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New ‘Resident Evil’ brings more of the same

Article Published: Sep. 20, 2012 | Modified: Sep. 21, 2012
New ‘Resident Evil’ brings more of the same

Milla Jovovich stars in ‘Resident Evil: Retribution.’

There’s one thing that can be said for director Paul W.S. Anderson.

He sure loves him some Milla Jovovich.

To be 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.

What little 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 humanity.

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 style.

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 climactic finale.

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.

With 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

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