Susan Granger’s review of “Resident Evil: Retribution” (Screen Gems)
When huckster P.T. Barnum said, “No one ever went broke underestimating public taste,” writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson took him seriously. Anderson helms this science-fiction/horror film series, based on the popular Capcom video games – and this is the fifth installment, following “Resident Evil,” “Resident Evil: Apocalypse,” “Resident Evil: Extinction” and “Resident Evil: Afterlife.”
A vicious bio-engineering pharmaceutical company called The Umbrella Corporation concocted the T-virus, a plague that triggered a zombie apocalypse. As the human race’s last-and-only hope, intrepid Alice (Milla Jovovich), who once worked for Umbrella as a security operative, is leading the opposition. As this segment begins, she awakens in the heart of Umbrella’s most clandestine, underwater operations compound and reveals more of her mysterious past as she delves further into the complex. Utilizing a convenient cloning plot ruse, now-dead characters – including Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr), Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller), and Ada Wong (Li Binging) – once again surface as Alice fights her way through a series of holograms designed to simulate various cities (Tokyo,, Moscow, Berlin, etc.) around the world, including Alice’s hometown, Suburbia, located outside Raccoon City.
At least I think they do. When you’re dealing with the undead, it often gets very confusing.
As if trying to replicate the video game, Paul W.S. Anderson concentrates on the repetitive explosive action, except when Alice maternally bonds with Becky (Aryana Engineer), a little hearing-impaired girl who may or may not be her daughter. Actually, the part was not designated ‘deaf,’ but young Canadian Aryana Engineer so impressed Anderson and his real-life wife, Milla Jovovich, with her audition that the role was altered to accommodate her disability.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Resident Evil; Retribution” is a dreary, loud, uber-violent 3. Since the franchise has already grossed nearly $700 million worldwide, there’s no stopping it.