Magazine article Screen International

Resident Evil: Retribution

Magazine article Screen International

Resident Evil: Retribution

Article excerpt

Dir: Paul W.S. Anderson. US. 2012. 96mins

More high-calorie, low-sense, audiovisual CGI stimulation arrives in the form of Resident Evil: Retribution, the fifth and most roundly unsatisfying entry in the previously lithe and fun, $700 million-grossing sci-fi videogame franchise. Slow-motion action and lots of noisy gun battles cannot mask a decided lack of ideas and genuine narrative hurdles in this dispiriting claptrap, which serves chiefly as an inexorable march to the concluding set-up of yet another sequel.

Jovovich, as throughout the series, is a steely, appealing anchor.

With nothing to attract those outside of the series' most ardent fans (the movie did not screen for critics in advance of its Friday opening), Stateside box office should track in the mid-eight-figure range. Buoyed by 3-D presentation, the previous entry, 2010's Resident Evil: Afterlife, almost doubled the earnings of its predecessor, making a whopping $236 million of its $296 million box office haul overseas. Foreign returns will be crucial in setting the budgetary bar for the inevitable sixth Resident Evil installment.

After a handy, direct-address re-cap of the series thus far, Retribution picks up with the crusading Alice (Milla Jovovich) waking up in the prime testing facility of the Umbrella Corporation, deep underground in icy Kamchatka, Russia. The deadly T-virus has continued to ravage the Earth, transforming almost all of its population into wild, flesh-devouring lunatics. Other mutant creatures also roam free.

The artificially intelligent Red Queen, who's directing an attempted extermination of humanity, has taken mind control of Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), a former ally of Alice. Meanwhile, needing Alice's assistance in the outside world, the formerly (and potentially still) evil head of Umbrella, Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), dispatches a group of soldiers, led by Leon (Johann Urb), to rendezvous with her and another one of his associates, Ada Wong (Li Bingbing). A litany of other characters from previous films also return, many from various experiments for clone use.

Returning impresario Paul W. S. Anderson has written every movie in the franchise, and occupies the director's chair for the third time here. Rather than bring a unifying vision, however, his imagination and orchestration exude the slapdash feel of a hastily assembled, studio-curated greatest hits collection. …

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