Who's In It: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Wentworth Miller, Kim Coates, Boris Kodjoe
The Basics: Milla is free from her lockdown and she heads off to a prison in Los Angeles where she thinks there might be some survivors of the viral outbreak/zombie infestation she's been capably battling for the past several movies. There are: a producer, an actor, a basketball player, etc., which means she's struck the jackpot of Hollywood stereotypes should the new world they build ever need repopulation with comfortingly self-absorbed cliches.
What's The Deal: I have never met a single person who waits anxiously or greedily for this series to have a next installment, never known anyone who dreams fondly of the day that a new Resident Evil movie will appear. But every time one gets belched up, the people in my life whose living doesn't revolve around watching films still say, "Oh hey, how's that new Resident Evil movie?" and I just stare at them and say, "What's it to you?" Their answer is, without variation, "Oh, I don't know. Thought it might be better than the last one. It was okay." And that is the state of the world right now. "Is it better than just okay?" has replaced, "Will it blow my mind? Will I have an experience that'll change my way of seeing the world? Are there tons of cool deaths?" The answer, by the way, is no. It's always no. There's not one good reason for this franchise to exist. Give your ticket money to charity instead.
Why It Exists: For the 3D. It's surprisingly good. They made it the way a new 3D movie should be made, intentionally and not simply retrofitted to take advantage of the current trend. So it looks very cool and crisp and they know why you want 3D in the first place unless your name is James Cameron--you want stuff thrown at your face. They do a lot of this. Planes, axes, dogs, glass, bullets, stuff. And the battles are sort of broken down into that Matrix-y, slow-mo, "Hey, check this out!" show-offiness. It holds your attention while it's happening.
Besides The Audience, Who Deserves Better: Milla Jovovich. She might never become as accomplished as Helen Mirren but she wears this character like a skin-tight suit now and, while no one was really looking, has turned herself into a somewhat badass female action star. Angelina Jolie may have jumped on that bandwagon with Salt but Milla's been here the whole time, battle video game menaces in movie after movie. It's just too bad they're really boring movies where nothing fresh or exciting ever goes down.
Most Annoying Thing of All: The open-ended possibility of a fifth...