Resident Evil: Vendetta is Capcom’s 3rd outing partnered with Marza Animation Planet and Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan to bring fan’s of the long standing survival horror series films that are actually faithful and connected to it’s video game franchise (Sorry Milla Jovovich). Although the films aren’t live action and don’t have the “star power” that the American film adaptations carry (Ashanti and Mike Epps anyone??), the animated films have actually generated a decent following from die hard fans of the game both in Japan and abroad.
The film takes place in between the events of Resident Evil 6 and Resident Evil: Biohazard (the 7th installment in the game series). It follows Leon S. Kennedy (Matthew Mercer), Chris Redfield (Kevin Dorman), and Rebecca Chambers (Erin Cahill) as they hunt down BioTerrorist/Weapons Dealer Glenn Arias (John DeMita) and try and stop him from unleashing the A-Virus on the world. If those of you who are reading this have watched the first two films in this series Resident Evil: Degeneration and Resident Evil: Damnation (Released in 2008 and 2012 respectively), Vendetta is immediately a far more visually impressive film than the first two. Whether it’s an intense action sequence or just a regular dialogue scene, it’s hard to not just stare in awe of how good the graphics are.
While the animations are incredibly smooth and satisfying, I can’t help but feel that the story isn’t as good as it could have been. Not to mention that some of the dialogue is a bit unnatural and clunky. While not perfect, this film is far from being bad. Now with that being said, there were at least a handful of moments that are just so over the top that you kind of have to reel yourself back in and remind yourself that it’s a movie. What immediately comes to mind is this highway scene involving one of my favorite characters from the game series, Leon.
Ever since Capcom released Resident Evil 4, it feels as though Leon has been forced into this role of this ultra-stylish bad ass, with absolutely zero fear and always a cool looking way to escape from any situation. During this particular scene in the movie, Leon distracts a pair of infected hounds (known to fans of the game series since it’s inception) and leads them on a highway chase scene. Not only are these hounds hopping off of cars, causing way more destruction than we’ve ever seen in any previous game, but it’s the way that Leon dispatches them that really gets to me. Shooting down destination signs, and throwing grenades on a populated highway?? Really?? Not to mention, riding a motor cycle with his foot on the clutch while shooting at them? Give me a break. Right after the film grabs you, you are immediately pulled out of the experience because of completely ridiculous moments like this.
Another gripe that I had with the film was the little depth that characters outside of the main 3 had. Even the main antagonist Arias’ motives are almost paper thin. The two scenes in the movie included to help add some depth and gravitas to Arias, in my opinion fell flat and actually had the adverse effect on me. By the end of the movie, I couldn’t help but feel that there were numerous things that the script writers could have done to make Arias’ mission resonate with viewers more than it’s half-assed attempt.
While I did have my own personal issues with the movie, overall it’s still not bad. I actually would recommend fans of the games to check this out. While portions of the story and the supporting cast need a bit more work, and some of the action scenes need to be dialed down, there is still a decent movie watching experience to be had. Luckily, the way the film ends screams that it’s setting up for another film. My only issue with it, is that it ends with one of those one dimensional, supporting characters looking to play a much larger role in the next film. If this actually does happen, this gives the writers a chance to actually provide some backstory and hopefully fill in the gaps of it’s predecessor.