Featuring the voices of Kevin Dorman, Matthew Mercer, Erin Cahill, John DeMita
Directed by Takanori Tsujimoto
The Resident Evil film universe has been split in two since 2008 when the CG film Resident Evil: Degeneration was released, a full six years after Paul W.S. Anderson’s Resident Evil hit theaters. More true to the Capcom video games they are based on, the CG films have, in general, received more positive reviews, thanks to their stylish approach that remains deeply rooted in the lore of the game franchise. Degeneration and its sequel Damnation faithfully took the characters from the games and sent them on new adventures, ones fraught with peril, zombies, and global corporate treachery.
Vendetta follows Chris Redfield as he enlists the help of Rebecca Chambers and Leon S. Kennedy to take down Glenn Arias, a weapons dealer who has managed to create a form of the zombie virus that remains dormant in every living human, upon activation, allows for control over the infected. We meet Arias in the beginning of the film when Chris leads a team of BSAA troops into a remote house where they are ambushed, leaving Redfield the sole survivor. He then rescues Rebecca, who has left the world of violence to become a scientist investigating Arias’ virus and came under attack by the dealer after he realized how close she was to discovering his formula. Chris and Rebecca team up with Leon only for Rebecca to be abducted in a brazen attack that leads to New York City falling under a chemical attack, one that awakens the dormant virus in the population. From there, it’s all out war.
Let me go ahead and say that this is a great entry in an already great franchise. It continues the trend of offering fans an engaging story that lives within the Resident Evil universe yet doesn’t fall back on retelling what we’ve already played to get there. What we witness is fresh and fits so well into the mythology of the previous two films (and game series), giving a sense of comfort and joy.
As the game series shifted from survival horror to a more action-packed adventure, so to does Vendetta employ a great deal of explosive and thrilling sequences. However, the fascinating twist here is that I believe Sony recognized the tonal shift between Resident Evil 6 and Resident Evil VII: Biohazard and decided to add dashes of the latter into this film. There are moments that are steeped in pure horror, a call back to the feel of the original games as well as the latest entry.
In terms of pacing, the film moves along at a wonderful clip. It never dawdles and it makes sure to fill the screen with interesting scenery or visuals. By the way, it’s a gorgeous looking film with some truly stellar CG work at play. The voice work is also exactly what you’d expect from a Resident Evil title. It’s campy at points while over dramatic at others, but not in a negative way. It has that Resident Evil charm that we’ve grown accustomed to ever since the first game.
Had I any complaints about Resident Evil: Vendetta, it’s that the story might move along a little TOO quickly. There were some jumps in the story that were a bit too conveniently explained. Additionally, there were times when the mouth movements didn’t seem to match the lines, which was a little off-putting. Also, some of the characters make some rather stupid horror trope mistakes. Considering what these three have gone through over the years, one would assume they would be a bit smarter in certain situations.
At the end of the day, Resident Evil: Vendetta proves that the CG series is the most faithful and exciting adaptation of a game franchise we’ve come to know and love for over two decades. Simply put, it’s an absolute blast and I can’t wait for more!