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Movie Reviews: ‘Resident Evil: Retribution,’ ‘Last Ounce Of Courage’
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
“RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION” (R)
1.5 OUT OF 4 STARS
MILLA JOVOVICH, SIENNA GUILLORY AND MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ
Moving ever closer to simply morphing into a video game, this movie series has run out of 1) creativity and 2) any reason to exist.
Except, of course, to feature star Milla Jovovich once again in her tight, black leather jumpsuit. She also runs, shoots, jumps and grimaces through hordes of zombies and storm troopers. Did I mention the tight jumpsuit?
If this film and so many others in the series weren’t directed by Jovovich’s husband, Paul W.S. Anderson, the series would likely have faded away years ago.
It isn’t that the film doesn’t have action sequences that are fun to watch, or that Jovovich isn’t an appealing star—she almost makes you believe all the jumping and shooting and fighting actually might be possible.
But after putting her character, Alice, through more life-threatening, zombie-filled apocalypse scenarios than you can shake a sword at, enough’s enough.
This time out, she wakes up in a massive underwater facility, captured by the omnipresent corporation slowly destroying the world.
Fortunately, a former foe dispatches a team to help break Alice out of her watery prison.
This is where the video game aspect kicks in, as there are multiple areas of this underwater complex where the evil corporation tests their weaponized monsters, and each area is a different virtual world.
So Alice and her friends get to fight their way, level by level, through Tokyo, New York and other recognizable spots.
With multiple weapons, various foes and a slow death toll for the good guys, it feels exactly like the latest combat action game. That will be fun for folks who want a joystick-free gaming experience, but most others will want more of a movie than what is, essentially, a few fights connected by a silly set-up.
The worst thing? This film sets up yet another sequel. When we leave our hero, she and the last remnants of good on the planet are holed up in D.C. with hordes of evil slowly closing in.
Since this film topped the box office last year (largely because of a near-total lack of competition) chances are good we’ll see this movie again.
At some point, Jovovich will probably get too old to squeeze herself into the required black leather suit. Until then, prepare yourself for as many “Resident Evil” sequels as the creators can squeeze out.
Rated R for sequences of strong violence throughout. 95 min. [MC, PV, RA]
“LAST OUNCE OF COURAGE” (PG)
1 OUT OF 4 STARS
MARSHALL R. TEAGUE, JENNIFER O’NEILL, FRED WILLIAMSON
Though there are viewers for whom the message will resonate, the execution of this polemic against everything from political correctness to the alleged War on Christmas is so overdone it eventually sinks under its own weight.
From acting that’s painful to watch to a script that equates loss of life in wartime service to the courage to put lights on a town Christmas tree, the film’s real problem is that it tries to pack in too much message.
One moment, we’re seeing the main character—a Vietnam war hero named Bob Revere—suffer the loss of his son in battle.
The next, we’re seeing Bob launch a campaign to put a Christmas tree up in the town square, in defiance of the Christmas police.
In between are mentions of anti-Christian assaults on people’s rights, the loss of a sense of community, family problems, civic and school folks caving to anti-Christian attitudes and odd twists about Bob’s service.
The acting is amateurish and the film’s point is made in such a heavy-handed way that it robs the tale of both power and the compelling story that might have otherwise shared this family’s history of service.
Rated PG for thematic elements, some war images and brief smoking. 101 min. [MC, PV]