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(2012) (Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez) (R)

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Action-Horror: Alice, the last hope for a world overrun by zombies, tries to break free from a top-secret complex where the virus was developed and first unleashed.
The genetically altered Alice (MILLA JOVOVICH) returns to do battle with the evil Umbrella Corporation responsible for unleashing a virus on the Earth's population that caused a global pandemic and turned millions into zombies. As the film opens, Alice is being tortured by Jill Valentine (SIENNA GUILLORY), a former ally who has since come under the thought control of the company. Alice eventually escapes with the help of the formerly (and quite possibly still) evil corporate head Albert Wesker (SHAWN ROBERTS) and his right-hand woman Ada (BINGBING LI), who is as skilled as Alice is with guns and martial arts.

The two must make their way through Umbrella's massive Russian headquarters, which includes large sections that simulate downtown Tokyo, Moscow, New York's Times Square, and an idyllic American suburban town where Alice encounters Becky (ARYANA ENGINEER), a cloned little girl who believes she is her daughter. Alice also comes into contact with two versions of her old friend, Rain (MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ). One is a clone who fashions herself a pacifist caught up in the zombie apocalypse and the other is a real-world operative hell-bent on capturing and/or killing Alice and Ada.

At the same time, a strike team specially assembled by Wesker has infiltrated the other side of the Russian facility and is in a running gun battle on its way to rescue Alice. They are led by Alice's old friend, Luther (BORIS KODJOE); sharp-shooter Leon (JOHANN URB); and gung-ho Barry (KEVIN DURAND). Their struggle is to unite as one team, get to the surface, and blow the entire facility.

OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
Our reviewing policy for films that aren't shown in advance to critics is that we'll only provide a paragraph or two about the film's artistic merits.

"Resident Evil: Retribution" is the movie equivalent of looking over your buddy's shoulder while he has fun playing a video game specifically, one of those first-person shooter games in which the player gets to stride through a warehouse or a factory or a bombed-out city and cap dozens and dozens of nameless, faceless video-game characters and have five or six lives to do so. Sigh. Anyone remember Q-bert? Frogger? Anyone?

Once again, Milla Jovovich plays Alice, the sharp-shooting, kung-fu fighting zombie hunter babe who has slayed her way through five of these movies now all to pretty much end up right back where she started. "Retribution" picks up right where "Resident Evil: Afterlife" ended, with the full military power of the evil Umbrella Corporation attacking Alice and the other survivors of the last flick. Alice awakes and promptly escapes from a torture chamber only to learn she is in a much larger facility and needs to make her way through several simulated settings - Times Square, downtown Moscow, an idyllic American suburb - to unite with a strike team so they can shoot up more simulated settings. Along the way, she comes to care for an 8-year-old deaf child clone who thinks of her as mom.

The film rips off flicks like "Aliens," Zack Snyder's "Dawn of the Dead" remake, and "The Matrix" like you wouldn't believe. A bit of humor would have really helped this flick. It needed a Bill Paxton or Joe Pantoliano character some wise-cracker who could deflate the endlessly self-serious sequences. But, on the plus side, the film is wall-to-wall action and there appears to be some progress made towards moving this franchise to a sorely needed end game. And at this point I am REALLY rooting for "Resident Evil: Conclusion." This latest effort rates a 4 out of 10.

Reviewed September 14, 2012 / Posted September 14, 2012

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