PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

September 19, 2012

New Resident Evil stale repetition

Sean McBride
The Port Arthur News

— “Resident Evil: Retribution”

Screen Gems

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson

Starring Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Kevin Durand, Sienna Guillory, Boris Kodjoe and Li Bingbing.

Rated R

1.5 Stars       

 

I have found the “Resident Evil” movies to be something of a guilty pleasure. I realize that these are not well-made movies, but there’s a certain thrill in watching the non-stop parade of action sequences where a super-sexy heroine in skin-tight clothing blasts away at a never-ending hoards of mutant zombies. The teenage boy in me thinks this is pretty cool stuff, while the grown up film critic in me takes note of all the bad acting and pedestrian filmmaking.

I must admit that the cool action sequences are starting to get a little stale in the latest installment; “Resident Evil: Retribution.” The story picks up exactly where the last one left off. Don’t worry if you skipped that film (or any of the previous four) as the filmmakers provide a helpful prologue that will get you up to speed. I’m not sure that’s needed. Sure, the film features a plot that might confuse even the most ardent fan, but the basic premise never changes. Our genetically-modified heroine (Milla Jovovich) seeks revenge upon the biotech corporation that unleashed a zombie plague upon humanity. Along the way she is forced to square off against all those cool monsters.

The monsters are still pretty cool. Director Paul W.S. Anderson allows the creature design team to run wild, providing some rather memorable monsters. The film plays very much like the video game upon which it’s is based, with the monster set pieces serving as the big bad guy who guards the end of each level. The problem is that these levels are getting repetitious. The thrill of facing off against these cool monsters has been replaced with the thought that we saw something similar in the last movie, or the film before that, of the one before that…

It’s a bit unfair to slam “Resident Evil: Retribution” because it’s only a mindless action film with mediocre acting and a confusing plot. The truth is that these films have never wanted to be anything other than escapist fare for the teen boy crowd. The film still manages to hit that minor target, but it’s starting to feel a bit stale. Jovovich is still fun to watch, and perfectly adequate in the few moments where she’s required to emote, but there’s simply nothing new or spectacular going on with “Resident Evil: Retribution.”

Perhaps it’s time to port a new video game franchise over to the movie screen.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM-TV and KBOI 2-TV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at smcbride@kboi2.com.