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The Resident Evil brand makes money, as well as nightmare inducing creatures. The franchise has become a multimedia juggernaut with six major games in the series, five films, a few comics and now a second direct to DVD CGI film in the form of “Resident Evil: Damnation.” Whereas the live action films tell an alternate story of sorts where the Umbrella Corporation basically lost control and the T-Virus that caused the fabled Raccoon City Outbreak ended up spreading across the world, the CGI films follow the game canon.
“Damnation” is a direct sequel to “Resident Evil: Degeneration” which saw RE icons Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield teamed up again. That story took place directly after RE4 and actually set up for RE5. “Damnation” picks up a few years later and takes place after RE5 but before RE6. Whew!! Okay now on to the film. “Degeneration” felt more like part of the first half of the franchise, filled with tension and zombies and corporate conspiracies. “Damnation” feels like something out of the second half of the series. If you’ve played the series or know it, then you’ve noticed a clear shift from the suspense/horror focus that made the series popular to something closer to action/horror. That said I was never a fan of the first few games as they were too slow, and I don’t have patience for ammo counting. The more action oriented games suit me, and they make for a far more entertaining film as well.
Set in the fictional former Soviet country of the Eastern Slav Republic, Leon S. Kennedy finds himself caught in a civil war where Bio Organic Weapons (referred to as BOWs) have been released. Leon has already seen firsthand that this tactic doesn’t work and defies orders to return home in order to get to the bottom of this mystery.
I don’t want to give too much away but there are some things in this movie that have never been touched on in the games and it was a very cool and interesting development that I hope makes it into the games. Leon is less of a stick in the mud this time but still is all business, and not to be outdone is one Ada Wong, still not appropriately dressed for her line of work but still hot and kicking ass. Speaking of ass kicking there is a not to be missed and completely unexpected fight scene between her and well, giving it away would ruin it, but man it’s worth it. The real draw of these movies and games is the monsters and there are plenty. We get zombies though they have taken on a new form, known as Ganados. Ganados are possessed by parasitic organisms known as Las Plagas, and were introduced in RE4. We got a glimpse of them in “RE: Evolution,” but here we get to see what they are truly capable of and it’s nasty. We also get some Lickers, and a special guest monster but I won’t say who.
The CGI is actually very good here and there is only the minor issue of some strange movement as most of the film was acted out and motion captured. Character’s faces and lip synch is pretty decent but there are times the backgrounds are just too bright and clean. Otherwise it’s an absolutely gorgeously gory film in Blu-Ray. Special features include: “The Making of Resident Evil: Damnation – The DNA of Damnation”, a gag real, and “Las Plagas: Organisms of War” featurette which basically gives you background information on the monsters.
If you’re a fan of the games this is a must have. If you just like some good action/horror this is also for you, but all around it’s a good time.
Makoto Kamiya (director)
CAST: Matthew Mercer … Leon S. Kennedy (voice)
Dave Wittenberg … Buddy / Alexander ‘Sasha’ Kozachenko (voice)
Wendee Lee … Svetlana Belikova (voice)
Val Tasso … JD (voice)
Robin Sachs … Ataman / Ivan Judanovich (voice)
Courtenay Taylor … Ada Wong (voice)
Salli Saffioti … Ingrid Hunnigan (voice)