“Resident Evil: Retribution” is a certain sort of movie. This is the sort of movie in which the body count would be measured in the hundreds, if anyone were to take on such a Herculean task. This is the sort of movie in which the named characters stroll down narrow corridors against thousands of rounds of machine-gun fire without a scratch, while the unnamed ones drop like flies. This is the sort of movie in which the director’s wife wakes up naked in an interrogation room, save for a thin sheet to preserve her modesty (why her captors thought this necessary is left unexplained).
This is the sort of movie in which a deaf child survives legions of monsters and zombies and gun battles that wipe out competent soldiers. This is the sort of movie that doesn’t explain why the child is deaf, other than that the filmmakers presume that the handicapped are more endearing than able-bodied folk.
This is the sort of movie in which a character sees a grenade fired at her, picks up a rifle, blasts a hole in the floor, and takes shelter in said hole before the explosive comes within range of her. This is the sort of movie in which another character battles a dozen monsters, kills them, and then simply runs away when a few more approach. This is the sort of movie in which the camera lingers in loving slow motion on bullets as they burrow into the heads of humans and monsters alike.
This is the sort of movie in which the line, “What are you waiting for, a written invitation?” passes for dry, cool wit. This is the sort of movie in which people emerge soaking wet into a Siberian snowstorm and appear as if they’re actually in a climate controlled Hollywood studio. This is the sort of movie in which an evil corporation causes the apocalypse, then actively exacerbates conditions on earth, apparently forgetting that shareholders can’t be happy with the profits if most of them are dead.
This is the sort of movie in which most of the actors look embarrassed to be there, as if they are wondering whether or not it is too late to attend machining school instead. This is the sort of movie that prominently features Michelle Rodriguez, who has played so many soldiers by now that she deserves an honorary military rank. This is the sort of movie that reminds the viewer what an underrated star Milla Jovovich is, that she can bring such a gravitas and charm to this brainless franchise that she almost makes it watchable — ‘almost’ being the operative word.
This is the sort of movie about which, when asked what was good about it, viewers may be able to admit that the director knows how to stage elaborate action sequences, though nothing else comes to mind.
This is the sort of movie that is proudly based on a video game. This is the sort of movie that one with a game console and a decent game collection should never need to bother to see. That’s the sort of movie this is: sort of a movie.