I have been a moderate fan of the Resident Evil franchise since the first installment and for me it has been a consistent source of sci-fi action with plenty of Milla Jovovich kicking ass on whatever is thrown her way. There has always been just enough entertainment value to keep me coming back and, even after a major dip down in quality with Retribution, I'm sure I will be back for more.
The fifth edition of the franchise finds Alice trying to fight her way out of an Umbrella Corporation test facility after an action set piece that picks up right where Afterlife left off. This facility was designed to repeatedly run through scenarios that played out in real life during the original T-Virus outbreak that started all of the zombie action from the first movie.
A team is sent in to help get her out while destroying the facility although it isn't quite clear who has sent them or what they want her for. There are familiar faces from the previous movies like Luther (Boris Kodjoe) and Rain (Michelle Rodriguez) along with Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) and Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) who may or may not be on Alice's side. Along the way, she finds something that changes her plans altogether and puts the seemingly unstoppable woman on a clear path to get way out of the facility before Umbrella finds a way to kill her off.
The first thing I will say about Retribution is how excited I was to see more of the very impressive 3D camera work that was a major highlight of Afterlife. Unfortunately, writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson did not put as much effort in to the camera work and, what could have been a visual showcase for the technology turned out to be one of the lesser examples put out over the last several months. Its not that the 3D quality was bad, that is pretty much a non issue these days, but there just weren't very many scenes that put good use to, not only the eye popping stuff, but the depth that almost literally pulls you in to each scene.
With a story and dialog that would easily rank at the bottom of any installment in the series, the added disappointment of lackluster visuals just made this movie a total mess that was barely watchable. Of course, I am not one to walk out of a movie, but I wouldn't be mad at anyone that did. Hopefully Mr. Anderson will put a little more effort in to future versions of the series or maybe even hand it off to someone more capable of raising the bar to new heights. For now, I will just be happy that the conclusion of Retribution sets things up for what had the potential to take things to a whole new lever...I hope!