Resident Evil: Vendetta (2017)
Directed by: Takanori Tsujimoto, Alexander Von David | 97 minutes | animation, action, adventure, horror, science fiction | Original voice cast: Kevin Dorman, Matthew Mercer, Erin Cahill, John DeMita, Fred Tatasciore, Cristina Valenzuela, Arif S. Kinchen, Arnie Pantoja, Kari Wahlgren, Alexander Polinsky, Jason Faunt, Karen Strassman, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn
For fans of the game series ‘Resident Evil’, there has been a film series that has been a thorn in their side for years. The films in which actress Mila Jovovich plays the central role have little or nothing to do with the source material. Yes, there are zombies and other monsters in it, and go for it: the bad organization Umbrella always has a role, but beyond that it’s mostly stupid action where the plot is mainly a side effect. For the fans of the games, there has been an alternative for a few years now, a series of animated films with the characters as they are known from the original Resident Evil series. Sadly, the games have long since ceased to be the survival horror experiences that the first iterations were, these days there’s a lot more counting on (you guessed it) dumb action.
Still, ‘Resident Evil: Vendetta’ paints a fairly faithful picture of the game franchise. Leon S. Kennedy and Chris Redfield (voiced by Matthew Mercer and Kevin Dorman respectively) take center stage and there are plenty of easter eggs to be found for the seasoned Resident Evil fan. However, does it also relate a bit like a movie? No not really.
In fact, it goes wrong on every level. The story – an arms dealer wants revenge to turn the population of New York into zombies and our heroes must stop him – is so simple that it doesn’t really justify a movie. It would work fine as a premise for a part of the game series where twists and interactive moments can be used to spice it up. However, a film is just a bit more passive and then this just doesn’t come into its own.
The fact that this would have worked better as a computer game can be seen in everything. The animation is okay but also very uninspired and at times even wooden. The viewer will more than once get the feeling that they are simply watching cutscenes without being able to pick up the controller themselves and shoot the monsters upside down. The action scenes are then of course shown with a lot of exaggerated movements on the screen and from time to time that is very entertaining, although the feeling of a missing interaction remains present. It’s not that the characters are really interesting to follow, they simply go from one horde to another to eventually defeat the bad guy.
And yet: for the fan of the games, there is certainly some fun to be had out of it. The voice acting is fine and that familiar Resident Evil feeling is certainly present at times (at least a lot more than in the Mila Jovovich versions). The whole thing is somewhat reminiscent of that other game series that CGI movies were made of: ‘Final Fantasy’. It falls into the same traps but scores on the same points. A good indicator to see whether this film can appeal to the viewer. However, does this have anything to do with ‘Resident Evil’, a 90-minute cutscene or Japanese anime clichés? Then stay far away from ‘Resident Evil: Vendetta’.