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Review: A dreary 'Resident Evil: Retribution'

As always, Milla Jovovich's game face is admirable, but the rest of the sequel is more of the same: zombies, slaughter and hyperviolent sci-fi.

September 14, 2012|By Robert Abele
  • Milla Jovovich reprises her zombie-fighting role in "Resident Evil: Retribution."
Milla Jovovich reprises her zombie-fighting role in "Resident Evil:… (Screen Gems )

While "The Master" grabs this week's prestige-movie hype, that other Paul Anderson — middle initials: W.S.; occupying aesthetic: hyperviolent sci-fi — had a film released too.

It's the fifth in the "Resident Evil" franchise of loud, metallic commercials for firing/jumping/throwing prowess and zombie slaughter, aimed at that segment of moviegoers ostensibly on a break from doing the same via their game consoles.

The other sequel titles — "Apocalypse," "Extinction," "Afterlife" — tantalizingly implied nowhere more to go. But here we are with "Retribution," which finds poster gal for disaster survival Alice (Milla Jovovich) once again battling the vicious, zombie-virus-spreading Umbrella Corp.

This time, she's trapped in the conglomerate's underwater city-simulation compound, where a convenient cloning plot device allows killed-off characters played by Michelle Rodriguez and Oded Fehr to make encore turns, in this series' stab at something like nostalgia.

Sienna Guillory is back too, her character now a villainess. Maybe "Repetition" would have been a better subtitle.

As always, Jovovich's game face is admirable — whether giving gunslinger shade or play-acting a protective mother storyline straight-outta-Cameron. But it can't be easy when all around her are line readings that recall the glory days of baroquely dull foreign-movie dubbing.

The action, meanwhile, is the usual stereoscopic 3-D hodgepodge of slow-motion flips, sprints, swings and bullet trajectories, which begs the question: If they ran these scenes at normal speed, would 95 dreary minutes become a much more expedient 20 to 25?

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'Resident Evil: Retribution'

MPAA rating: R for sequences of strong violence throughout

Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Playing: In general release

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