Milla Jovovich returns in this fifth installment of the Resident Evil sci-fi zombie horror franchise. Written and directed by Paul WS Anderson (The Three Musketeers, Resident Evil). Now playing nationwide. Also showing in 2D.
Having never seen a Resident Evil film all the way through, I was curious to how I’d react to the fifth instalment. Critics hate the films but the people love 'em, so my optimism had me convinced that I’d be in for deliciously brain-dead entertainment in the same vein as Fast Five or Underworld Awakening. Two things are certain: my optimistic self is an idiot and Retribution is terrible.
It opens with Jovovich’s Alice giving an extremely blunt rundown on the series' overarching storyline thus far, though I’m not sure what the point is since this entry doesn’t seem concerned with pushing this plot forward. Instead, the entire running time is devoted to Alice trying to escape Umbrella’s experimental city-wide V.R. chambers.
So why did they trap her there? Who honestly cares? This setup is a mere chum bucket for all the pop-cultural elements Paul W.S. Anderson’s seemingly 13-year-old mind could regurgitate. The Matrix, Terminator, Aliens, and even Dawn of the Dead (as remade by Zack Snyder) have been chewed up, spat out and smeared onto different areas of the film reel with apparently little appreciation of what made those films work.
Resident Evil: Retribution lacks inventiveness in any single fibre of its being - and worse, it's dull, resulting in highly produced b-grade schlock that constantly mashed the slo-mo button with its worn-down book of 3D clichés.