being interrogated by Jill Valentine, Alice meets up with a former Umbrella agent named Ada Wong (Li Bingbing) and she is told that Adam Wesker (Shawn Roberts) no longer works for Umbrella either.  He somehow survived the events in the last film (poor guy) and has sent a strike team to rescue both Alice and Ada.  Here’s where the feature’s plot is basically…well not basically spelled out for you…it’s told to you.  The Red Queen (think back to the first film) has taken back control of what’s left of Umbrella and Alice must survive to guarantee the genetic succession of the human population, which there’s supposedly not much left of anymore.  But who really cares?  Not me at this point.  So yada yada yada, Alice and gang battle just about every rehashed beast they have before in the previous films.  It’s quite boring and uneventful, almost like the recent Hobbit film, but much much worse.  And the acting…don’t even get me started.  I know there’s not much to work with here and you shouldn’t expect much, but by Lucifer’s cross this contains some of the worst acting I have ever seen in a film.  I’m going to stop right here.  My blood pressure is boiling thinking about this and re-living it in my mind.  A score of 1.5 feels way too kind.


Well the feature film may be FAR from perfect, but that’s not the case in the video department.  Unfortunately, it’s one of the finest presentations I have ever seen on the Blu-ray format.  But knowing that it was shot on the Red Epic, would you really expect anything less?  Like Resident Evil’s last entry on the Blu-ray format, the colors just vividly pop off the screen here in every way.  Flesh tones are always accurate and the black levels are always inky and crisp.  The MPEG-4 AVC 1080p transfer is presented in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio and boasts some of the finest detail known to man from stray fabrics in clothes to the smallest imperfections in Milla and Michelle’s skin.  It’s really quite striking and darn right impressive. There’s literally nothing to complain about (other than the feature film) and no ugly artifacts or noise to report on.  I’m at a loss for words.  Take that as a good sign.  Moving on…


Equally impressive as the video, Resident Evil: Retribution explodes on the Blu-ray format with a thunder punch of a soundtrack with its relentless DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless surround.  Once again, I’m at a loss of words on what to say here.  There’s nothing to complain about.  Wah!  Everything is just reference from the screams and gunshots to the smallest of sounds developing all around your viewing area.  Atmospheric elements are equally spaced and explosions and fighting rock your cranial.  Tomandandy’s musical score progresses both naturally, organically and rousingly throughout (maybe too triumphantly for the film’s sake) and most importantly, the dialogue is always loud, clear and prominent.  What’s there left to say?  Unfortunately again, this one is demo-worthy.  Get to it!

In addition to the English track, one can also find French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio selectable from the Blu-ray’s menu also available with English, French and Spanish subtitles.


I’m going to go on record and pay this Blu-ray yet another compliment (ugh) by saying Resident Evil: Retribution serves up quite the plentiful pallet of extra goodies.  From deleted and extended scenes to audio commentaries and multiple featurettes, I’m sure you’ll find something to tickle your fancy.  After all, you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t interested.  Let’s take a closer look at the many facets of the T-virus under my review microscope.  Shall we?

  • Audio Commentary – There are not one, but two audio commentaries that can be found here.  The first one showcases Writer/Director Paul W.S. Anderson and Actors Milla Jovovich and Boris Kodjoe where they kind of take a fan based approach to their onscreen conversation.  The second audio commentary houses Writer/Director Paul W.S. Anderson and Producer Jeremy Bolt.  They kind of dive deeper than the first commentary in the technical making of the film kind of subjects if you know what I mean.
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes (HD, 12:35) – There are a total of five scenes that can be found here: Suburban Attack — Extended, Alice Fights Undead in Corridor of Light — Extended, Undead Rain/Jill in the Control Room, Alice and Ada Find Becky — Extended, and Rain Captures Ada.
  • Outtakes (HD, 4:36) – Your usual outtake reel that clocks in a bit longer than “usual.”
  • Project Alice: The Interactive Database (HD) – “Power up the classified files of Umbrella Corporation’s greatest experiment: Project Alice.  Navigate through an interactive database, see exciting movie clips and investigate the living, the dead and the undead of the Resident Evil universe.”  There’s stuff to read here, some photos to see and a few quick videos to watch.
  • Maestro of Evil: Directing Resident Evil: Retribution (HD, 8:06) – Nothing’s sacred here as the cast and crew talk about everything, including Anderson and Jovovich’s marriage.  Quite interesting! 
  • Evolving Alice (HD, 6:50) – Here’s a short, but close up look at Alice under the microscope on how her character has grown over the past five films and all the battles and beasts she has faced.  I’m a fan of this one!
  • Resident Evil: Reunion (HD, 9:42) – Did you recognize some familiar faces in this one from the past Resident Evil films?  This one talks about just that.
  • Design & Build: The World of Resident Evil: Retribution (HD, 9:11) – Here’s a quick look at designing the special effects of the film. 
  • Drop (Un) Dead: The Creatures of Retribution (HD, 6:58) – Now this is what I’m talking about…a creature feature!  Here’s a closer look at the creatures found here in this fifth entry.
  • Resident Stuntman (HD, 6:17) – To go along with everything else here in this section, here’s a quick, but closer look at the film’s choreography.  These are always cool.
  • Code: Mika (HD, 5:34) – Actress Mika Nakashima talks about her role in the film.  This one is presented in Japanese language with English subtitles for all of you who don’t understand Japanese (what’s wrong with you?!).
  • Resident Evil: Retribution – Face of the Fan (HD, 3:17) – Fan Dylan Syrett talks about her unforgettable day on the set.
  • Capcom Game Trailers (HD) – For anyone in the market, there are three videogame trailers: Resident Evil 6 (3:54), Devil May Cry (2:14) and Dragon’s Dogma (2:06).
  • UltraViolet Digital Copy (SD) – Although I would have loved a “real” iTunes compatible Digital Copy of the film, beggars can’t be choosers.  You have to take what you can get.  It’s been what…over a year now and there’s really no evolution of the UV format, is there?  It’s still the same crap as day 1.


I guess my main question is how does a film like this get made?  I know the answers, the unfortunate box office numbers, but how much dumber can Hollywood treat us?  Please…that was rhetorical.  It’s just a shame that many artists never get recognized in the industry and dog piles of crap like this get green lit for over 65 million dollars.  It’s a very sad state of being when you really think about it and reflect on it.  In the case of Resident Evil: Retribution I’d rather not waste anymore time on it.  Once I post this review I’m cutting my ties with the franchise.  I don’t care one bit what happens or unfolds in the film’s sixth installment.  I was hoping the doomsday prophecies would have been true yesterday so the world would have been spared from it, but unfortunately it’s not going to be.  So what you have here, besides the abomination referred to as the feature film, is unfortunately a reference and demo-worthy Blu-ray, but it’s up to you as to whether you want to insult your guests with this deplorable flick.  I’d say rent it first…if you have to.  I’d feel really bad even encouraging you to buy this, from one former Resident Evil fan to another.  You’ve been warned.


9 Responses to “Resident Evil: Retribution (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Gregg

    Evan Dickson of bloodydisgusting.com could not have been more wrong about his claim that this is “the biggest and best Resident Evil yet.” That was that last RE movie. Brian could not have been more correct in his rating of this film. I file it in the same category as this year’s Total Recall for two reasons:
    A) it sucked
    B) it didn’t need to be made

    “Please…that was rhetorical. It’s just a shame that many artists never get recognized in the industry and dog piles of crap like this get green lit for over 65 million dollars.” PREACH!

  2. Gerard Iribe

    This is show BUSINESS not Show Art. You want art, there’s plenty of indy films for you guys to watch. Anderson films make money (his Resident Evil films anyway), so he gets more money to make more Resident Evil films that will make even more money. $$$$$$$$$

    It is what it is. Dumb fun. I enjoyed it. The Blu-ray is freakin’ DEMO material and I liked this installment more than the first film.

  3. Brian White

    It really saddens me that you would say something like that, G. Comments like that make me want to get out of the profession I am in here completely.
    You mentioned to me that Gus had it coming on the chatline for the way he treated people and I told you that’s the way it is in corporate America. I see it happen over and over.
    Comments like that above to me are like saying it’s okay to be a drug dealer or a criminal because that’s exactly what these people in Hollywood are that make this crap product and steal people’s money thinking they are paying for entertainment, but instead they are either paying their hard earned cash to take a nap, regret losing two hours of their life or walk out of a film early.
    People like me who spend years writing good stories don’t get a chance or even get noticed in Hollywood because all they are concerned with is ripping people off for a profit. You speak of conformity and corporate conglomerates well your comment just made you one of those peeps. I’m sorry to say.
    YES…Resident Evil movies are dumb, stupid fun. But when a movie becomes this dumb and it knows it, then I want no part of it whatsoever. I have written the franchise and Mr. Anderson off completely. Five minutes of an episode of Holliston are more entertaining that this POS film. Just because a Blu-ray has reference specs does not make it a good Blu-ray if the story is crap.

  4. Gerard Iribe

    Sure it does. It’s a BLU-RAY – it’s a tangible object. The film sucks, but the Blu-ray rocks. What’s so hard to understand?

    And as far as Hollywood and art go – in Hollywood you pay to play. You make money for the studios and they’ll let you do whatever you want. Again, not a foreign concept. It’s also called having free will. Who says you have to see the film? Look at all the dribble Michael Bay makes. Grade A TURDS, but he gets a pass, right? Don’t lie, you love his bullshit. I don’t. And he makes tons of money for the studios, so he gets more money to make more movies that will make even more money.

    Also for someone that cares so much about the “art of film” and what not, you’re sure not well versed in it. If it doesn’t bore you, it puts you to sleep, so why so defensive? Make your film or whatever you got going on and be done with it. Too much talking, not enough filming.

    And I don’t understand how you pulled the Gus metaphor over into this topic. Gus KILLED his right hand man, because he went ahead and took initiative. You think that’s cool? Seriously?

  5. Brian White

    I was just playing with you.
    I can’t help it you like crappy films 🙂

  6. Gregg Senko

    Sienna Guillory was unbearable to watch. Her acting was awful.

  7. Brian White

    The whole movie was unbearable to watch, Gregg. LOL

  8. Gerard Iribe

    Sienna Guillory may be a lot of things – definitely not unbearable to watch. I love watching her. lol

  9. Sela

    I wasn’t sure what to think of this particular installment of Resident Evil. It was an interesting concept to have Alice implanted with the false memories of her husband and daughter but the way it played out in the movie it was a little cheesy. My DISH co-worker liked the ending because it looks like there will be another installment. So in the interest of making an accurate judgment I decided to rent the movie through DISH’s Blockbuster @Home. The film should be here in just a few days via mail and the great thing about Blockbuster is that it allows me to choose from over 100,000 movies in the comfort of my own home.