Resident Evil:Vendetta features the return of fan favorites from the unstoppable video game franchise, including Chris Redfield (Kevin Dorman; Reel Steel, Avatar) and Leon S. Kennedy (Matthew Mercer; Resident Evil 6, Resident Evil Damnation), as well as the debut of the character Rebecca Chambers (Erin Cahill; The Watcher, Boogeyman 3). The film follows the trio as they are faced with yet another deadly virus, akin to the travesty of Raccoon City, but this time it’s set to destroy New York.
Resident Evil: Vendetta is the third installment of its kind, in terms of its CG-style, from producer Takashi Shimizu (director of The Grudge), which is still quite unique for a video game movie. Instead of trying to make this live action or give it a more cartoony take, Resident Evil: Vendetta aesthetically looks like cutscenes and gameplay taken straight from the Resident Evil franchise.
Â Upon initial watch, this can be distracting or even seem a bit silly, but as the film plays out the CG works in its favor as some unbelievable feats can be accomplished because they are not using real people. For example, one of the characters drives a motorcycle up a set of stairs to help another fight the infected in a closed hallway and they arrive just in the nick of time.
In a live action scenario, this type of stunt can look ridiculous or even if it is done perfectly, could be torn apart by viewers for how unpractical something like that is. There actually was a point in the film that I stopped paying attention to the animation itself because as it unfolds it just becomes an element of the story rather than the main focal point, but the animation does not take away from the enjoyment of the film.
However, as far as the animation style, I think what really helps Resident Evil: Vendetta along is the fact that it is rated R. Because of the flexibility of the rating, Resident Evil: Vendetta is able to deliver on gruesome scenes and brutal violence that would be seen in this universe where zombies are a constant threat. In a live action movie, this is the aspect that is usually translated well, the violence and gore that goes along with dealing with the infected, but the characters with human actors come off as cheesy and disingenuous.
The story itself is a typical Resident Evil plotline that takes place in a society that exists in the aftermath in Raccoon City. While Redfield remains in the field to be the boots on the ground, he realizes that there seems to be a new strain of the virus and enlists the help of scientist Rebecca Chambers and a begrudgingly complacent Leon Kennedy. Through the film these three characters interact naturally and the dialogue is well-conceived, instead of being reminiscent of typical silly game dialogue.
Furthermore, because the animation style is reminiscent of the video game itself, it can sometimes bridge the gap between game and movie, especially for fans that are familiar with the gameplay. Personally, I have played several Resident Evil games and especially in some of the tenser moments, I felt like I was vicariously living through the characters, like I do when I play the game.
To me, this is a truly brilliant idea in a world where we have atrocious live action remakes of games like Silent Hill and Mortal Kombat, where the scary and eerie concepts do not translate well to film. Maybe I would have enjoyed Resident Evil: Vendetta less if I had not played the games previously, but overall it translated from video game to film well.
However, the story doesn’t bring anything new to the party. There are three characters in various levels of involvement and dealings with the virus who are trying to stop some maniac with a god-complex from taking over the entire world. There are stakes and, as a viewer, you are interested in how it unfolds, but you are not going to grip the edge of your seat in anticipation of the next scene.
Overall, though, Resident Evil: Vendetta is a fun movie that fans of the franchise can enjoy as it is truer to the games than you might expect. Likewise, anyone who is interested in seeing another type of animation style done well will enjoy it. This is the ideal movie to watch with friends or just to relax on a weekend.
Resident Evil: Vendetta is now available on wherever you stream digital media as well as on 3-Disck 4K Ultra HD/Blue-Ray Combo Pack, 2-disc Blu-ray, and DVD that are LOADED with bonus features (and well worth the price, as a result)
WICKED RATING 5/10
Director(s): Takanori Tsujimoto, Alexander Von David
Writer(s): Makoto Fukami, Joe McClean
Stars: Kevin Dorman, Matthew Mercer, Erin Cahill
Studio/ Production Co: Capcom Company, Marza Animation Planet
Release date: May 27, 2017
Length: 97 min