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Resident Evil: Degeneration
Distributor Sony Pictures
Price £24.99 (BD) £19.99 (DVD)
Date 07 Dec 2008
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was a film purely for the fans. The sole aim was to continue the story of their beloved franchise and revisit characters of old in brand new scenarios. Well, its Resident Evil’s chance to do the same - but is it really what the fans want?
The film is set seven years after the events in Racoon City which ended with its destruction by a nuclear missile sent by the government. Claire Redfield arrives at Harvardville Airport to meet a friend when it suddenly becomes the target of a bio-terrorist attack. Claire is forced to find shelter from the newly created virus victims, while a specialist in the shape of Leon S. Kennedy is flown in to sort out the situation.
If you’re a fan of the Resident Evil series of games (not the films, though some Milla Jovovich sexiness would have been nice), then there will be more than enough here to keep you entertained. Degeneration basically carries on from the video game Resident Evil 4 and helps put things into place for Resident Evil 5, which is released in March 09. That alone is more than reason enough for the fans to be salivating at the mouth.
Not only that, but the film also contains nods to previous story events in the games series, especially when Leon and Claire meet up during the early sections of the film. Even certain flashbacks from the previous games have been reanimated - it’s all pure fanservice.
That’s all well and good, but what is here for the average, uninformed movie goer? Knowledge of Resident Evil’s long and quite complex storyline is not needed here and the film is quite watchable, in a B-movie sort of way. The most disappointing aspect of the film is the animation itself. The entire film looks more like an over long cut-scene for a Resident Evil game. While not particularly horrible, go watch the trailers for Resident Evil 5 after this film and the difference is quite jarring. For a CG film based on a game series, you would expect it to be near Advent Children quality. Instead we have a film that actually looks worse than the game it is trying to promote. The English dub suffers from poor lip-syncing and can at times seem completely out of place with the words being spoken.
If there is one saving grace for the film, it's the action sequences. Though taking a leaf out of The Matrix’s book of action, like so many other films have done in the last 10 years, its still fun to watch and very much adrenaline packed. The plot does suffer from being incredibly B-grade however, which some could argue is not a bad thing considering the games themselves are seen as interactive B-movies themselves. Dialogue is often forced and while the situations are believable to some extent, there are some things that require a suspension of disbelief, not least of which is why anyone would actually act the way the do given the situation.
What you will get out of Resident Evil: Degeneration is what you go in expecting. Res Evil fans will get a quick fix of their favourite series to help the next three months pass by, while general viewers may be interested in the CG visuals and more realistic setting than Advent Children. The film doesn't reach the same technical heights as Advent Children or Appleseed, which will disappoint most. But if you’re looking for a brain-dead action film you could do a lot worse.
Blu-Ray Edition Interactive Picture-in-Picture BD-Live Enabled The Generation of DEGENERATION featurette Character Profiles Voice Bloopers Faux Leon Interview A Look at the Resident Evil 5 Video Game
Fans will love it, others may not find the height of CG film goodness they are looking for.