Resident Evil: Retribution
Direction: Paul WS Anderson
Actors: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory
Rating: * 1/2
Milla Jovovich dons her trademark latex battle-suit for a fifth foray in the videogame-to-film series which was launched back in 2002 by writer-director Paul WS Anderson. Not to be confused with Wes Anderson (whose wonderful Moonrise Kingdom was released here last week) or the maverick Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood), British filmmaker Paul WS delivers exactly what the previous four entries did: a horde of mutant monsters, flesh-devouring critters and ultra-violent mayhem.
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.