Resident Evil: Retribution (DVD review).

Ninety-six minutes of action and I mean action. From the start where Alice, played by Milla Jovovich, is fighting for her life out at sea, right through to the cataclysmic ending, we’ve got action all the way through. Now into its fifth movie, ‘Resident Evil’ has still got plenty of mileage left, as this movie shows, and with the Red Queen remaining in power and with zombies everywhere, it obviously will continue in the future.

Despite being part of a series, you can watch this as a stand-alone movie but, for the uninitiated, the story goes somewhat like this. The Umbrella Corporation released a deadly T-virus into the population at large. Accidentally, it had a terrible effect in that people died only to reawaken as mad flesh-eating zombies. One of the main perpetrators, Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), has now fallen foul of the organisation and despite being a psychotic lunatic with severe personality problems, he is now on the other side fighting for humanity. From the beginning, Alice has been waging war against Umbrella, seeing her friends captured and turned against her, controlled by the mind-bending effects of electronic and genetic control.


Alice is captured and sent to an undersea base in the Arctic. Supposedly an old Soviet complex, Umbrella has now taken control, turning it into a multi-environment experimental station. CGI is at its best in ‘Retribution’. Some of the scenes from the undersea complex are stunning, a bit psychedelic but surprisingly life-like, so much so that belief is suspended for an hour and a half. It’s so difficult to believe that none of the scenes are real.

Facing certain death, Alice is rescued by an intervention from Wesker and aided by Ada Wong, she sets about fighting her way through the domes and tunnels, trying to find a way out. The Red Queen wants them dead and sends Jill Valentine, electronically controlled by her evil powers, and the powerful fighting woman, Rain, to stop them progressing further. From the outside in the Arctic snow, sent by Wesker, a five-man team also come to rescue Alice.

Some of the domes are re-creations of New York streets, suburban dwellings and the Moscow underground. Within these environments, a multitude of human replicants play their part in Umbrella’s attempt to combat the zombie problem that is now worldwide. Unfortunately, Alice meets up with plenty of zombies. She also meets her daughter. Not her real daughter but a replicant from an experiment, Becky doesn’t know anything about Umbrella or the zombies but she soon learns the horrible truth of her existence.

Maybe you’ve got to suspend belief but you probably did that from the first minute of putting the DVD into the machine. ‘Resident Evil’ takes you into a dream-like alternate reality that has no bearing on the real world and the situations it contains are merely impossibilities but nevertheless this is very good entertainment. The plot is simple and there is no convoluted stuff requiring a great deal of thought because the entire emphasis is on action and presentation.

The ending sees a stunning fight in the Arctic snow. It’s a desperate fight of life and death. What about the zombies? I keep wondering how they manage to survive? Do they begin to eat each other with no humans left alive? Do they have a limited lifespan? Will they last forever, roaming the Earth until the end of time? Maybe such questions are irrelevant and maybe we’re not supposed to think too deeply about the subject.

Overall, this is very good entertainment and certainly one to recommend. Can you imagine showing this to someone 40 years ago? We are now probably accustomed to CGI in all its magnificence and have become a bit blasé about the whole matter, but what you see on the screen now would have seemed impossible even 20 years ago. I wonder what we will be watching in the year 2053?

Rod MacDonald

(region 2 DVD: Pub: Sony Home Pictures Home Entertainment B008JBZ6Y2. 96 minute film with extras. Price: £12.99 (UK))

cast: Milla Jovovich, Shawn Roberts, Sienna Guillory and Michelle Rodriguez

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