The first mistake “Retribution” makes is that it assumes people actually care about the story. Not to make an assumption so early, but “Retribution” has a story that’s very paper thin and used as a guideline for stunts and featuring Jovovich naked. What story there is makes no sense and is convoluted as hell. Assuming the audience cares, “Retribution” plays catch up for the audience in the first five minutes with a look back at the first four movies almost as if this is a some exciting epic we just have to catch up with. If you are watching the fifth part of a movie without having seen the first four, why are you wasting your time? And if you’ve seen the first four and are intent on watching this new entry, when did you decide good movies were no longer worth your time?
And so continues part five in one of the most bland and one dimensional super heroines in cinema history. There is an enormous amount of filler in the first ten minutes as we watch an action scene unfold backward, Alice explains the narrative of the series, and the scene replays yet again but in proper order. Little has been known about the premise for “Retribution” since most of the marketing has revolved around how awesome, sexy, and stylish star Milla Jovovich is. It helps that she was once a model, and her husband is the director leading the charge for the publicity. It’s a perfect storm of advertising for crap. The second mistake is that it cribs and outright rips scenes from other films and hopes no one will notice. The opening scene of Alice in the suburbs being raided by zombies is a beat for beat knock off of the prologue to “Dawn of the Dead 2004.” Not only is this shameless rip off bordering on infuriating, but it wreaks of desperation when you’re ripping off a remake that’s just as dumb as the “Resident Evil” movies.
I’m not one to preach about the hallowed ground of “Dawn of the Dead 2004” but the opening twenty minutes were brilliant, terrifying, and chaotic, and “Retribution” rips off that opening so shamelessly. Someone should be sued for it. I’d be willing to start the lawsuit. “Retribution” is the series’ further sinking in to incoherence with a premise that doesn’t make much sense and when it’s boiled down is just another rip from the comics as Alice is suddenly transformed in to Wolverine, a woman whose memories may be all one big lie, that is until she sinks further in to Umbrella’s labyrinth revealing the true memories of her life. There is really no emotion or complexity to this series of action sequences, as Jovovich plays it all with a bored scowl, as this series of flashbacks allows Anderson to bring back old actors from the previous movies to show up again with no effect or exposition. They appear once again, to die once again.
Meanwhile Alive engages in fight scene after stale fight scene, all leading in to so many pointless moments of bad choreography, all with admittedly great cinematography. “Retribution” provides us with the pretense that this journey Alice takes is very crucial to the development of the character. But truthfully, but the sixth installment, not only will this development barely be addressed, but it’ll mean nothing to the events of the sixth film. There is no development of any character. The humans are props for the action pieces, and it’s just a convoluted waste of time, another Paul WS Anderson junk pile. Paul W.S. Anderon’s bastardization of the ‘Resident Evil” property continues to delve in to a sink hole of bad writing, piss poor characterization, regurgitating plot lines, and shamelessly ripping off superior genre tropes. “Retribution” is more of the same idiotic swill that Anderson feeds his numbskull fan base.