I promised this review sometime around the release of ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’ but in all fairness, this hadn’t been released just yet. I think it was released sometime around October last year but I didn’t get around to it because it was so hard to find but the announcement of the new Resident Evil 2 reboot at the latest E3 Games convention has thrown me back into the RE Universe. So without further ado, it’s review time.
The decision to do a series of CG films was a rather perplexing one on Capcom’s part. Live action films are one thing but why CG? It’s like watching a 90 minute cutscene from one of the games.
Speaking of the games, I love the Resident Evil games. The first one was fine, RE2 was great, RE3 is the only one that I haven’t finished because I hate Nemesis and the ‘dodge’ move just plain doesn’t work. My feelings towards RE4 go thus. If RE4 was a lovely gentleman, I’d marry it tomorrow. It’s the game that I know the best because I’ve played it 27 Millions times and know it arse backwards. In fact, I did a speed-run of that game and posted it on Youtube. 2 and a half hours completion time for a game that would probably take about 8 hours. Thank you very much. RE5 was controversial with the alleged racism thing and also make the curious decision to properly kill the series main villain. With Albert Wesker seriously dead, where could the series go from there? It went straight to RE6 which is the very definition of awful. I’ve not even attempted to finish RE7. I’m that much of a pussy.
Since I can’t be arsed doing a full review of each, I’ll just give a brief recap of the first two films.
Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008) sees an outbreak at an airport, stranding Claire Redfield. Luckily, Leon Kennedy (of RE2, RE4 and RE6 fame) comes to her rescue. This attack was part of a much bigger plot involving both the T and G-Virus which Leon and Claire both faced in RE2. Of course, they both win the day and all status quo is restored.
Presumably in anticipation for RE6, another CG film was released in the same year. Resident Evil: Damnation again followed Leon Kennedy as he investigates the use if bio-weapons, in this case it’s the Lickers from RE2 and RE5 in a civil war in the Eastern Slav Republic between rebel insurgents and the government. This story involves a new kind of parasite that clings to the spinal cord and allows the host to control the Lickers. The only way to ‘cure’ the host is surgery that removes the parasite but will almost certainly paralyse the host. This film also marks the return of Ada Wong, Leon’s ‘kind of love’ interest. This film must have been made as a prequel to RE6 but you don’t necessarily have to have watched this film to understand what’s going on in RE6. Nobody knows what’s going on in RE6. This not only re-introduces the Lickers but also ‘Mr X’ from the RE2 B-scenarios. After sort of befriending this guy who infected himself with the parasite to defeat the corrupt President of the country, the battle is sort of won. To rid his new friend of the parasite, Leon shoots him which kills the parasite and renders the guy paralysed. It’s also hinted at that Leon is developing something of a drinking problem at the end of the film which sort of leads onto Resident Evil Vendetta.
It’s no surprise that Leon is in all the CG films because he’s the most interesting. And by the most interesting, I mean he’s the sexiest. Of all the male characters in the RE universe, he is definitely the hunkiest.
Anyway, this film brings in two other established RE characters. Enter, Chris Redfield and Rebecca Chambers who (to the best of my knowledge) hasn’t been involved in the series since Resident Evil 0 which I haven’t played but it’s sitting on my PS4 hard drive waiting to be played. Maybe after this review, if I have time.
Chris Redfield (voiced by Kevin Dorman) and a team of non-established RE characters so ‘targets’ enter a mansion looking for Glenn Arias (voiced by John DeMita) who has one of the infinite number of T-Virus sub-viruses, the A-Virus. Of course, all of his team are killed and Arias escapes.
In the meantime, Rebecca Chambers (voiced by Erin Cahill) is now a professor of some description despite still looking about 12 years old. Her lab is then attacked by an associate of Arias with a gas that turns her colleagues into zombies. Rebecca protects herself with the vaccine and is rescued by Chris. This film is also playing with the same element from RE Damnation which is the prospect of parasite that can control BOW’s or in this case, zombies. Rebecca has made a connection with this new virus and the Plaga used by the Los Illumindos from RE4. There’s only one guy that’s had experience with that. My boy, Leon.
Leon (voiced by Matt Mercer) is on vacation in Colorado but instead of seeing the sights, he’s giving his liver some exercise by getting pissed in the local bar. You see, there’s this whole thing that happened before the film where he was on an operation and his whole team were killed and now he’s an alcoholic which is essentially the same backstory that they gave Chris for RE6. And, Leon has adopted the same attitude that Chris had at the start of RE5 where he’s questioning how long he can keep fighting when all the time there’s some new prick with a new virus and it just doesn’t seem to end. What Leon and Chris don’t seem to realise is that if it does end, then Resident Evil will end. I’m pretty sure the Resident Evil franchise is the only thing that still makes Capcom any money.
One thing that the RE franchise still does well is action. It’s certainly not writing. That’s appalling but in a funny way. It’s endearingly appalling. Still, the action. Action is pretty much what ties the games and the films together. One memorable action sequence involves Leon riding a Ducati motorbike through the streets of New York whilst fending off the classic zombie dogs. It’s funny to me how both Leon and Chris are hell bent on saving the citizens of this city and yet during this sequence, Leon kills a zombie dog which causes two cars to crash and burst into flames. How many people just died?
You see, these two are trying to stop tankers of this zombie gas that are turning people into zombies and the resolution for this is the most stupid thing I’ve ever seen in anything Resident Evil has ever produced. Yes, more stupid than the ‘boulder punching’ thing from RE5. The answer to all of these thousands of infected people stumbling around New York is genuinely an anti-virus in gas form which makes them all human again. Is that how it works?
An interesting that I found out recently is the guy who does the motion capture for Leon is a former Power Ranger. The guy is Jason Faunt and he played Wes in Power Rangers: Time Force. What’s also interesting is the lady who does the voice and the motion capture for Rebecca Chambers is also a former Power Ranger from the same series. Her name is Erin Cahill and she played Jen in Power Rangers: Time Force. It’s nice to see they’re still finding work.
Power Rangers aside, the plot to this movie is the most laughable one of the series so far but I’m holding out high hopes for the new RE2 reboot.
It sounds like I’m ending this review but I’m not. I haven’t done the box office yet.
It seems like these kind of films should have been a straight to DVD or straight to Video on Demand kind of affair but they’re not. Resident Evil Vendetta was given a limited theatrical release which brought in just over $250,000. And the film had a budget of $1.2 Million. Don’t fret though because the sales from DVD and VOD brought in another $1.2 Million so at least it made it’s money back. I’ve been a bit lax in this review because there’s not really much to say about it. It’s another Resident Evil product, they all follow the same formula. Random nutter gets virus, releases to public, ends up infecting themselves, turns into monstrosity, heroes defeat monster, all status quo restored. That’s basically it. I’m not even spoiling anything. I only wanted to talk about it because of this new RE2 reboot which I am hyped about. It was announced at E3 the other week but there’s one problem with it that I’ve seen so far. It’s not out until January of next year.