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Movie Review | Resident Evil: Damnation

by on October 5, 2012
 

“A visually-stunning animated movie that won’t make you forget you’re watching a movie based on a game” (This is a blurb just in case the review needs it).

Can Capcom’s latest animated movie surpass the real-life movie franchise’s shortcomings? Read on and find out.

Capcom has recently released the animated movie, Resident Evil: Damnation, which is a direct sequel to their last animated effort, Resident Evil: Degeneration. So, has Capcom moved the videogame animated movie genre forward or does it succumb to the same pitfalls its predecessor experienced?

First thing I should mention is, while this is a review, I’ll still thread lightly on certain plot points as to not spoil the movie completely. Secondly, if you are not familiar with Resident Evil’s lore or have played any of the Resident Evil games; then Damnation’s plot and characters will make no sense to you. There’s no short intro bridging the two films, or even any background exposition to catch you up to speed. All you need to know is the movie stars Leon Kennedy and he’s a bad-ass. Although, if you’re not a fan of the games or haven’t seen the first film, I highly doubt you’d be giving this a watch in the first place, no?

Introductory scenes aside, first thing viewers will notice is that Damnation is a nice leap graphically from Degeneration. This is certainly a given, since Degeneration was made back in 2008. Nonetheless, the film is certainly a sight to behold and is a great technical achievement by Digital Frontier.

One complaint or niggle I did have with the animation is that while it is top-notch, that uneasy feeling of seeing the “uncanny valley” does creep in. I honestly couldn’t say if it was due to the characters’ hair, lip movement or overall “shininess” of their skin, but there’s still something “off” with it that denies immersing you completely. Again, this is a minor complaint and for the most part, you will like how everything looks and the art-style is faithful to the series it represents.

While the visuals are amazing, I sadly can’t say the same for the voice-over work and the movie’s dialogue. Of course, this isn’t really a surprise, since the franchise is known to have cheesy one-liners and dialogue that somehow makes everything sound ludicrous. However, what’s there is serviceable and shouldn’t make you cringe that much — except for one sunglasses-wearing character, which you’ll know whom the moment he starts talking.

I’m sad to say, the visual and audio work are the highpoint of the whole movie. The overall plot is nowhere near being bad, but it will remind you repeatedly that – yes — you are watching a movie based on a videogame…and that’s not a compliment.

While the film has some genuine scares involved, most of the things that are set to happen can be seen a mile away. Further compounding this dilemma are characters that do things that absolutely make no sense.

There’s “Sasha,” the former teacher turned freedom fighter that has no qualms in injecting stuff into his body just to control bio-organic weapons; and then there’s the Russian president that – for the sake of not dropping massive spoilers – might not have the best idea in resolving the crisis her country’s in.

Add in the fact that Leon risks his life for nothing more than just wanting to, and then there’s Ada Wong. Ada, the anti-hero of the franchise, is still up to her old tricks. Her motives in the movie are still a mystery and I expect the answers to them will be answered in Resident Evil 6.

However, minor character development issues and plotholes aside, the movie is still fun to watch. Dare I say it, even non-Resident Evil fans might find the film entertaining, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they find themselves scratching their heads at certain points throughout the film.

For Resident Evil fans and for those who watched Degeneration, seeing Damnation is almost a no-brainer. You will love the eye-candy and I presume the movie will act as a bridge (be it how small it is) and add little nuances to Resident Evil 6 that fans will surely appreciate. If you’re not from either camp mentioned above, the movie is still worth a watch. I just recommend that you have a Resident Evil fan watching with you or at least read up on the lore to better understand what’s happening on-screen.

One thing I’d like to add though, Capcom ties the film up pretty neatly. You won’t feel like they tacked the ending on for another sequel and for the most part, most of the questions do get answered at the end. This is no small feat given the state of movies nowadays.

In what could be considered the best compliment for Resident Evil: Damnation, I’d honestly recommend and watch this compared to any of Paul W.S. Anderson’s “Resident Evil” films. If you’ve seen any of those, you owe it to yourself to watch Damnation just to experience what a “real” Resident Evil is like…just be prepared to be reminded that you’re watching a movie based on a game.

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