In an age where superhero movies strive to root comic book characters in tangible worlds and circumstances, most video game adaptations continue to celebrate their pulpy origins. No series typifies this approach more than Resident Evil – and the new installment, Retribution, relishes unadulterated ludicrous entertainment (or guilty pleasure cinema, if you prefer).
Take, for example, the clip (see above) where Milla Jovovich’s Alice teams with a new ally – red-clad agent Ada Wong (Bingbing Li), a longtime popular character of the video games – while taking on Executioners during a pitstop in Tokyo. Add a couple more exaggerated sound effects and it’s practically a live-action Saturday morning cartoon, for better and/or worse.
Paul W.S. Anderson wrote, directed, and produced this installment, mixing together ingredients recycled from his last two collaborations with wife Jovovich (Resident Evil: Afterlife and The Three Musketeers). That includes: in-your-face 3D, Jovovich defying gravity in slow-motion, and a supporting cast with their tongues embedded firmly in-cheek, but still playing it straight.
Early Retribution footage affirms that Jovovich is as invulnerable onscreen as ever, even while her personal fight against the Umbrella Corporation takes her on a trip around the globe. At Comic-Con, Anderson indicated the scale has likewise been heightened, as far as the battle between Alice’s underground resistance and armies of mindless T-Virus zombies is concerned. New TV spots, below, back that idea:
Fan input played an important role in sculpting the storyline for Retribution, setting the stage for characters from the Resident Evil video games to debut as live-action players – including, Ada Wong and Leon Scott Kennedy (Johann Urb). Familiar faces like Rain Ocampo (Michelle Rodriguez), Luther West (Boris Kodjoe), and Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) are back, but not necessarily as allies for Alice. Here is the synopsis, for the uninitiated:
The Umbrella Corporation’s deadly T-virus continues to ravage the Earth, transforming the global population into legions of the flesh eating Undead. The human race’s last and only hope, Alice (Milla Jovovich), awakens in the heart of Umbrella’s most clandestine operations facility and unveils more of her mysterious past as she delves further into the complex. 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 newfound allies and familiar friends, Alice must fight to survive long enough to escape a hostile world on the brink of oblivion. The countdown has begun.
The opposition is also deadlier, as the disgusting Lickers and powerful Las Plagas parasites get to make an appearance this time. Retribution manages to weave all these elements together with a storyline that further convolutes the mythology of these films – but is also meant to setup Anderson’s sixth (and, supposedly, final) Resident Evil movie.
Resident Evil: Retribution opens in U.S. theaters (2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D) on September 14th, 2012.