It’s absolutely futile getting angry about what Paul W S Anderson’s done to Resident Evil. It’s best now to accept the fact that the series is less an adaptation of the games and more a demented collection of disjointed set pieces devoted to making his wife look as cool as possible. His latest work of Dadaist genius Resident Evil: Retribution, is easily the most gratuitous and shameless in this regard, making previous entries in the saga look like they were made by Ken Loach.
Retribution doesn’t appear to bother with any sort of plot or semblance of structure (Alice has to escape from a facility. That’s it). One brief recap of the previous entries’ madness and we’re away, snarling cadavers served up for Milla Jovovich to stylishly batter in slow motion countless times.
There’s no character development, the acting’s intolerable, the pacing’s non-existent and the over reliance on 3D money shots is laughable. Worst of all, they’ve made Leon S Kennedy a useless tit, the main man of the games reduced to being back up for Mary Sue Milla. The always reliable Kevin Durand is good value as the legendary Barry Burton though, looking like a gun nut David Gest, and Shawn Roberts clearly loves being supervillain Wesker, although he isn’t in it nearly enough.
Resident Evil: Retribution is basically dreadful, a tour de force of incomprehensibility, needless 3D extravagance (Anderson is absolutely obsessed with slow motion shots of bullets zipping away in 3D for some reason) and amateurish direction. Yet somehow (through sheer bloody mindedness) its incompetence and buck toothed desperation to appeal ends up becoming strangely disarming, and even quite endearing.
You know it’s dreadful while you watch it, yet you’re still paying rapt attention to its vehement anti-genius. It’s like a cute puppy staring up at you, slavering blood flecked mandibles glistening away, doe-eyes silently asking ‘Is this OK master? Do you like this?’ The puppy meanwhile is about to make a billion dollars off this series. The puppy has won.