Monday, December 31, 2012

Resident Evil: Retribution 2D / 3D (Blu-ray Review)

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Alice is back!  Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil Series) as Alice, Earth’s last hope, as the Umbrella Corporation continues to control the population by transforming humans into flesh-eating undead.  In this fifth installment of the multi-million dollar franchise, Alice is captured by the Umbrella Corporation and, with the help of her friends, must escape to save the human race. The film also stars Michelle Rodriguez (Battle Los Angeles), Sienna Guillroy (The Wicked Within), Kevin Durand (TV’s “Lost”), and Boris Kodjoe (Surrogates).  The Umbrella Corporation’s deadly T-virus continues to ravage the Earth, transforming the global population into legions of the flesh eating undead.  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 new-found allies and familiar friends, Alice must fight to survive long enough to escape a hostile world on the brink of oblivion. 

Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)

Resident Evil: Retribution starts with a summary of everything you need to know if you want to skip films 1-4 and begin with Retribution. While none of the Resident Evil films are excellent, in my opinion, I do watch them frequently and can never remember which subtitle belongs to which film. I call them Resident Evil 1, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil Las Vegas, and Resident Evil after Las Vegas. Resident Evil Las Vegas is by far my favorite of the three films, followed by Resident Evil 1 and Resident Evil After Las Vegas. I have to be really bored and desperate to break out film #2 but I do seem to still watch it on a semi-regular basis.

Alice (Milla Jovovich), also known as Project Alice is the one human who was infected with the deadly zombie creating T-Virus and lived. For some unknown reason her body bonded with the T-Virus and it made her strong, fast and eventually develop super-abilities. Everyone else turns into flesh eating zombies soon after infection. The Umbrella Corporation is the most powerful commercial entity on the planet, and the ones responsible for creating the virus and basically ending the world (or coming very close to it). The Umbrella Corporation wants to use Alice and study her. Alice wants to end the Umbrella Corporation for all that they have done to her and society.

In the fifth installment of the Resident Evil franchise, Alice is captured by the Umbrella Corporation and, with the help of her friends, must escape to save the human race. If you’re thinking that sounds a lot like the first, second, third and fourth films – you’re not alone. If you’re looking for originality or even believability – these probably aren’t the films for you. If you’re looking for big budget zombie violence than you should probably give it a try.

In Resident Evil: Retribution we see many characters from previous films, and some in very different ways. The Umbrella Corporation excels at cloning and they put their subjects through various lifelike test environments. Their testing racks up quite a large body count so they have a facility that resembles a huge dry cleaner with extra people on moving racks. In one scenario Alice is a suburban housewife married to a clone of her good friend Carlos (Oded Fehr). 

They share a daughter Becky who happens to be deaf, and is the sole survivor after zombies ravage suburbia. Also returning is Michelle Rodriguez (one of my least favorite actresses) whose clones appear as both good guy (girl) and bad guy throughout the film. My next least favorite actress Sienna Guillroy also returns as Jill Valentine former elite police officer who teamed up with Alice in the second film and made an appearance in the film before this one. Besides Carlos, the other returning character I did like from previous films is Luther (Boris Kodjoe).

Video (5 out of 5 stars)

Resident Evil: Retribution is presented in 1080p high definition 2.40:1 – 2D and 3D MVC Encoded 3D – Full Resolution L/R Eye. Both transfers look amazing with sharp detail, brilliant color, and some fantastic clarity.  If I had to pick between the two, I would side with the 3D transfer as the added depth and 3D effects like snow during the final fight scenes and other effects like the blood splattering across the field really add to the immersion of the film.  The black levels are suitably dark and solid and the skin tones are natural and consistent looking.  The zombies and special effects look good and very believable in both 2D and 3D versions and overall I was very pleased with both of these transfers.

Audio (5 out of 5 stars)

Resident Evil: Retribution is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio in English or French, and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. There is also an English audio descriptive track.  With all the screaming, gunfire, explosions and monsters, this is the type of film to make good use of your surround sound.  I particularly liked the metal dragging noise when the two big hooded creatures are coming.  Dialogue is consistent throughout and the effects are realistic and at a stable volume as well.  This is a very active mix that keeps the action flowing across the living room without sacrificing any missed lines of dialogue.  The directional effects are very accurate and I really enjoyed this highly immersive mix.

Special Features (4 out of 5 stars)

There are a significant number of special features and I will admit to being slightly confused about where to find them until I found the special features disc.
  • Commentary with Writer/Director Paul W.S. Anderson, Milla Jovovich and Boris Kodjoe – Milla Jovovich does a lot of the talking in the lighter of the two commentaries. They bring up a lot of the things that made me laugh – like Alice always having good hair and makeup. Boris adds a lot of information about other cast members.
  • Commentary with Writer/Director Paul W.S. Anderson and Producer Jeremy Bolt – This commentary is a lot more technical and more what you’d expect from commentary and is dominated by Anderson.
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes – Five Deleted or extended scenes are available. It’s interesting to see more of the suburban version of Alice and Carlos but the scene is rather long. No crucial information was cut from the film based on these scenes.
  • Outtakes – With all the stunts and effects in the film it’s no wonder everything didn’t go exactly as planned. My favorite outtakes usually come from action films.
  • Maestro of Evil: Directing Resident Evil Retribution - This featurette focuses on Director Paul W.S. Anderson but includes cast interviews and footage of his young daughter on set. Shawn Roberts, who plays Wesker, should not be seen in real life. It ruins the image.
  • Evolving Alice – A featurette about Alice in all her forms throughout the series.
  • Resident Evil Reunion – A featurette focusing on the actors (many of whom died) returning from previous films.
  • Design 7 Build: The World of Resident Evil Retribution – A look at the extreme visual effects put together for this film.
  • Drop (Un) Dead : The Creatures of Retribution - A featurette about the various undead creatures and their manifestations in the Resident Evil franchise.
  • Resident Stuntman – A featurette about the stunts the actors performed and the stunt people in the film, and the difference between 2D and 3D filming.
  • Code Mika – A featurette about Mika who plays the Japanese girl in the last film that started the Tokyo outbreak and has a lengthier role this time around.
  • Resident Evil: Retribution Face of the Fan – A fan wins a contest and gets a day on the set as an extra on the film.
  • Capcom Game Trailers – Trailers for Resident Evil 6, Devil May Cry, and Dragon’s Dogma
  • Project Alice: The Interactive Database – An interactive database with movie clips, character information and other details from the entire franchise.

Final Thoughts (4 out of 5 stars)

With my first viewing of Resident Evil: Retribution I was a little disappointed. I didn't like many of the returning characters and the story in general didn't do much for me.  With my second viewing, I've found that I enjoyed the film more.  Unlike a lot of others, I've never played the games so it never bothered me if they were true to the game or not.  I do think it’s rather amusing how there always seems to be a random tight outfit for Alice to wear and that tradition continues in Retribution, which won’t disappoint the guys as Alice ends up in that paper sideless dress again followed by some tight black leather.  Resident Evil: Retribution isn't even close to being my favorite film of the franchise but it is definitely growing on me.  The viewer should definitely attempt to suspend all disbelief and not ask questions about how plausible the details are.  It’s a zombie movie with blood, gore and some believable undead creatures.  I don’t ask for much more than that.  If you didn't enjoy any of the previous films, I wouldn't expect this one would make you a fan.  However it’s a decent film and I’m still interested to see how the whole saga ends.

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1 comment:

  1. What movie did you watch?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3.5 stars?

    You have a fever?