Writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson's "Resident Evil: Retribution" arrives in theatres this weekend, with his wife Milla Jovovich returning for her fifth stint as Alice, the hottest zombie hunter around and humankind's last hope against the evil Umbrella Corporation's undead-spreading ways. We all know the video game inspired franchise is well-loved, having grossed over $675 million worldwide, but here are five facts about the new film you may not know.
Jovovich considers "Retribution" the most physically challenging of all the "Resident Evil" films. Hours upon hours of training in multiple styles of martial arts were spent preparing for the shoot. One particular sequence (shown above) called for nearly 200 well-rehearsed moves that included weapons work and aerials. According to Jovovich, filming in 3D added even more challenge: "I've been trained to punch and miss so that it sells to camera, but with 3-D, you almost have to make contact to sell a fight. It takes it into dangerous territory and makes it quite exhilarating."
Ghosts of RE's Past
The latest film brings back plenty of ghosts from "Resident Evils" past. Through the triumphant power of sci-fi storytelling, the filmmakers have resurrected characters who didn't fare so well in previous installments, including Michelle Rodriguez's Rain Ocampo from "Resident Evil" (2002) and Sienna Guillory's Jill Valentine from "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" (2004) and "Resident Evil: Afterlife" (2010). Now we're not going to spoil how they go about it exactly, but let us just remind you that there was an army of cloned Alices in "Afterlife". Bringing back the dead provided Anderson with "a unique opportunity to work with everyone again. For instance, I've always wanted to work with Michelle Rodriguez again, but we shot her in the head in the first movie, which seemed to preclude bringing her back." (Rodriguez discusses coming back to the franchise in the clip above.)
Against the Grain
According to Anderson, one of Rodriguez's biggest challenges on set was walking in stilettos. Rodriguez, who's known for playing tough girls in such films as "The Fast and the Furious" (2001) and "Avatar" (2009), plays very much against type for one of her two roles in this film: a high-heeled, liberal-leaning college student. "It was a nice shift into playing someone a little laid back and sexy for a change," says Rodriguez, "it was cool and fun to play someone who is quirky and doesn't know how to handle a gun." Worry not though, Rodriquez's other role, as a weapons expert for the Umbrella Corporation, finds her comfortably situated in her butt-kicking wheelhouse.
Free Your Mind
While the past four films might have been considered horror/action films first and science fiction second, "Retribution" reverses that trend. The latest installment is firmly planted in a wildly imagined sci-fi future, brought to life in vivid 3D. "The last movie was pure action-survival," says producer Robert Kulzer, "this time we felt that we had to try something narratively that would make it more of a mindbender for the audience."
If the film's main genre is now sci-fi, then one of the sub-genres would have to be that of the road movie. 74 different sets were mentioned in the shooting script, with cityscapes around the world, including Moscow, Washington D.C., Tokyo, and New York City, all of which adds to the idea that the zombie plague is a global problem. Of course, shooting in all those locations would have been super spendy, so the filmmakers shot mostly on elaborate sets and at various locations around Toronto, while seamlessly integrating that footage with more than 900 computer-generated shots. (The clip above shows off one of those cityscapes in an epic car chase involving a $400,000 Rolls Royce Phantom.)