Resident Evil: Retribution was released late last year. The movie, shot completely in 3D and in 4K resolution, had some pretty awesome special effects. It made a decent amount of money in most of its release markets, but despite all the money it made, Chinese moviegoers seem to be unhappy with the movie. They were unhappy with the movie's special effects and, most importantly, Ada Wong.
While the fifth instalment in the Resident Evil movie franchise hit movie theatres in Australia last year around September, it only just released in China. Part of the reason for the delay in the release had to do with China's policies about foreign films. Currently China's foreign film quota is at 25 (Chinese co-productions do not count as foreign films, such as Looper).
From it's opening weekend to now, the movie has made $3.5 million in China according to Box Office Mojo. Being released six months after it's initial release (on top of pirated DVD's being available) didn't hurt the movie in the Chinese box office, according to the Chinese press the special effects hurt the movie.
According to Chinese websites such as SoHu, Voice of China and People's Daily, many Chinese moviegoers were unhappy with the movie because the effects made the movie too much like a "video game". However, there was another reason that the movie drew the ire of Chinese fans. They were unhappy with Chinese actress Li Bingbing's role as Ada Wong.
Many in the Chinese movie industry saw Li's role, as Ada Wong early on as an example of Chinese actors expanding past China. Now that the movie has been released, Chinese fans of Li aren't very happy with her participation in the movie. To many Chinese, Li, as well as other actors, spread out of China is a point of odd nationalistic pride. That China is on the rise. However, the pride in Li might be short lived. According to one reviewer, Li's turn as Ada Wong was impressive but lacking.
"Being able to do all those stunts and run around in a high-cut dress and high heels is hard work," said People's Daily's critic Xiao Mei（小美）. "This role didn't give Li any chance to 'act', all she's doing is being pretty on screen, just filling in space."
Last year, Li's participation in the movie created a strange situation, particularly with the Japanese release of the film. Last year, tensions between China and Japan were at all-time highs, and Li didn't show up to the Japanese premiere. According to Li's agent, at the time, Li was busy, but missing the Tokyo leg of the premiere was also politically influenced.
It appears plot issues and wooden acting was OK for Chinese viewers.