A Movie Review on Resident Evil: Damnation (2012)
Back in 2008 Capcom released an CG animated film based off of the Resident Evil game series, Resident Evil: Degeneration. This marked the first full-length animated Resident Evil film as well as the first movie produced by Capcom. The movie takes place 7 years after the events of Raccoon City, with Claire Redfield a part of Terra Save, a government agency that helps with Chemical and Bio-terrorist attacks. Claire, while at an airport picking up her niece, ends up in the middle a viral outbreak, with zombies now roaming and attacking throughout the airport. With the airport now locked down and quarantined by the military from the outside, Leon S. Kennedy, now a government special agent, shows up at the scene and enters the airport, eventually meeting up with Claire. Leon and Claire must team up to take down a recognizable foe, before there is another Raccoon City.
Degeneration was a much better Resident Evil movie than the live-action adaptions, giving fans the movie that they deserved. Degeneration bridged the gap between the fourth and fifth games, and introduced the company of Tricell, which is a major player in Resident Evil 5. The movie featured fantastic voice actors, spectacular CGI animations, and of course zombies. I was lucky enough to catch the film before it was released on DVD, at a screening of it at the NYC Horror Film Festival alongside many other die-hard Resident Evil fans. It was a great experience and a great movie. Resident Evil: Damnation sees the return of fan favorite, Leon S. Kennedy, and is bigger, and better than Degeneration.
The story picks up with a lengthy prologue about the history of Eastern Slav, and how they became at war with "Freedom Fighters," which is just another name for terrorists. We then follow Leon S. Kennedy as he sneaks into the Eastern Slav Republic in search of evidence that B.O.W.'s are being used in the war. He heads into an underground parking area to meet up with his contact, only to find the man near-death. The man says something about "beekeeper", just before they are attacked by a B.O.W. known as a Licker. Leon, in the middle of the fight, is captured by the rebels, Kozachenko and JD.. Leon soon discovers that the rebels were using the Plagas parasite to help aid them in the war. Leon sets out to end the threat of the B.O.W.'s.
First thing first. This movie is beautiful. The CGI animations are astounding, and some of the best I've seen in quite some time. The animators seemed to have put a lot of time and effort into this movie. It really shows. There are times when you'll feel like you are looking at real objects, not animations. I watched it on Blu-ray and the picture quality was great, really showing off the look of the film. My only minor gripe was that when the characters spoke, the way their mouth moved at times bothered me. It's nothing major, but just a little thing I noticed.
The action scenes are well crafted, similar to the first one, but they are larger in scale this time. It's an entire city overrun with B.O.W.'s. Plagas zombies roam the streets along side Lickers, killing and infecting whatever is in their way. The scenes in the underground facility are both very intense and very entertaining, with Leon and Kozachenko facing off against two massive Tyrants. Kozachenko, who is able to command the Lickers, uses them to help fight off the Tyrants. It's quite a great scene to behold. The ending also features a few great sequences that I won't give away.
The voice actors do a terrific job. Matthew Mercer does the voice of Leon, and will also be doing the voice of Leon in Resident Evil 6. Courtenay Taylor, who does the voice of Ada, will also be reprising her voice role in Resident Evil 6. I was actually quite surprised at how well all of the voice actors did. The first film featured great voice actors as well, although the characters are voiced by different people in this once. The character of JD was, at times, quite excessive, but became likable at the end. Ada and Leon retained the same sexual tension between each other that they have carried around since 1998 in Resident Evil 2.
Overall, I thought this movie was fantastic. The CGI animations are great, action scenes are well crafted, and the voice actors are at the top of their game. I did feel that the story was slightly weaker than the previous film, but it was still well done and followed the direction that the Resident Evil games are heading. Resident Evil fans, keep an eye out for some very well done "Easter Eggs" scattered throughout the film. If you've played all of the games, especially the ones involving Leon, you should have no problem spotting these.
Resident Evil: Damnation was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 25th 2012. The movie can also be found bundled with Resident Evil 6: Archives for the Xbox 360, due out on October 2nd 2012
Directed by Makoto Kamiya
Voiced by Matthew Mercer, Courtenay Taylor, Robin Sachs, Salli Saffioti, Val Tasso, Dave Wittenberg, and Wendee Lee.
Rated R. Runtime: 101 Minutes