Resident Evil: Retribution– Please, no more!

*This article is a discussion and overview of the film series, and while plot points are not discussed in detail there may be a few small spoilers, so reader beware.

I think the moment the Resident Evil film franchise went downhill was the beginning of the third film.  As soon as Milla launched into that tired monologue about Umbrella, it should have been a clue that it was the beginning of the end for the film series.  When will filmmakers learn that just because something has worked well before does not mean it should be repeated, ad nauseam?

When the third film opened on a desolate post-apocalyptic world, devoid of not only most human life, but much plant-life an water too I think I knew we were in trouble.  When the writers of Resident Evil: Extinction dumped Alice (whose character has no origins in the game series, other then supposedly being modeled “after the strong women in the Resident Evil games”) into that barren, desert-like wasteland, they erased much of the human element from the series.  Still, they attempted to hold viewers’ interest by dropping Hollywood heavyweights like Ali Larter, Oded Fehr, and Iain Glen into roles that corresponded with more popular characters creatures from the video games series.  (I say “more” because Resident Evil: Apocalypse did include a few game characters/creatures, notably Jill Valentine and the bio-weapon, Nemesis.)  The refugees that banded together for survival under the guidance of Claire Redfield and Carlos Olivera were still enough of a “human” touch to hold the film together, but by the time the fourth live action film, Afterlife, came out, the series was slowly circling the drain.

All of the clones that Alice had rescued at the end of Extinction seemed destined for some great rising up, only to be killed off rather unceremoniously in the first ten minutes or so of Afterlife.  It seemed (to me anyway) like the writer Paul W. S. Anderson, set up a scenario at the end of the third film that he was not prepared to see through.  Ali Larter reprised her role as Claire Redfield and Wentworth Miller came on board as Chris Redfield.  Albert Wesker and an “evil” Jill Valentine also made an appearance, however even the star power and in-game references couldn’t totally stave off the film’s inevitable descent into ridiculousness.

Resident  Evil: Retribution, the series fifth film, was… well, it was a bomb.  Stale  references to previous films and seemingly hastily re-introduced (and almost equally hastily killed off) characters from previous films only seemed to highlight the faults of this film.  The human element, the one that is fairly important if you want your viewers to actually care about the characters or their fates, was too sorely lacking.  To further support my point, I’d have to say the most interesting part of this movie for me was the very beginning where the family wakes up to a seemingly normal, pre-apocalypse day and are suddenly besieged by zombies.  (The family is comprised of Milla, Oded, and a little girl, who are all later revealed to be clones created for simulations in the giant recreated cities.) And I won’t even go into the spurious insertion of the Las Plagas element from the fourth RE game.  They might as well have left it out completely out for the handling it received.

The only thing that made these last few films even worthwhile were the outstanding creatures, like the bad-ass executioner inspired by the one in the Resident Evil 5 game, and the Lickers, which have always been a personal favorite of mine.  The giant Licker in Retribution was delightfully scary and gross.

Someone please execute this movie and put it out of its misery...

Someone please execute this movie and put it out of its misery…

Super Licker ...will lick u to deff?

Super Licker …will lick u to deff?

As to the rest of the film… maybe they should have bombed this film with Raccoon City.  At any rate, me thinks it’s time to bury this series and let it stay dead.  And considering what a RE fan I have revealed myself to be in past posts, that’s saying something!

"Anderson's gonna write a new Resident Evil film??? Quick, nuke the script!"

“Anderson’s gonna write a new Resident Evil film??? Quick, nuke the script!”

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The Not-So-Walking Dead (*warning,graphic)

Most of my friends probably know I love all things zombie, so I’m not gonna complain much when I’m watching any number of walking-dead/returned- to- life themed shows or movies.

Ooookay, that’s a white lie.  Okay, so I’m one of those people who was so sucked in by the Resident Evil games and the multitude of zombie movies that I like to entertain the idea that I wouldn’t become zombie bait on the first day of the apocalypse.  It’s not uncommon for me to be watching  one of these shows or movies and yelling at the people on the TV,  telling them every stupid thing they’re doing.

AMC’s The Walking Dead is no exception.  I love the show.  It’s a very character-driven take on the usual zombie apocalypse theme; I’d imagine the characters have to have more depth if the show is going to keep viewers interested for more than a couple episodes.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon is just an added incentive for me to watch The Walking Dead

But these people do some stupid shit!  For instance, if you were concerned with a blood borne contagion, why would you stab a zombie through the head (or any other body part for that matter?)  An interesting tidbit you may or may not have gleaned from popular crime shows is that when a person stabs another person, there is a high likelihood of the assailant injuring themselves on their own weapon.  By all means, why don’t we just invite the infection in?

But anyway, as much as I love my zombie movies, I can’t quite get past this one fundamental flaw in the whole idea of an extended “zombie apocalypse.”  In most of these stories, shows, and films, the source of the pandemic usually ends up being traced to a biological or physiological cause, most often a virus of some sort.  The creators of these shows want it to seem as if the scenario they are positing could be scientifically possible, if not exactly likely. Bear with me, because this is relevant to the point I’m about to make.

For the zombies to reach such an advanced state of decay, one of two things would have to happen:

1) They have to have risen from the grave a’ la the original Night of the Living Dead

or

2) They “newly” dead would have to continue to decompose after death, despite the fact that they remained mobile.

“You don’t just wake up looking this good!”

Either way, after decomposition progresses to a certain point, muscle tissue and ligaments are going to break down and locomotion will then be a scientific impossibility.  There are a bajillion changes the body goes through postmortem, beginning with autolysis (in the gut) and putrefaction ( microbial growth.)  Ultimately, these processes lead to liquefaction and disintegration of the body.  Simply put…   the very dead no walkee.

Bloating in the abdomen as autolysis occurs and gasses collect in the face, abdominal cavity, and scrotum. This body has spent approximately a week in summer-like conditions.

**I found this photo on the internet, but can speak for its authenticity because this same photo appears in one of my school books for a Forensics class that I had.  The information regarding time and conditions of death came directly from that book.

So basically, the zombie apocalypse would really suck for about two weeks, three tops… until everyone started to rot and fall apart… at which point it would probably suck even harder.

You’re welcome. 😉

*Edit: A friend of mine brought up a good point that I need to clarify:  A zombie pandemic/plague/whatever could indeed be perpetuated beyond two to three weeks, assuming people continued to be contaminated by contact with either the bodily fluids of the dead bodies or the undead.  However, the main thrust of this blog entry is that each individual dead body could not be mobile for an extended period of time once decomposition began to break down the muscles and tissues necessary for locomotion…  

I’ve put too much thought into this.  Maybe I need a new hobby.