The Panelists: Director Paul W. S. Anderson and stars Milla Jovovich, Mika Nakashima, Boris Kodjoe, Oded Fehr, and Michelle Rodriguez, returning to the franchise even though she was shot in the head way back in Resident Evil 1.
The Big Revelations: Retribution is the fifth film in the curiously popular franchise — the last film grossed almost $300 million globally — and Anderson described it as “The beginning of the end.” His leading lady (and wife) Jovovich went even further, claiming that Anderson had told her: “I really want to bring this to a closure. If we did do another one, I really want to end this story.” So this could be the penultimate Resident Evil movie, maybe!
Footage Screened: The panel showed off a couple minutes of the climactic action sequence, featuring what Anderson described as “the icy showdown between Alice and Jill Valentine.” The setting looked Arctic, with frozen ships and a craft punching its way through the ice. The scene featured lots of slow-motion acrobatics. More to the point, it featured a lot of Michelle Rodriguez. Her character, Rain, injects herself with a sciencey-looking serum that apparently makes her superstrong and gives her a Wolverine-esque healing factor.
Snap Judgment: According to Anderson, the climactic action sequence will run a total of nine minutes in the final movie, and the trailer already promises carnage in Red Square and Times Square. So “more is more” is the operating philosophy, if you’re a fan of the franchise, then Retribution is everything you’ve always wanted.
Most Incisive Audience Question: Noting that Retribution will introduce Leon Kennedy — a protagonist from the videogame series — one attendee asked Anderson, “Would you ever consider making a spin-off about Leon…without Alice?” Jovovich responded with hilarious mock indignation, before admitting (see Big Revelations) that her days in the franchise may be numbered.
Least Incisive Audience Question: A man dressed in a simply horrendous Buzz Lightyear outfit asked Michelle Rodriguez: “In terms of the Resident Evil series, would you ever consider having sex with me?” The always game Rodriguez laughed and then responded with a brilliant stream-of-consciousness takedown: “You remind me of this guy I used to live next to. He was blasted off his bonkers bazoo, and he was in his backyard doing something really horrible to himself. I had to call the cops. I had a sword in one hand and my .45 that Sam Jackson gave me for S.W.A.T., and I remember looking at him through the glass and laughing at him. And you look so much like him and it’s freaking me out.”
Winner of the Panel: Michelle Rodriguez is some kind of national treasure, and for proof, here are five other awesome/hilarious/totally random things she said during the panel.
—(on her respect for Milla Jovovich as an action heroine): “Leeloo did it for me! Milla was doing that s— way before I even started. I started in a little movie called Girlfight, but I was already watching Milla kick ass and take names. I gotta lotta respect for this Russian hardcore broad right here.”
–(on her history with the franchise): “I begged Paul’s ass, as soon as I saw they were making a movie years ago, ’cause I loved the videogame. I’m just so glad you shot me in the head and then brought me back.”
—(on female action heroes and the British-inflected feminism of Paul W. S. Anderson): “It’s rare that an American man director would have that open-mindedness about having a female lead, and fight the way Paul did. You know what I mean? Big ups to you, I give you mad love for that, Paul.”
—(on her financial situation and why the kind words of a questioner inspire her to go on despite her financial situation): “After awhile of busting your butt and not making that much dough doing it, you kind of wonder why you do it? And you just proved it right there.”
—-(on her fitness regimen) “I gyrate a lot. Keeps me fit. I dance. Party.”
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