Resident Evil: Retribution appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. I found no problems here.
Sharpness always remained positive. Even the widest shots still showed nice clarity and definition, so don’t expect any issues with softness. At no point did I witness any jagged edges or shimmering. Edge enhancement appeared absent, and no artifacts or DNR showed up along the way. Of course, source flaws weren’t a factor; the movie was clean and fresh.
Unlike most modern action films, Retribution avoided a super-stylized palette. Not that it didn’t deliver some tinted overtones, but it remained closer to natural than most in its genre. The hues looked full and rich, without any concerns. Blacks were dark and tight, while low-light shots offered smooth images. I felt consistently pleased with this presentation.
I also was happy with the dynamic DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Retribution. As with its predecessors, the soundscape used all five speakers on a nearly constant basis. Like I’d expect, the fight scenes – of which we found many – worked the best, as they fleshed out the channels with well-placed and well-integrated material. All of this fused together in a clean manner to create a vivid setting for all the mayhem.
Audio quality worked well. Speech seemed concise and crisp, without edginess or other problems. Music came across as bright and peppy, while effects seemed accurate and vibrant. Low-end offered nice enhancement of the mix but didn’t overwhelm. This was a strong soundtrack.
Like the four prior Resident Evil releases, Retribution comes with a nice selection of extras. We open with two audio commentaries, the first of which features writer/director Paul WS Anderson and actors Milla Jovovich and Boris Kodjoe. All three sit together for their look at… not much. The actors dominate, so we hardly hear anything from Anderson.
Instead, we listen to Jovovich and Kodjoe a) joke around and b) comment on the movie’s action. This makes the track c) really boring. Do we learn anything about the film’s creation? Yeah, a smidgen, but not nearly enough to justify the listening investment. This is a bad commentary that you should skip.
For the second commentary, we hear from Paul WS Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt. They sit together for their discussion of story and characters, the other films in the series, cast and performances, sets and locations, stunts and action, effects, music and other areas.
While not a great track, the Anderson/Bolt chat provides a much more engaging affair than its predecessor. Anderson finds his voice again – this time it’s Bolt who doesn’t have much to say – and we get a pretty good overview of the film. There’s too much dead air, but at least we learn real information here.
Called Project Alice: The Interactive Database, the next extra lets you learn more about Resident Evil characters. It delivers biographies for many participants and also shows clips from the various films. Nothing special occurs here, but the “Database” becomes a useful way to get background about the characters.
Five Deleted and Extended Scenes go for a total of 12 minutes, 35 seconds. These include “Suburban Attack (Extended)” (4:49), “Alice Fights Undead in Corridor of Light - Extended” (2:27), “Undead Rain/Jill in the Control Room” (3:46), “Alice and Ada Find Becky - Extended” (1:13) and “Rain Captures Ada” (0:20). The first two just add more violence/mayhem; they contain no new story info.
“Undead” provides character exposition that might’ve been helpful in the final cut, though it also threatens to seem too simple. “Becky” and “Captures” are simple clips without much merit. One fun element: it’s interesting to hear Li Bingbing deliver lines in her real voice; clearly someone else ADRed her dialogue in the final film.
A collection of Outtakes lasts four minutes, 36 seconds. Expect the standard assortment of silliness and goof-ups.
Seven Featurettes run a total of 49 minutes, 18 seconds. In this area, we discover “Maestro of Evil: Directing Resident Evil: Retribution” (7:32), “Evolving Alice” (6:18), “Resident Evil: Reunion” (9:08), “Design and Build: The World of Resident Evil: Retribution” (8:38), “Drop (Un)Dead: The Creatures of Retribution” (6:24), “Resident Stuntman” (5:43), and “Code: Mika” (5:35). Across these, we hear from Anderson, Jovovich, Kodjoe, Bolt, Bingbing, producer Don Carmody, visual effects supervisor Dennis Berardi, production designed Kevin Phipps, editor Nevin Howie, special makeup effects Paul Jones, stunt/fight coordinator Nick Powell, and actors Michelle Rodriguez, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Shawn Roberts, Johann Urb, Colin Salmon, Robin Kasyanov, Kevin Durand, and Mika Nakashima.
The programs trace what Anderson brings to the franchise, story/character subjects, sets and locations, shooting 3D, effects, stunts and action, production/creature design and makeup. “Maestro”, “Evolving” and “Reunion” all tend to be puffy and superficial, so you won’t miss much if you skip them. Matters improve once we reach “World”, though, as the featurettes’ traipse through technical elements provide a lot of good details. They still feel a bit fluffy, but they offer a fair amount of worthwhile material.
Resident Evil: Retribution - Face of the Fan occupies three minutes, 17 seconds. Fan Dylan Syrett – who won a competition to appear in the flick - takes us to the set for a sample day on the shoot and shows us what it’s like to be an extra. This has a few fun moments but lacks much depth.
The disc opens with ads for Total Recall (2012), Resident Evil: Damnation, and Looper. Those last two also appear under Previews along with promos for Company of Heroes and Seven Psychopaths. No trailer for Retribution pops up here, but we do get Capcom Game Trailers for Resident Evil 6, Devil May Cry and Dragon’s Dogma.
Five films into the franchise and Resident Evil: Retribution shows a series close to creative bankruptcy. With a muddled plot and a reliance on flashy visuals, there’s no meat here, and even the action scenes feel reheated. The Blu-ray delivers excellent picture and audio as well as an erratic but generally solid package of bonus materials. Leave Retribution for die-hard Resident Evil fans.