July 16, 2017


Starring the voices of Kevin Dorman, Matthew Mercer, Erin Cahill, Kari Wahlgren, John DeMita. Directed by Takanori Tsujimoto. (2017, 97 min).

Resident Evil: Vendetta is the third film in the Japanese-produced computer-animated series. Unlike the live action franchise starring Milla Jovovich, these films are considered part of the same universe as the video games. While that might be preferable to purists, as someone who isn't much of a gamer, I found myself questioning Vendetta's purpose as a movie.

The story involves three characters from previous games (Chris, Leon and Rebecca) attempting to thwart the nefarious plans of Glenn Arias. A psychotic genius, he wants revenge for the death of his wife & family by unleashing a new virus on New York, which turns people into ravenous zombies.

The movie looks like a video game, plays like a video game and has a story structure like those in a video game (concluding on a rooftop, which is apparently a tradition in the Resident Evil world). I'll concede that Vendetta would probably be great fun to play. But as a viewing experience, well...it's like watching someone else play.

Spaceballs 2: Revenge of Pizza the Hut
While my own kids enjoy YouTube videos of that very thing, Vendetta does little to justify its existence as a movie, not helped by expressionless & dull animated characters and completely implausible action, the latter best exemplified in a scene where a character falls 500 feet and splats to the ground like a water balloon, yet survives long enough to speak. Sure, it's just an animated movie, but totally negates obvious efforts to make these characters move and behave realistically. Hell, even toddlers knew Mufasa was toast when he fell into that ravine.

The characters are inconsistent, as well. In a single scene, Arias goes from being creepily obsessed with marrying Rebecca (the spitting image of his dead wife) to deciding she he'd rather turn her into a zombie. As for Chris...for someone who's supposedly the world's most badass zombie killer, he sure spends a lot of time staring dumbstruck at the hordes of undead shambling his way.

Though plenty bloody and full of action, Resident Evil: Vendetta would probably be more exciting if you could pick up the controller and inflict the carnage yourself. As a movie, the CG mayhem quickly becomes repetitive and boring. Hardcore gamers might enjoy it, but there's a good reason the live action films chose to go in a different direction.

FEATURETTES: "CGI to Reality: The Creature"; "CGI to Reality: Designing Vendetta"; "Motion Capture Set Tour with Dante Carver"; "Designing the World of Vendetta"
"BSAA MISSION BRIEIFING" - Character Profiles
TOKYO GAME SHOW FOOTAGE - The creators speaking at a Comic-Con

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