I’m sure many of you will notice that this review is being written differently than most of my other reviews. Typically, I like to start with a cast list, run time and even a short plot synopsis. But this movie is different, so the review is written as such. Resident Evil: Degeneration is the English title of a movie released in Japan. It is know by several different titles, and I will list their English translations for you. Perhaps you know this film as one of the following names: Biohazard CG (copyrighted in Japan) Biohazard: Degeneration (in Japan) and Resident Evil: CG (copyrighted. International title) Maybe you have heard one of these titles and thought, “Another Resident Evil film? How come I’ve never heard of this?” Well, this film is not to be confused with anything derived from the trilogy of live action films based upon the popular video game series. In addition, the film is a mix of Motion Capture and CGI instead of the live action filming of the trilogy. Boring stuff out of the way, let’s get to the film itself.
Never fear movie fans! The following review will feature little spoilers! Resident Evil: Degeneration is a full length, animated film based upon the popular video game series. Resident Evil (The video game) fans will notice that the movie features Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, both were main characters in the video game series. And basically, save for some token references, that is the only thing that ties this movie to the games. It is not a sequel to any RE video game (though I’d love to see that! Hey studio exec’s, you paying attention?!?) And it does not tie in to the live action films. It is by all accounts a stand-alone adventure. The plot centers around Claire and Leon as they try to stop a terrorist from unleashing a deadly strain of a variant of the T virus created by the Umbrella corporation. But Umbrella folded after the Racoon city disaster was “taken care of” by military officials. So who is behind the latest Zombie outbreak? Hey, this review is spoiler free! Rent the movie to find out.
Now let’s break it down. I’ll start with the good, and there is plenty of it. The first thing about this film that makes it worthy of your attention is that it is NOT related to the poorly done live action trilogy. Sorry, just had to take one more jab at it. As a fan of the video games, I was severely disappointed. But this film, as a fan of the video games, I was pleasantly surprised. The movie was closer to the feel of the games than anything before it. It was dark and at times it was creepy. And the zombies were well done. They were gruesome and bloodthirsty. And speaking of blood, there was plenty of it. This film is violent and bloody. It was rated R, so don’t let the kiddies watch this movie. Overall, the story was a good one. It was easy to follow and it was exciting. Fans of the video games may want to keep their eyes and ears open for little bits referencing the games. The movie’s climax was lifted straight from a video game, and the “final showdown” looked like it was lifted directly from a RE video game. In fact, the whole game looked as if it was comprised of cut scenes from the games. But that is not bad! It helped the movie to feel more like the games we loved so much. And the animation was good. It had a little anime vibe to it, but not overtly so. Visually it was nice.
Now, let’s get to the bad. I did not enjoy certain character animations. Keep an eye out for the characters standing still on screen. It looks as if they are just pictures printed and pasted on cardboard. When the characters are moving, in action sequences, in almost every other aspect of the movie, it looks good. But when they stand still, well, someone missed something. In addition, the voice acting was not good. It was very boring and monotone. And at times, the lip syncing was off. You can tell that this was first a Japanese movie, and then changed for American audiences. So there was some serious issue there. The film was also riddled with cliches. There were the classic horror movie characters that appeared in the film: egotistical and angry male characters, little girls, and dumb people. All kinds of dumb people. “Zombies are all over this airport. The dead has risen and is eating human flesh, but I don’t understand why I can shoot it several times below the waist and have it keep coming at me.” I hate that. You would think that you could add a little common sense to the characters.
Here is the bottom line for Resident Evil: Degeneration. It was a nice looking film. And it was the best representation of the video game franchise to date. If you are a fan of the games, this movie is a MUST BUY! However, if you are just a fan of zombie movies, or even the live action trilogy, this movie is a MUST RENT. Either way, you really need to see this. It is definitely worthy of your time. It is a dark, scary video game come to life. So take that for what it’s worth. Video game fans, Movie fans, see this movie!