A. Zombie Reviews…Resident Evil: Retribution

Rating: R (for sequences of strong violence throughout)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, and Michelle Rodriguez

Another field trip out of the ZSC Command Center and into the world at large. This time around, I was stuffed into the back corner of yet another undisclosed movie theater to see Resident Evil: Retribution. I’ve been looking forward to this film since last year when the first pieces of casting news went out. The main question then was, “How in the world will they bring back these old series favorites?” The answer is slightly disappointing.

From the Resident Evil website:

The Umbrella Corporation’s deadly T-virus continues to ravage the Earth, transforming the global population into legions of the flesh eating Undead. The human race’s last and only hope, ALICE (Milla Jovovich), awakens in the heart of Umbrella’s most clandestine operations facility and unveils more of her mysterious past as she delves further into the complex. Without a safe haven, Alice continues to hunt those responsible for the outbreak; a chase that takes her from Tokyo to New York, Washington, D.C. and Moscow, culminating in a mind-blowing revelation that will force her to rethink everything that she once thought to be true. Aided by newfound allies and familiar friends, Alice must fight to survive long enough to escape a hostile world on the brink of oblivion. The countdown has begun.

First off, please note the lack of any real, solid information in the synopsis. Alice discovers more about herself, she’s been doing that for the past four films. It’s a given that, at some point, we’ll learn something new. There is always something new to learn about this character. Second, we’re lead to believe that the plot of the story takes us all over the world. Ready for your first spoiler? It doesn’t. The characters are stuck in the same building for the majority of the film. The novelty of how vast the space is wears off very quickly and leaves viewers with a sense of cabin fever about half way through.

There were a few strange style choices made very early on in the film. Do viewers really need to see the same scene played out forward and backward nearly back-to-back? Hell no. They’re not stupid. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out, you’re repeating things—not only from prior films, but from this film as well—in an attempt to find more content. Wouldn’t it have been easier to write in an actual plot that covered more, instead of rehashing old Resident Evil plot lines to try and tie them up with pretty little bows made of infected intestines? The only breath of fresh air came from characters they brought over from the video game franchise. Even then, they weren’t given enough screen time to truly get to know the characters.

Speaking of characters…What the hell was up with Jill Valentine? Okay, sure, she’s all, “Umbrella Corp is cool” in the film. However, that is no excuse for the director making the actress come across horribly. Jill Valentine was great the last time she was in a RE film. A character so many were looking forward to returning got really poor treatment. And the other characters who seemingly came back from the dead? Spoiler number two: Filmmakers used the tired troupe of clones. Yes, clones. The only entertaining thing that came from it was a joke the youngest character popped off.

Things I learned from Resident Evil: Retribution – There is such a thing as too much slow motion. A Roomba can be refitted to shoot buckshot. There are no laws of physics in the Umbrella Corp facility. Undead Soviet Soldiers have bad aim.

I’m giving Resident Evil: Retribution three and a half gnawed on spleens out of five. If you want to go watch an end-of-summer film with lots of pretty fighting, fancy sets, and no over-complicated plot to get in the way, go for it. You get what you expect going in to watch a RE movie, blood, guts, and women in form-fitting costumes. And on the off chance that you dig that sort of thing, don’t worry. RE:R leaves plenty of room for another film.

Neil Brown Jr. – Command Dispatch I

Call to Action: Zombie Survival Crew First Lieutenant Neil Brown Jr. – Guillermo from the Vatos episode of The Walking Dead – talks survival and what he learned during Battle: Los Angeles.


Sometimes the fiction I portray helps me to understand real-life truths. Working on Battle: Los Angeles gave me some insights I thought wise to share with my Zombie Survival Crew brigades ahead of the film’s 3-11-11 release.

Battle: Los Angeles asks the broader questions about survival during a cataclysmic global event as major U.S. cities are attacked and marines are sent into Los Angeles to evacuate civilians before the government launches a massive counter-offensive. Sure, we’re battling aliens, not zombies, but many of the same rules apply.

Lesson 1: Stealth Tactics

Filming took us through some real Marine training and as much as I’d like to say the weapons work was the most valuable, the truth is how many of us are going to encounter military-grade weapons right off the bat during a zombie infestation? (Unless you have them already…)

No. The most valuable lessons were in learning how to really take cover during a firefight and how to conceal your presence. Tactics like the following:

– Don’t leave evidence of your presence. Pick up empty shell casings, cigarette butts, etc, etc.

– People do what you see in movies when a firefight breaks out. Big mistake.

– Process: Get low. Find solid cover. Identify source of fire or danger. Examine your environment.

– A car door will not protect you from bullets. The only safe places to take cover around a vehicle are behind the engine block or axles.

– In a house dry wall will not protect you. Get into the residence and take cover behind additional items such as a bookcase or table.

Lesson 2: Teamwork

As a cataclysmic event unfolds it is time to put aside differences and work together. This is about humanity, about survival. Everyone has something to offer.

If we are to survive, we have to band together as I learned filming both The Walking Dead and Battle: Los Angeles. Understand the enemy – how they operate; what they want; the best ways to defeat them. It cannot be done alone.

Lesson 3: Strategic Choices

Every person has something to offer towards common survival in the case of a cataclysmic global event but having a good command team in place is essential. From my Battle: Los Angeles cast mates I’d offer up the following as top recruits.

Cory Hardrict – He’s the type of guy who will receive the phone call, look at the bottom line, come up with a plan and execute it. No questions. No doubts. But he’s also a team player.

Michelle Rodriguez – She’s kind of a nerd but down to fight to the death for anyone on her team. She’s gritty and grindy, and something to watch in a battle.

Will Rothhaar – This kid is young, ready for anything and fast. He’s a team player unafraid of a dangerous assignment.