Resident Evil: Retribution Preview - Is There Still Life in This Franchise?

Has the series already gone one film too far? And what is with all the dead dudes turning up to fight?

It's not long now before Paul Anderson releases another epic zombie ridden world upon us with sexy ass kicking Milla Jovovich at the helm. Resident Evil 5 is due for release on the 14th of September and the marketing campaign is well underway- but what should franchise fans come to expect from this latest installment? Has the series already gone one film too far? And what is with all the dead dudes turning up to fight?

My Name is Alice and this is my world Lets start with that teaser trailer shall we? Released back in January this one has been gaining momentum for some time, with Sony plastering themselves all over it you'd be forgiven for thinking this is some run of the mill gadget advert for the first 30 seconds before the good stuff kicks in (Is it just me that spotted flying dragons over that military camp???) The idea of our technological advancement eventually turning against us and being instrumental in the destruction of the world is certainly a pertinent one, especially when you think about the mythology that has been built up over the game and film franchise surrounding the Umbrella Corporation. But I wouldn't expect anything too insightful from Anderson- after all, these movies are all about the visuals; increasingly ugly monsters, ravaged wastelands, dystopian worlds and, lets not forget, eye-candy (male and female) that can kick some serious ass. And in all fairness the visual effects and stunning action sequences have long been held way over story content with the RE films, and as such have become their defining feature. And the main trailer has plenty of that. It also introduces an important plot point for the film, one which Milla herself has spoken about extensively- the invention of a suburban Alice; an implanted memory of a pleasant life on a white picket lane, which is of course soon shattered when the T-virus shows up and turns her neighbours into bloodthirsty zombies. Perhaps this idea of implanted memories and constructed realities goes some way to explain why and how we have the likes of Michelle Rodriguez and Oded Fehr back on the scene, along with a whole host of characters who we have clearly seen die in previous films. They are going to have some explaining to do on that one and I for one really hope its not a cop-out.

Chicks Kicking Ass

With Alice, Jill Valentine, Rain and Ada Wong all on board to take out Umbrella one thing that we can certainly expect from RE5 is lots of girl-powered action- as if the franchise wasn't full of it already. The Alice character has probably become the most iconic female 'super-hero' of modern Hollywood- because lets face it, she is a superhero and has, over the past 10 years worth of RE movies, pulled off some exceptional fight scenes not hindered at all by Milla's martial arts training and stunt work. On a very generalised level this ticks a lot of boxes- the male fans love to watch the well dressed females getting down and dirty and throwing some mean punches whilst the female fans of the franchise (of which there has always been a relatively high proportion) feel empowered by such strong kick ass characters. And hey- a lot of girls like to see chicks kicking ass too! It's just a shame that the character of Alice never really feels as developed as she could be, constantly morphing from one thing to another and never giving us anything to help us invest in her as a character. But, like I said, these films are all about the visuals right?

Evil Goes Global

There has been a lot of talk this year of major blockbusters making more money than ever in foreign markets whilst growth at the domestic box office has been stifled. Hence why Resident Evil this time round will take Alice across all corners of the globe in her fight against Umbrella- what better way to draw in the big bucks from the likes of Russia and Japan than to have some of the hottest action happening amongst their most iconic landscapes? The full trailer makes no mistakes about the globe encompassing mission taking place in this final RE installment and this is certainly going to help them at the box office.

Join Umbrella

While the actual website may be a pretty poor excuse for a film with such a huge budget and a dedicated online fanbase (a gallery with only 3 pictures, a trailer and a synopsis is about all you get), it does link to a great micro-site that gives you the opportunity to sign up as a recruit for Umbrella. The site opens with a chirpy little employee orientation video which is rudely cut short by an impassioned Alice warning you not to trust Umbrella. Enter your employee registration number to have the site hijacked by Alice yet again this time harping on about how Umbrella are controlling us; 'every movement, every mouse click'. Its a cleverly designed site which even allows you to create your own employee ID card and continues to flash up with short video bursts encouraging you to fight back against the corporation. Yes its a little bit gimmicky but its tricks like this that help to create an interactive world beyond the movie, engaging fans throughout the build up to its release. Will it ensure you go out and buy a ticket? Possibly not- but it will make sure you are thinking about the movie and becoming familiar with the world in which it exists. However ludicrous that world may be.

Tweet-tastic Milla

Obviously devoted to the franchise and well aware of her own power within it Milla Jovovich regularly tweeted to her 900,000 + followers during the shoot for the movie, giving them the first look at Ada Wong, cheeky behind the scenes videos and shots of the set and costumes. Don't underestimate the importance of this- for months Jovovich was keeping the production of the movie in the forefronts of people minds and most importantly her tweets were fun; the videos showed her interacting with all the crew and thoroughly enjoying the experience. If that's not a genius way to drum up anticipation for a movie I don't know what is.
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A movie lover like no other Chelsey has the likes of Hobo With a Shotgun sitting side by side with Hitchcock, Survival of the Dead next to Shakespeare. Of course she has a soft spot for horror and has been consuming all manner of the blood-thirsty and undead for as long as she can remember but also appreciates every aspect of global movie-making. Just don't get her started on Michael Bay- or Nicolas Cage......