We’ve watched the Resident Evil film series from beginning to end, and must say from the outset that you’ll find no continuity issues of any kind with the timeline from then to now. They’ve tied this franchise up into a little bow as best they could. What we can say is that the journey there has been nothing short of an out-of-control Ferris wheel or merry-go-round, filled with plot holes and unbelievabilities. The story that has gotten us here may be cinematically linear, but the reasons why these characters are doing what they’re doing–especially in Retribution–have no sense of direction whatsoever. It’s as if we are seeing these characters we’ve grown with in the video game series for name recognition only, not for any kind of plot importance.
Now, having no idea of the story line from the games since Resident Evil: Nemesis(because one of us made the huge mistake of trying to play that game in the dead of night with lights off and sound on full blast), we can’t determine if what we saw in Retribution is accurate to the game. Most adaptations from other source material take liberties with the origin story, and Resident Evil has been no different. But we spend the entire movie trying to figure out if the direction it took stayed remotely true to its foundation, instead of enjoying it. Which turned out to be fine, because enjoying it was hard to do anyway.
We’ve also come to the conclusion that any film not named Avatar or Hugo shouldn’t ever be watched in 3D. Trying to determine if anything 3D-converted in a film enhances the viewing experience is quickly becoming an exercise in futility. Retribution is like all the rest, throwing pointless sight gags and unnecessary gestures to utilize the 3D capabilities. Not once did we feel a scene benefited from the format. There were plenty well-placed jolt moments to remind us we were watching a horror film, though. No 3D effect helped it—maybe a skin-gnawed hand coming from the extreme left or a decayed head popping up from the floorboards in first-person view would make wearing the 3D glasses less of a chore—but we were impressed nonetheless.
As for Alice, Milla Jovovich’s alter ego, she is supremely bad-ass in this movie, like she has been in the four films prior. Her move set is almost entirely the same, though, so punching it up in 3D makes little difference in how we view Alice. She does get tested more than she ever had in this one and brought tons more range to the character in some beginning scenes, which was nice to see, but it still didn’t matter watching her get beaten up, bruised and bloody in three dimensions rather than two.
Our recommendation for Resident Evil: Retribution is, quite honestly, irrelevant here. It’s neither good nor bad, but if you’ve seen any of the films in this franchise, it begins and ends in exactly the same fashion—you will undoubtedly get a chance to see another one of these in the very near future. So if you want to catch up with the story, waiting for release on home video will be more to your liking than going to your local multiplex.