Monday, 14 October 2013

Resident Evil: Retribution. Is it still 3D if two of the dimensions are "stupid" and "violent" ?

Milla Jovovich can get into this outfit in 30 seconds or less

Ah, what a long strange trip it's been. It's more than three years since I saw Resident Evil: Afterlife, and somehow that was just enough time for me to forget that it was a great big pile of dinosaur crap. And not one of the cool dinosaurs either. I'm thinking about the ugly remedial looking ones which haven't had a Jurassic Park cameo yet.

Well, resting under that pile of dinosaur crap, being ignored by dung beetles and just quietly festering, you'd find Resident Evil: Retribution, assuming that, like me, you were dumb enough to looking under one pile of crap to see if it was crap all the way down. I've watched all the Resident Evil movies - most of them on DVD, thank goodness - and of all of them, this was the most computer-gamey of the whole lot. Levels, bosses, stuff coming out of nowhere, everything being fake…

The whole mess starts up where the last mess left off; all those helicopters full of mooks come and shoot up a boat. First Paul WS Anderson (for it had to be him, didn't it?) shows us the gunfight in reverse, with the credits, and then he shows it the right way round. It looks equally expensive - and pointless - either way, and it doesn't do a single damn thing other than clear the deck for something like five minutes worth of exposition from Milla Jovovich while she rapidly rehashes the plot of the four previous movies. I think it's the first time I've seen a movie spend that kind of time on "Previously on…." and I was wondering what it's going to be like in another ten years when she has to rehash a dozen of the damn  things. All that stuff takes about 10 minutes of a 96 minute movie, but then again, it's not like they had anything better waiting for it to be over.

Then it's straight into video game world; Milla wakes up wearing next to nothing, and then gets broken out of captivity with just enough stuff to get her to the next rally point, and then the one after that, rinse lather and repeat until the movie is over and they've set up the next sequel (which will start in a completely besieged White House surrounded by zombies and on past form will then continue in either Weehaugan or Tierra del Fuego).

Stuff that happens; there's a moppet, because why the hell not? There's yet another vast Umbrella Corporation underground HQ, this one buried under a Russian naval base in Kamchatka. It's got half a dozen different gigantic bunkers, each outfitted as a different world capital, ostensibly so that Umbrella could test its viruses on realistic environments, but actually so that Milla can schwack her way through a variety of environments without having to explain how she's getting from A to B. The whole complex is populated by clones, natch, ostensibly so that they will have a huge pool of fake people to test bugs on in their fake environments, but actually so that half the cast of the earlier movies can be brought back to get killed all over again.

Stuff that's kind of cool; clone storage, which is creepier than something obviously based on a dry cleaning shop has any right to be. Umm, that's it. Stuff that's extra dumb; Milla gets a skintight outfit (picture) with a million buckles presented to her as part one of her escape plan. With one minute left before the door closes again, she's standing looking at it. With thirty seconds left before the door closes, she's got the whole thing on and it isn't even wrinkled. Ammunition; Milla just never runs out of bullets, but the only time that reloading is even an issue is right at the beginning, where she uses her one spare magazine to beat up four different zombies before finally reloading and shooting them. No-one else ever runs out of bullets either; the five man team that gets sent in to help her escape should have five other guys just to carry their reloads.

I don't know why I expected anything better than this. I blame time. Time and that amazing wrinkle-free outfit.

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