“Resident Evil” has become both a video game and a movie franchise, and the way writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson is playing it, he appears ready to let this all go on indefinitely.
The fourth movie in the series, “Resident Evil: Retribution,” kills the notion embraced by Alice (Milla Jovovich) and her friends, who at the end of “RE: Afterlife” were on a ship sailing to what they hoped might be some peace and quiet for a change — although we viewers knew better.
Never count out the vast Umbrella Corporation that has its financial and political tentacles stretched all over the world. As “Retribution” opens, Alice is literally blown off the ship during a massive attack and upon regaining consciousness finds herself in a Twilight Zone-ish parallel world in which she is a loving housewife and mother of a deaf girl named Becky (Aryana Engineer), living in pre-disaster Raccoon City.
Soon the zombies attack and as Alice and Becky flee, they are offered an escape ride by Rain (Michelle Rodriguez). Say what? Didn’t Rain die in the original — twice? First as a human then as a zombie?
Well, who knows? Before long, Alice finds herself waking up again and feeling deja vu. She is locked up in some cell, with barely any clothing on, just like she had been at the end of the first “Resident Evil.”
She is back in an Umbrella Corporation hive, being interrogated by her former ally now enemy Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), who is head of security. Of course, Jill is dealing with Alice, who always seems to get out of these binds. So the computer crashes, forcing a reboot that compromises the security system. Now appears Ada Wong (Bingbing Li), who tells Alice this computer crash was engineered by Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), who needs Alice to escape, hook up with some heavily armed operatives and blow this facility up.
All this ties in with the runaway control of the Red Queen in the master computer, which wants to destroy human life on the planet. Who knows why? Only now in addition to zombies by the millions, there are clones being manufactured by the thousands, which explains why the twice-dead Rain is alive and well-armed and intent to kill Alice; and One (Colin Salmon), who was diced into little bitty pieces in the original, also is back for an encore.
“RE: Retribution” is essentially a video game on the big screen as Alice and Ada, soon joined by Luther (Boris Kodjoe) and Leon (Johann Urb) and their group, encounter all kinds of obstacles in their quest to get out from this underground facility before the set charges detonate.
There ensues the usual slow-motion choreographed mayhem, and Jovovich still looks good putting the hurt on various undead and mutated creatures. After escaping from and destroying the Umbrella facility, Alice meets up with Wesker, who pretty much tells Alice she can forget early retirement. She has been appointed to lead mankind’s last stand against the Red Queen’s decimation of the human race, a battle for survival that will be depicted in “Resident Evils” to come.
Now, as she approaches age 37, Jovovich might be thinking she’s getting too old for this stuff. Fear not. During her escape maneuvers in this latest movie, she was reunited with Becky, and even though Becky might be a clone, Alice’s mother instincts have kicked in. Could Becky become the next generation?
And this: It looks like Rain again met her demise, but you can bet if there is a way she managed to slip out of her dire situation, she also may be back for more.
Miscellany: If you have someone on your gift list who is a fan of “Alien” and also enjoys Asian cuisine, here is an usual item for them: Alien Chopsticks. These are detailed, nine-inch utensils that at the top have sculpted creatures from that classic sci-fi horror movie: your choice of either the face-hugger, chest-burster or the Xenomorph. They are priced at $9.99. See kotous.com.
TV chef Anthony Bourdain has a macabre side to his nature. He has co-written with Joel Rose a graphic novel titled “Get Jiro.” Published by Vertigo, it is the story of a sushi chef who brandishes a Samurai sword to behead customers who do not hold his food in the highest regard. Landgon Foss served as the artist on the book.