Abandoning any aspirations to plot or character development, there's a seen-it-all-before feel about Resident Evil: Retribution. This time around, the ace warrior is held captive by the minions of the evil conglomerate who've unleashed a global zombie apocalypse. Aided by a former foe-turned-friend (Li Bingbing), the superwoman punches, somersaults and blasts her way to apparent safety only to repeatedly come under attack from heavily-armed new adversaries.
An introductory recap of events of the preceding installments drags endlessly on even as further sub-plots clutter up the narrative. The action choreography and 3D effects are disappointingly pedestrian. Devoid of excitement or scares, we can hardly empathise with the butt-kicking saviour as she careens through the simulated waste-scapes of New York, Tokyo and Moscow. Amid the carnage she also finds time to save the life of her hearing-impaired young 'daughter'.
Since the malevolent powers-to-be have also diversified into cloning, a number of characters who were bumped off in earlier editions are resurrected. Hello again, Michelle Rodriguez! Milla Jovovich, the director's real-life spouse, is lithe as ever in those skin-tight unitards. The rest of the cast wisely adopts a "take the paycheque and run" attitude.
The climactic declaration "This is humanity's last stand-the beginning of the end" serves as a set-up for at least one more sequel. We can only hope that it will actually be the last.