Review: ‘Resident Evil: Vendetta’ has genuinely scary moments

Marcus Goh
Contributor

 

Professor Chambers (Erin Cahill) in “Resident Evil: Vendetta”. (Golden Village Pictures)

Secret ending? No.

Running time: 97 minutes (~1.5 hours)

“Resident Evil: Vendetta” is a Japanese 3D animated action horror-thriller in English. It is the third 3D animated film in the “Resident Evil” franchise, and takes place in the same shared universe as the “Resident Evil” games. It is not in the same shared universe as the live action “Resident Evil” films.

The film takes place before the latest “Resident Evil” game (Resident Evil 7: Biohzard). Three of the games’ protagonists have to stop an insane maniac from releasing a new strain of the zombie virus, especially when they discover how much control he has over its results.

“Resident Evil” is directed by Takanori Tsujimoto and written by Makoto Fukami. It features the voice talents of Kevin Dorman (Chris Redfield), Matthew Mercer (Leon S. Kennedy), Erin Cahill (Rebecca Chambers), and Alexander Polinsky (Glenn Arias). It is rated M18.

Chris (Kevin Dorman) in “Resident Evil: Vendetta”. (Golden Village Pictures)

Video game movies are a difficult act to manage, since their portrayal of the protagonists are rarely anything like those in the video games. They have to spin a whole new story that’s related to the game, which is likely to have a story in and of itself.

“Resident Evil: Vendetta” manages to balance these elements while injecting frightening elements into the film, which is the whole point of zombie movies in the first place.

Chris (Kevin Dorman) and Leon (Matthew Mercer) in “Resident Evil: Vendetta”. (Golden Village Pictures)

Highlights

Genuinely scary

While you might think that it won’t be scary since it’s an animated film and it plays out from a video game perspective, the truth is that “Resident Evil: Vendetta” has many scary moments, starting from its very first action scene.

The use of camera angles and lingering shots keep you constantly wondering where exactly the zombies are going to burst out from, and the claustrophobic indoor settings contribute to that atmosphere. Later in the film, the scenes move to more open areas where the fear factor is lessened.

Cool moments

All the main characters get their moment to shine as they perform death-defying stunts in slow motion. It is a film based on a video game after all, and these action scenes are, to an extent, to be expected.

However, they’re well-executed and remind us why our protagonists have managed to survive for so long in a world where zombies abound.

Chris (Kevin Dorman) and Leon (Matthew Mercer) in “Resident Evil: Vendetta”. (Golden Village Pictures)

Letdowns

Chief antagonist is cringeworthy

Unfortunately, Arias (Alexander Polinsky) has a trite and corny back story, which gives him an even more laughable motivation for his scenes. His back story is quickly forgotten amidst all the action, but we’re reminded of it again at the end. His background sounds like something dredged from a Korean melodrama, and should be disregarded as such.

Animation is inconsistent

Chris (Kevin Dorman) and Leon (Matthew Mercer) are usually animated with fluidity and grace, as befits the heroes of the series. Many of the extras don’t enjoy this much attention, and end up moving like awkward robots as they flail to death after being savaged by zombies. There’s a particularly egregious scene which features this animation for a good minute or too, reminding you of the huge disparity between how the characters move.

Subplots that go nowhere

The film introduces intriguing subplots that revolve around the villains, which hint at something more sinister going on. It’s rather subtle about dropping hints, and since subtlety is rarely seen in zombie films, you know that these are planned and deliberate shots. The subplot fizzles out later, which makes you wonder what was the point of showing it in the first place.

Zombies attack in “Resident Evil: Vendetta”. (Golden Village Pictures)

“Resident Evil: Vendetta” has genuinely scary moments.

Should you watch this if it’s free? Yes.

Should you watch this at weekend movie ticket prices? If you’re a Resident Evil fan.

Score: 2.5/5

“Resident Evil: Vendetta” opens in cinemas:
– 1 June, 2o17 (Singapore)
– 7 June, 2017 (Philippines)

Marcus Goh is a Singapore television scriptwriter, having written for Police & Thief, Incredible Tales, Crimewatch, and Point of Entry. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. You can find him on social media as Optimarcus and on his site. The views expressed are his own.

 

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