September 23, 2012

Filthy Review - 'Resident Evil: Damnation'

Resident Evil: Damnation (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

When it comes to the Resident Evil franchise, there are two very distinct sides. On the one side you have the live-action movies, which star Milla Jovovich. They are fun for what they are, but to me they aren’t really in the Resident Evil world. Then, on the other side, there are the original games, with masters of unlocking, abandoned police stations and crazy ass moon-walking (yeah, I had too much free time). The games rocked, at least until Resident Evil 4, which is the last one I played through. For me though it was the first two games, and in particular RE2. This was the game that introduced us to Leon S. Kennedy and Ada Wong, both of whom would return in later games and movies.

Aside from the games, Leon and the other playable character from RE2, Claire Redfield, both featured in the 2008 animated movie, Resident Evil: Degeneration. It wasn’t perfect as movies go, yet it did feel like Resident Evil; it was like watching an extended cut scene from one of the games, because it had the vibe.

Now, four years later and we get the latest animated movie, entitled Damnation, and once again Leon S Kennedy returns. This time around the makers of the film have really gone to town and ironed out any flaws from the previous movie. Quite simply, this is a kick-ass return to the world of Resident Evil, and without retreading old ground it takes the story in a new direction, whilst still retaining many elements from the games. I also believe that this film leads directly into the latest game, Resident Evil 6, which hits stores later this year. Hell, Capcom are nothing if not thorough!

In Damnation we find Leon deep in the heart of the Eastern Slav Republic, a nation that is in the midst of civil unrest following its split from the former USSR. He hasn’t been there long when he is informed that the US is pulling out, and he is to leave. Following orders has never been one of Leon’s strong points though and he continues his investigation.

The reason he is there is to investigation B.O.W.s, or Bio Organic Weapons, so you know where this is heading, and it’s not too long before he is knee deep in Lickers, Nemesi (what’s the plural of Nemesis, anyway?) and political corruption. Ada Wong pops up, as she has a habit of doing, and the city folk are restless.

There is a distinct lack of zombies in this film, instead the infected are more in line with the villagers from RE4, and the Licker’s aren’t quite as random as they are in the games. To say more might spoil some elements of the film for you. What I will say is that although the film starts off relatively slowly, it soon builds up a ferocious head of steam and the action never lets up.

Visually, Damnation is sweet looking. It’s an obvious improvement over Degeneration, and watching it on Blu-ray enhances that difference even further. The sounds and music pump out of the speakers, and fans of the games will note some eerily familiar music throughout the action.
This is definitely a movie for fans of the games, of which I certainly am and as such totally got into it. For those unfamiliar with the games, or previous movie, there is still enough action and intrigue to reel you in.

One thing I did notice, due to its seeming absence, was any mention of the Umbrella Corporation. Maybe there was, and I didn’t notice it, but it seemed strange to me. That being said, it didn’t take away any enjoyment I got from the film. Like I said, it is a vast improvement over Degeneration and I hope that continue this series of films, for at least a couple more.

There might not be the zombies we all know and love, but this is Resident Evil to its rotten core. Great fun, slick animation and blood and guts aplenty, with more than a couple of ‘holy shit’ moments to boot, this comes as a definite recommendation to RE fans and newcomers alike.

Resident Evil: Damnation is released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 25th by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.


Anonymous said...

The plural of nemesis is nemeses.

Unknown said...

The reason Umbrella isn't mentioned is because after Resident Evil 3 and Code Veronica, Umbrella couldn't hide their part in the Outbreaks and the Company fell apart and ended.

Umbrella hasn't existed since. They aren't the main bad guys in 4,5 or 6 but you'll recognise characters from older games who still are.

I'm not sure why you stopped playing after 4, but I really recommend you get back into the games. If it's the change in gameplay, the story alone is a great reason to keep going. Personally I think the gameplay is great and it wouldn't make sense for the series to not go into an action-esque style. The characters aren't rookies any more and the gameplay reflects the action you saw in the movie from Leon.

Lord of Filth said...

Hey Mark, thanks for the heads-up! The only reason I stopped playing after 4 is because I don't have a console that supports Pt 5 (or 6). I actually really enjoyed the change of style for Part 4, and maybe one day I will splash out for the rest of the series. I do have one of the shooters for the Wii (Darkside Chronicles I believe)which incorporates bits from 4 and 5.