Article Published: Sep. 20, 2012 | Modified: Sep. 21, 2012
There’s one thing that can be said for director Paul W.S.
He sure loves him some Milla Jovovich.
fair, they’re married, but how many husbands can say they regularly clad their wives in
S&M-inspired unitards and film them making odd facial contortions while fighting hordes of
computer-generated monsters in slow-motion for 90 minutes?
Actually, don’t answer
that. Some husbands can dream, I suppose, but Anderson makes his fantasy a reality. Unfortunately,
the public suffers for it, as his seemingly never-ending series of “Resident Evil” movies trudges
onward and downward.
For those who stopped keeping count, or were distracted by a
slow-motion Jovovich grimacing while cartwheeling over a zombie, “Resident Evil: Retribution” is the
fifth entry in the series based on the ever-popular Capcom video game.
plot there is only sets the scene for Jovovich’s character to do her thing, which, like in previous
films, is just more of the same.
Jovovich (“The Fifth Element”) plays Alice, who,
after her slow-motion escapades in the last film, awakens in a massive underwater facility run by
the evil Umbrella Corporation, the biotechnology firm that unleashed a deadly zombie virus on
She’s contacted from the outside by arch-nemesis Wesker (Shawn Roberts,
“Edge of Darkness”), who informs her that he’s left Umbrella to focus on saving the last vestiges of
humanity from the terror his company has unleashed. Naturally, he needs her help, but first, she’ll
need to escape.
Unfortunately for Alice, and the audience, I suppose, the
company’s sentient computer system, the Red Queen (Megan Charpentier, “Red Riding Hood”), is
determined not to let this happen. However, Wesker has assembled a rescue team to aid in the escape,
and he’s already got someone on the inside in Ada Wong (Bingbing Li, “1911”), an impeccably but
impractically dressed former agent of Umbrella who helps Alice take out undead hordes in
Their journey to the surface involves traversing numerous different
scenarios, all involving zombie outbreaks in simulated cities, revealing that Umbrella was selling
its bioweapons to competing countries.
Along the way, Alice and Ada encounter evil
cloned versions of characters from the first film, namely original strike force members Rain
(Michelle Rodriguez, “Machete”) and One (Colin Salmon, “Tomorrow Never Dies”), who appear simply for
the hell of it. Meanwhile, the rescue team, led by mercenary Leon Kennedy (Johann Urb, “2012”) and
his bizarre hairdo, fights off machine gun-toting, motorcycle-riding Russian soldier zombies in a
Moscow scenario. So, our protagonists advance from level to level to reach an unknown but surely
Put simply, “Resident Evil: Retribution” plays just like a video
game. This works in a game, or in a meta sort of movie written by far more talented filmmakers, like
“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” because they engage the audience. Anderson doesn’t bother. At least
in a game, the player has something of an objective. As they’re written, also by Anderson, the
“Resident Evil” movies are akin to watching someone else play a video game.
video games, however, there’s usually an end in sight. As with its predecessors, “Retribution”
doesn’t have an ending, per se, but rather sets the scene for another sequel. The good news is the
series is progressively getting wackier.
It’s a case of “either you like it or you
don’t,” and “Retribution” doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t. Anderson’s well aware that these
pictures aren’t looking for awards (except for Razzies, maybe), and his direction is nothing if not
straightforward. He provides the same stylized, hyperactive, slow-motion, acrobatic,
blood-splattering, mindless action found in the previous entries, but ultimately misses the point of
pulp cinema – fun.
“Resident Evil: Retribution,” rated R for sequences of strong
violence throughout, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, see page 11-B or visit