The fifth one of anything is rarely the best, whether it’s movie franchises, beer, tacos, or marriages. And – again, much like beer, tacos, and marriages – if you’ve gone that far, the fifth is rarely the last.
So it goes with Resident Evil: Retribution , the latest in this never-ending sci-fi/shock-horror series.
Based on the popular ’90s video game, the films follow the bone-cracking trials and travails of Alice (Milla Jovovich), Resident Evil ‘s resident super-soldier, a rogue ex-operative of the Umbrella Corporation, a sinister global organisation responsible for accidentally unleashing a deadly virus that kick-starts a zombie apocalypse.
Retribution finds Alice trapped in a cyber-psychedelic prison in the bowels of Umbrella’s stronghold, deep under the ice, in a remote corner of Russia.
She is released by a group of freedom fighters and forced to battle zombies, axe-wielding giants and screeching brain monsters to reach the surface and then, eventually, save whatever’s left of the human race.
Series mastermind Paul W.S. Anderson takes the directorial reins for the third time, belching up another hyperactive gorefest full of gruesome mutants, flesh-ripping zombies, endless machine-gun battles, and skin-tight Lycra jumpsuits.
As if (correctly) assuming that his film rarely makes any narrative sense, Anderson wisely stops the action every 10 or so minutes and allows his characters to explain what’s going on in tersely worded monologues.
The rest of the time, it’s all brain-smashing, eye-gouging mayhem, anchored by the steely Jovovich and an equally stoic Michelle Rodriguez, back in the game for the first time since the 2002 original.
Retribution is the second RE presented in 3D, and unlike the flat, drab Afterlife (2010), this one takes better (or more obvious) advantage of the medium, showering the viewer in glass shards, black rain, and bullets at every turn.
Otherwise it’s gory, ear-shattering business as usual; only die-hards need apply.