HTS Moderator , Reviewer
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=10304[/img]Title: Resident Evil: Retribution
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Bingbing Li, Michelle Rodriguez, Sienna Guillory
Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Written by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Main Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA
Studio: Sony Pictures
Runtime: 96 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: December 21st, 2012
HTS Overall Score:87.5
Think of the “Resident Evil” series as being a loaf of bread. With the first one or two slices, it’s nice, fresh and new. Everyone loves it. As time goes on those next few slices start to show their age, wilted corners and it gets a little tougher to swallow. By the time the 5th comes along, there’s some mold and it definitely leaves a stale taste in your mouth. We’ve seen it a billion times at this point: a great horror happened, everybody died, the problem was they didn’t stay dead and now Alice and her friends are fighting for their lives again….again. While not the freshest of the “Resident Evil” series, “Retribution” definitely raked in the dough, with over 220 million dollars worldwide; it looks like audiences are still going to see Alice take down biohazards like it’s a cakewalk (sans powers now) and loving every minute of it.
The film starts with one of the coolest slow motion introductions to the films to date (I actually watched it two or three times in a row), literally placing us seconds after where “Resident Evil: Afterlife” left off. Wave after wave of Umbrella agents flood the cargo ship, gunning down and capturing escaped humans. Alice (Jovovich) is thrown overboard only to wake up in an Umbrella lab, again, where she is being interrogated by an Umbrella-controlled Jill Valentine (Gullroy). With the help of a few unlikely allies, Alice escapes from the holding facility and teams up with ex-Umbrella agent Ada Wong (Bingbing Li) to try and escape this secret Umbrella base. However, our mysterious benefactor has sent some more help to aid our (now human) heroine: Barry, Leon Kennedy and Luthor Vance all head down to extract Ada and Alice before they blow the base to kingdom come.
As fate would have it, nothing is ever as easy as it sounds in the briefing room. A new type of Biohazard, using the previously unknown Plaga parasite, keeps the extraction team at bay long enough for an Umbrella strike force to catch up with Alice and Ada in the Suburbia test environment (as if an outbreak of zombie flu wasn't enough to convince the big, bad corporation to stop toying with infectious substances), leaving Alice with a young ward that she can’t leave behind. Narrowly escaping with their lives, Ada and Alice head back to find out WHY her mysterious benefactor wanted her alive so badly, and what purpose she is to serve in the 6th movie….errrr, I mean their final battle.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=10306[/img]As with all “Resident Evil” movies, Alice goes toe-to toe-with Lickers, Crawlers, Zombies, you name it, if it’s in the Biohazard database and we’ve seen it before, then she fights it here. The only inclusion of “fresh blood” was the aforementioned Plaga parasite, a biohazard that could literally turn the injected person into a super-zombie that had all of its motor functions and speed, leaving it the ability to fight in hand-to-hand combat with weapons instead of mindlessly try to chew on the flesh of random passersby. The plot on this particular Resident Evil outing was about as thin as a Chinese wafer: the villains were only there to provide Alice with something to shoot, and there wasn’t nearly the same level of “suspense” or trepidation that any of the main heroes would die. The best way of describing the movie was “filler” for the finale. Even Oded Fehr and Colin Salmon looked like they were dozing in-between takes, waiting for the director to yell, "Cu!" The real redeeming factor in this movie was Alice; as always, she puts her heart and soul into the role of Alice, and you can really tell she’s having a blast in this film. Whether it’s adopting the role of Mommy or Grand Killer of machine-gunning-giant-axe-wielding biohazards, she puts her all into it.
In technical terms, this movie looks amazing; the sets are gorgeous, the CGI (for the most part) is stunning, and the outfits are through the roof. Bullets fly from every direction. “Retribution” is a sleek action/horror/sci-fi flick that is in your face, brilliantly colored and just dripping with about every new gadget that the film making industry could throw at us.
Rated R for sequences of strong violence throughout
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=10303[/img]The picture for “Resident Evil: Retribution” is just jaw dropping. Colors are brilliant and through the charts, rich and colorful, saturating every scene, dark or light alike. Detail is absolutely stunning; you can see every curve and wrinkle in Milla’s leather outfit, the shine and shimmer shifting from buckle to buckle and even individual threads sticking out from a ripped seam. The set pieces are absolutely flawless, from Suburbia, where Alice is battling zombies amidst fluffy pillows and lovely picket fences, to Moscow, where Leon and crew are fighting inside a Russian clothing store, everything looks authentic and lush as could be. Facial detail is through the roof; you can see every pore and every crease in actors faces (except Milla of course who’s had some post processing done to smooth out the age lines just a tad). Black levels are rich and inky, just the right amount of black to darken things but not too much to obscure shadow detail. Even in the pitch black there’s just enough clarity to make out everything going on around you. Being underground a good portion of this film is rather dark, and a stress test for any films black levels. Luckily, they pass with flying colors. This is another one of Sony’s crown jewels here, I couldn't find any hint of artifacting or any other compression based issues in the film. No DNR, aliasing, etc. A truly fine transfer.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=10302[/img]To say that “Resident Evil: Retribution” has an aggressive track is an understatement. It grabs you by the jugular, like a pit-bull, and doesn’t let go the entire film. It shakes you around, lifts you up and throws you back in your seat with no sign up mercy. From the first few minutes of the film it’s obvious that LFE is going to have a major major role in the film. From the pounding score, to the thunderous cacophony of bullets blasting crater sized holes in our opponents, the track just doesn’t let up. LFE is DEEP and rich, powerful as all get out in the 30-50hz range (almost too powerful in some scenes), but there’s some 20hz and below scenes that made the hairs on the back of my arms stand up and tremble. Now while the track is a TAD bloated, LFE wise, don’t let that make you believe that the rest of the track suffers. Dialogue is crisp and clean, nice centered where it should be, but needs to be cranked a bit to avoid being muffled by earlier said LFE. Channel separation is absolutely incredible, I knew from the first few seconds of the introduction that we were going to in for a treat with our surround channels. Bullets fly from every angle, debris whizzes past one ear and lands by the other, ambient noises flutter all around and create an all-encompassing track that literally makes you feel right at the heart of the film. My only complaint, as I mentioned earlier, is that the LFE is bloated and tends to push its way into the becoming seamless. Tone that down a bit and Sony would have had a perfect score from me.
• Directors Commentary
• Producers Commentary
• Deleted Scenes
• Project Alice: The Interactive Database
• Maestro of Evil: Directing "Resident Evil: Retribution"
• Evolving Alice
• Resident Evil: Reunion
• Design & Build: The World of "Resident Evil: Retribution"
• Drop (Un) Dead: The Creatures of "Retribution"
• Resident Stuntman
• Code Mika
• "Resident Evil: Retribution" - Face of the Fan
• Capcom Game Trailers
“Resident Evil: Retribution” is by no means a masterpiece, nor even a good movie by any stretch of the imagination. However, it was never intended to be. The “Resident Evil” franchise has stood upon the premise that all it needs are some gorgeous looking women with guns, a ton of nasty looking biohazards, and great sound score to keep its target audience. I, for one, agree with them; they have a niche audience and they aim directly for them. If you enjoyed the other “Resident Evil” outings, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one. If you’re going in fresh to the series thinking this might be a unique Horror/Action film, time to think again. Bright lights, guns, knives, explosions and nasty creatures are the core of this franchise’s appeal, and it delivers in spades. Easily the weakest of the five films released so far, it does hint at what could be a fantastic conclusion for the series in the sixth and final film. Add that to the fact that the audio, video AND extras are through the roof, I don’t think any fan could go wrong picking this up.
Buy Resident Evil: Retribution on Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It