20 September 2012

Resident Evil Retribution (2012)

Disclaimer: I realize that I am taking this movie too seriously. It’s a movie about monsters and zombies, it doesn’t have to make sense, right? 

There will be spoilers, though you are probably not watching the movie for the story.

Resident Evil Retribution takes place immediately after the last one. Alice, Chris, and Claire are all on the super tanker Arcadia while Umbrella and evil-Jill are seen on various helicopters headed towards the ship.

Everything explodes, and we see Alice fall into the water.

Umbrella Mega-Evil Corporation, in an effort to sell biological weapons to opposing nations, had to create multiple-block-wide simulation cities in their super secret UNDERWATER RUSSIAN facility. They have created duplicates of downtown Moscow, New York, Tokyo, and Racoon City. Umbrella has filled these places with perfectly functioning vehicles, weapons, electronics, furniture, and everything.

Umbrella has also prepared fifty different models of clones which can be programmed with various directives to fulfill various testing purposes.  For example, the same clone model can be programmed as a mom, or a business executive, or a business executive mom. They’ve been inserting these clones inside these city-domes to test out their bio-weapons in a realistic scenario. At one point in the movie, we see a conveyor belt of thousands of clones. They're just being strung up by wires swinging aimlessly along the assembly line in the air. How is Umbrella able to create so many clones? If they had this kind of future technology (along with holo-projectors and future bombs and vehicles), why do they need to even develop bioweapons?

We see one of these tests play out with an Alice clone getting eaten while trying to protect her daughter in an initial outbreak scenario. We see cars collide, fires get started, zombies get shot, and furniture gets broken. How is Umbrella able to replace everything for each test? Do they have a staff of cloned janitors and mechanics to reset it every time? How are they able get new vehicle? How could they afford to spend what must be a trillion dollars to construct this facility, and expect to turn a profit? This is ridiculous. Did anybody think the movie through?

The ‘real’ Alice wakes up in an interrogation chamber when somebody releases her. She explores the various city environments (with zombies!) until she gets to the main control centre, where she finds Ada Wong. Apparently , Albert Wesker. CEO of Umbrella, (the same person who we kinda saw blew up in a helicopter last movie) has sent in a team to try and rescue Alice. The Red Queen artificial intelligence system has turned crazy, taken over all remaining Umbrella assets, and is now focused on exterminating humanity.  They have to fight through various test environments to get to the underwater elevator which will lead them to the surface. Wesker also sent in another team consisting of Barry, Leon, redshirts, and Luther West from the last movie. They’re to rendezvous at one of the test environments.

It’s actually a little strange that a trillion dollar facility wouldn’t have underwater emergency escape pods. I guess they're trying to cut cost after overspending on hallways made entirely of light panels, holographic projectors for the sky, and domes with weather control.

So Ada and Alice go through the New York environment, and fight some monsters. They go through the Raccoon City and find the clone-Alice’s daughter. She thinks Alice is her mommy. The Red Queen’s security forces featuring Michelle Rodriguez and evil Jill attempt to kill the girls. Alice escapes to the Moscow environment where she helps the ‘guy team’ fight against a bunch of gun-wielding monsters. The rest of movie is pretty by-the-numbers. They fight bigger monsters while members of the team die one by one. Alice's desire to protect/rescue her faux-daughter conflicts with saving the rest of the team. 

Four members are alive by the time they explode the facility and escape to the surface. Jill/Michelle Rodriguez crashes the party in their submarine. A boss fight occurs featuring exclusively melee weapons. Alice almost loses until she remembers to remove Jill’s mind-controlling beetle from Jill’s chest. Umbrella should have made a mind controlling hat or helmet or something, but  Paul WS Anderson thought that the heart was the gateway to controlling a person.  Jill becomes good again.
Michelle Rodriguez has a secret weapon. It’s a super parasite that grants super strength and regeneration when inserted into her body. Seconds later, she was able to heal through bullet wounds through her head. It’s so powerful that it’s almost like magic.

They defeat her anyway, and Wesker sends a helicopter to pick up the survivors. The chopper lands at the White House where Wesker had become the President of the World in the time between the two movies (about a week or so, I’d guess.)  He gives Alice super powers and tells her that she is the only hope for humanity to stop the RED QUEEN AI from killing off everyone. It’s like Terminator, but with zombies.

The final shot of the film is Alice staring out the balcony in disbelief as the camera pans out, revealing the white house is besieged by an unending swarm of zombies and other creatures.

That’s strange, because Alice should have seen them while the chopper is flying into the base.

And if the Red Queen wanted to kill all humans, she should send in a couple of nukes at the white house.

If they don’t have nukes, then use those magical self-destruct bombs (like the ones on the Tanker or in Japan.)

Terrible movie overall.

Plot Holes?
I’m not an expert at underwater engineering, or weapons. I don’t think it’s smart to give monsters access to guns, rockets, and grenades. Just from a safety perspective, it would seem like a dumb idea if they accidentally ruptured the dome. What if stray bullets damage the edges? I’m only bringing this up because Ada brings it up during the film, telling Alice to not shoot at something.

There’s also a huge Licker that wanders around the service corridors, demolishing everything it its way. We’ve seen that it’s capable of causing massive damage to buildings, cars, whatever. The Red Queen probably shouldn’t have let it loose. It’s funny though that Alice finally kills it by shooting a clip into it’s exposed brain. (The brain is always exposed, it’s not like she removed the skull or anything.)

It would have been nice to see some sort of quarantine procedure in this research facility. An ability to lock things down if bad things happened, possibly purge all life forms inside of an environment. That kind of technology should exist, right? Umbrella was testing various bio-weapons, if they can’t clean/wipe out contaminants, how could they test things properly?

This film heavily hinted that all the characters in the first film were clones, Alice included. I thought they were going to get in the ‘life is important, even clones’ territory, but everyone pretty much just glossed over the facts. At this point in the story, Humans are a near extinct species. I thought it might have made sense to convert this place into a sanctuary for humans. They’re able to manufacture clones as needed to fight zombies. There’s safe, (weather) controlled environment domes. The team kills tens of thousands of (near completed) clones without even thinking or feeling anything, even though Alice has adopted her clone’s daughter. Wesker is one dumb dude.

Big Butt Stick
“The previous films sucked, why would you expect this one to be any good?”

 I’ll be honest, I didn’t truly think this one would be any good. I enjoy making fun of movies.

“It’s just a zombie movie, stop expecting realism.”

That’s no excuse. There’s no reason why a film can’t have action and also a compelling story. See: Dark Knight, Inception, Source Code, The Thing (1982), Avengers, Matrix 1.
The RE universe is just incoherent. It’s about 5 years after the zombie apocalypse. Humans are vastly outnumbered by zombies and other creatures. How are Umbrella facilities still operational? Where is food/power coming from? By now, all canned/shelf food have long expired. Why would anyone still willingly work for an organization that’s doing this? No thought has been put into anything. It’d complicate things if the people that the heroes are fighting had actual depth.

What’s Umbrella’s endgame? With Wesker as CEO, he was probably using the company as a way to achieve ultimate power and to gain immortality through the T-Virus. That’s sounds ok. In the last movie it was shown that Wesker was laying a trap for Alice the entire time. He wanted to ‘eat’ Alice and to consume her DNA so that his mutation would stabilize. In light of this film, why wouldn’t he just go to the sweet Russian Umbrella Prime base?

Profit through bioweapons? They have cloning technology, and the ability to place directives into clones. It doesn’t take much thought to see how this technology is worth more than a million times the bioweapon. People can essentially achieve immortality Sixth Day style. Just download memories into a new, younger clone body. There’s unlimited organ replication. They can bring loved ones back from death (in a non zombie manner J ) They can sell clones to Governments, trained to kill with no moral qualms about following orders. They can replace Presidents with their clones. Possibilities are endless.

But yeah, let’s build a secret base with multiple city blocks to test out bioweapons.

Too many dumb things in the movie that are too trivial to mention.

The audience is hammered with the idea that Umbrella started doing this stuff because of money. It just doesn’t make sense because they could do so much more with what we’ve seen that they could do.

There’s a really simple fix for it too. Umbrella’s one and only goal was to take over the world, Bond-villain style. Why were they creating monsters. They want to shit up the planet, and then repopulate it with those Japanese Umbrella Execs and clones of Mila Jovovich. That’s an idea I can get behind.

What about the Action Scenes? It's a good action movie, right? Stuff blows up?
There's nothing really memorable about any of the fights. It's just a bunch of named good guys shooting at named bad guys shooting at zombies. And they all miss. Nothing particularly unique or spectacular.

Though I didn't like the 2 minute slow motion reverse-shot at the start of the film, I thought it was visually interesting. That's about it.

Resident Evil Retribution feels like a 3/10 movie at the theatres. It's about 5/10 if you want to watch the film and mock it with a couple of friends. (but do it at home, and not at the theatres)