Combustible Celluloid
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With: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Aryana Engineer, Bingbing Li, Boris Kodjoe, Johann Urb, Robin Kasyanov, Kevin Durand, Ofilio Portillo, Oded Fehr, Colin Salmon, Shawn Roberts
Written by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
MPAA Rating: R for sequences of strong violence throughout
Running Time: 95
Date: 09/03/2012

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Alice in the Cities

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Following the events of the last movie -- and a recap of all the movies so far -- Alice (Milla Jovovich) finds herself a prisoner of the Red Queen (a computer program bent on wiping out humankind). Unexpectedly, she's freed, aided by a tough, gun-toting beauty (Li Bingbing), and a crack rescue team. 

Unfortunately, to escape, they must make their way past a series of "test environments," arenas designed to look like Moscow, Tokyo, and New York, all full of zombies. And they only have two hours. To add to the trouble, Alice decides to rescue the clone of a little girl, and the mind-controlled Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) is hot on their trail. But the question remains: why was Alice freed, and what's the master plan behind it all?

Writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson once again returns to the helm of this series, as he did for the first entry, and the previous, fourth entry, Resident Evil: Afterlife. And, like the last movie, this one is also presented in 3D. But whereas the last movie felt clean and more character-focused, this one seems a good deal lazier both in the writing and directing departments. 

Anderson comes up with a couple of potentially great martial arts fight scenes, but edits them too quickly and lowers the emotional stakes. Though several characters band together here, the movie doesn't seem to care about any of them, and none of them gets much more than a couple of tough-guy line readings. They never develop any personalities. Indeed, when characters start dying, it's hard to remember who's gone. 

The 3D isn't used quite as well this time, either, and it often goes unnoticed. The visual effects are pretty much business as usual. As horror, it's not very spooky, except for a couple of typical jump-scares, and as sci-fi, it's not very brainy.
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