Resident Evil: Retribution REVIEW

Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil: Retribution.

This is just your average walk to the shops for Milla Jovovich.

Release Date: 28 September 2012
15 | 95 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Director: Paul WS Anderson
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Boris Kodjoe

Paul WS Anderson finished off Resident Evil: Afterlife with a great honking cliffhanger that practically screamed, “Now you all have to come back to see what happens next!” So here we are, two years later, with Retribution, yet another run-around that will appeal mostly to fans of the franchise and of Anderson muse Milla Jovovich donning leather pants and shooting/kicking/punching things.

Despite an impressively stylish credits sequence that essentially plays the opening scrap backwards in slow motion, we’re then brought up to speed courtesy of a leaden, overlong briefing on pretty much everything that’s happened in the films to date. So much for trusting that new arrivals (and are there really going to be people crazy enough to start with the fifth outing?) will enjoy a completely self-contained adventure.

Though Anderson does try a few new points of view here (including one effective scene that has Alice as a regular wife and mother on the run from the undead hordes), all the fresh stuff is completely undercut by a series of revelations and the rest of the movie, which more than ever forgoes real attempts at character and story for lots of repetitive zombie skirmishes. The nods to the game are turned up even higher than usual, and clearly Anderson believes that just throwing in more of the same equals a compelling reason to keep watching.

Liked the Axe Man? How about two? And the Lickers: now they’re massive. Just because! Plus there are more returning characters than you can shake a machine gun at. None of it means anything more than lining up a few fan-favourite clashes and trotting out the latest tricks from the effects team, though. The candidate for Least Valuable Returning Player? Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), who has evolved from Big Bad to Basil Exposition in the time since his apparent death in Afterlife.

Finally, despite the tagline “Evil Goes Global”, there was more actual travel in the last movie than there is in this one. Any film that shows Big Ben being destroyed on its poster, when none of the characters so much as reaches London (there’s one shot of the city in the recap), surely deserves a call from the Advertising Standards Authority.

James White

Watch a Resident Evil: Retribution stunts featurette.

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