Best Cutscene Ever: Resident Evil Degeneration Review

It’s been a long time coming, but something finally happened which gamers have been clamoring for- a game-based CG movie actually made by the company who does the game. No, I don’t consider Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, since really they should have just chopped off the FF from the title of that pretty but vapid stinker.

Capcom-produced using graphics pretty much ripped from the games (but loads better since the PS2 days), Resident Evil Degeneration is a full-length CG action film based on the best-selling survival-horror videogames. The flick reunites popular RE heroes Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, two of the few survivors of the original Raccoon City incident that first introduced the zombifying T-virus to the world. Taking off from his appearance in RE4, Leon is a special agent answering directly to the White House, dedicated to wiping out threats of bio-terrorism from the face of the earth. Claire, on the other hand, is affiliated with an NGO named Terra-Save that works against pharmaceutical companies that have risen up after the fall of Umbrella some years before. Once again, both Playables’ paths meet in a busy airport which soon becomes a zombie wasteland. But zombies and super-mutants aren’t the only things making trouble- shadowy politics and some behind-the-scenes manipulations are seeking to cover up this new incident yet again.

Well, what can I say? RED is pretty cool. Story-wise, the flick is fast-paced with few lulls that make you wanna press the fast forward button. The story is smart, but sometimes gets a bit too much into the conspiracy angle, and a little bit too much on the melodrama sometimes.

In terms of graphics, the whole film doesn’t quite match up to Pixar or even Dreamworks’ film standards- animations are for the most part realistic, but lack that feeling of life, of unique character and personality quirks. Faces are all of the uncanny-valley blank staring types which you never really get over for most of the movie. Leon has about ONE stoic expression for the whole movie- whether he’s staring down a zombie or looking ‘lovingly’ into a hot new love interest eyes, his face is always the same. Was David Duchovny used as the mo-cap model? Anyway, for the most part, faces aren’t the most expressive in terms of emotion.

That said, everything looks pretty slick and consistent- you just don’t find yourself investing too much into the cast as you’d do in something like The Incredibles or Toy Story. I just found too many parts set in the dark too much and for too long. Once again, it all looks like a very high quality game cutscene (with me expecting any moment for in-game playable portions to fade in), but once you accept that, it should be smooth viewing from there.

Voice work is decent, just very anime-ish. No big-name stars on the cast but they all pretty much do their job well (perhaps any faults lie with the writing, not the performances). Sound effects though are a mixed bag- explosions and gunshots are fine and dandy, but stuff like the characters’ footsteps are a bit too similar to the games… why does everyone seem to have feet that weigh fifty pounds?

Anyway, Resident Evil fans would do well to enjoy this film the most, as they’ll be the ones most attuned to this world, setting, characters and scenario. It does plug up some holes or mysteries in the series’ saga, and it’s great to see Claire and Leon in action… and there is quite a lot of action in the movie’s hour and a half. Quite a bit of CG blood flows as well, which should please monster/zombie buffs. Will anyone not much into Resident Evil get the movie? It’s not rocket science or a particularly complex movie, so why not?

Even though it’s far from perfect, I give RED a good thumbs up. I totally prefer this type of game-to-movie port rather than most crappy live-action attempts. Hopefully this actually gets more game companies to do animated CG movies more, and in that, Resident Evil Degeneration should be totally supported by every red-blooded gamer.

The Lone Gamer gives Resident Evil: Degeneration Three Severed Limbs out of Five. Though it never really strays far from being the longest Resident Evil cutscene ever, at least it IS the best Resident Evil cutscene ever. Fans of the RE franchise should watch this and enjoy it, particularly in the light of being the only canonical, in-world film translation of the RE series.

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