Resident Evil: Vendetta is the third film in the CG animated version of the Resident Evil cinematic series. Like it’s predecessors, Resident Evil: Degeneration & Resident Evil: Damnation, it’s a stand out from the Resident Evil films by Paul W.S. Anderson by a long shot… At least these ones won’t need rebooting once things are done. Resident Evil: Vendetta gives us an update to one of the more forgotten characters, Rebecca Chambers, while keeping things in step with what we expect from these films.
Title: Resident Evil: Vendetta
Production Company: Marza Animation Planet
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan & Kadokawa
Screenplay By: Makoto Fukami
Directed by: Takanori Tsujimoto
Produced by: Hiroyuki Kobayashi
Starring: Matthew Mercer, Kevin Dorman, Erin Cahill, John DeMita & Cristina Vee
Based on: Resident Evil Series by Capcom
Release dates: June 19, 2017 (United States – One Night Only) / June 8, 2017 & June 11, 2017 (Australia – 2 Night Run)
Running time: 106 minutes
Rating: R (United States) / MA15+ (Australia)
Resident Evil: Vendetta tells the tale of Chris Redfield, survivor of Resident Evil & Resident Evil 6, chasing down Glenn Arias, an International Black Market Arms Dealer who is out for revenge against the world over the death of his wife by a US Smart Bomb. Using a new strain of the zombie virus called the A-Virus, which works in 3 parts, to infect New York City after a test run in an abandoned mansion that looks very familiar. Chris is joined by fellow Spencer Mansion survivor Rebecca Chambers, who is now a Professor researching the T-Virus and creating a vaccine. Her success leads to her being attacked and then kidnapped by Arias. In order to find the triggers for the A-Virus, Chris and Rebecca enlist the help of long term undead killer Leon Kennedy, who is having personal doubts about why he continues to fight the undead, to help them track down Arias and save New York City before it becomes overrun by zombies.
- Matthew Mercer as Leon S. Kennedy
Leon Kennedy is one of the two mains of Resident Evil: Vendetta. He’s questioning why he continues to fight the undead and the bad guys who create them time and time again. This leads him to drink. He is recruited by Chris and Rebecca due to his experiences. While he does have issue with these decisions in the beginning, but an attack leads him to get involved in tracking down Arias. Mercer’s voice work as Leon is on point as usual. Since Mercer has been involved in Resident Evil: Damnation, as well as the video game side of Resident Evil with Resident Evil 6 & Resident Evil: Revelations 2 in the past so he knows what he’s getting into with the character.
- Kevin Dorman as Chris Redfield
Chris Redfield is pretty much the head main character in Resident Evil: Vendetta. He is hunting down Black Market Arms Dealer Glenn Arias due to Arias killing off a group of Military people that Chris was helping out. He gets involved with Rebecca after her laboratory gets attacked by Maria creating a bunch of zombies. Chris pushes things along in Resident Evil: Vendetta with his focus on Arias being the only driving factor to his purpose. He does have some sort of grudge against Leon that has NEVER been explained in either the video games or films, but probably comes from Leon’s involvement with his sister Claire in Resident Evil 2. Dorman does a good job as Chris Redfield with his only experience in the role being dubbing Chris in Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles; but it doesn’t matter at all to be honest as he’s believable in the role.
- Erin Cahill as Rebecca Chambers
Rebecca Chamber is the exposition fairy for Resident Evil: Vendetta. After the events of Resident Evil Zero and Resident Evil, she went from being a Medical Officer for S.T.A.R.S. to going into medical science research, specifically virus research. During this time she becomes a Professor and is able to create a base line vaccine/cure for the T-Virus, leading to her laboratory getting attacked by Arias and Maria. Rebecca actually is able to save herself from the attack thanks to the cure she has just created, only to be kidnapped by Arias. Rebecca get’s a second version of the virus Arias created and becomes a timing timer for Chris and Leon to save. Cahill herself does a good job in the role of Rebecca Chambers, keeping something close to the voice work of Riva Di Paola from Resident Evil Zero. However the character of Rebecca is wasted in the overall picture of Resident Evil: Vendetta.
- John DeMita as Glenn Arias
Glenn Arias is the main bad guy in Resident Evil: Vendetta. He is a Black Market Arms Dealer providing viral weapons to any country that is at war. In order to be rid of him, the US Government sent an unmanned drone to drop a smart bomb on Arias during his wedding day. Arias survived and went on the warpath against the world. He develops a three stage version of the T-Virus that he calls the A-Virus that he put in the bottled water his company produces so the base virus is in everyone. Arias then uses the vaccine on people he needs to survive before spreading the airborne trigger virus. Arias also kidnaps Rebecca, hoping to use the arm of his dead wife to make Rebecca into her. He’s creepy in such scenes, but trying to make him a poor soul doesn’t work. DeMita’s voice work as Arias is as cold as it needs to be for the role, and makes Arias stand out over the previous villains in the Resident Evil CG animated films.
- Cristina Vee as Maria Gomez
Maria Gomez is the right hand of Glenn Arias in Resident Evil: Vendetta. Maria does all the heavy lifting for the trigger virus that sets the A-Virus off. She’s cold, silent for the most part and carries out Arias’ commands with her mutated brute of a Father at her side. She seems to be able to survive anything that comes along, including being ground zero in an explosion near the end of Resident Evil: Vendetta. Vee doesn’t get many lines as Maria, but what she does say is subtle and on point, but that is to be expected from someone with over 25 years of voice acting experience. I hope to see more of the Maria character in other films or even the games since they like to mix things around for all the media.
When talking about the positives for Resident Evil: Vendetta, you have to start with the CG itself. The CG animation in Resident Evil: Vendetta is miles above what even Resident Evil: Damnation did in 2012. One of the flaws that the CG Resident Evil films had was that the facial animation was stiff and almost dumb looking, but that no longer exists. Resident Evil: Vendetta‘s characters are really expressive, and every movement that needs to be done in terms of showing feelings on faces is all there and really makes the characters stand out more than usual. The other pleasing thing about Resident Evil: Vendetta’s CG animation is that at times you tend to forget you’re watching a fully CG animated movie. A great example of this is in the beginning of the movie where you only see Leon’s feet as he walks into a morgue. The animation is so detailed and well positioned that you have to check to see if you’re really watching a Resident Evil CG film.
The voice work is impressive too, which doesn’t surprise me at all given that almost everyone involved has had some sort of experience in working with some project that requires voice over work. (Erin Cahill was the Pink Ranger in Power Rangers: Time Force, so she’s had to dub the Sentai footage) As to be expected from a film that doesn’t require any real life filming, the soundtrack is clean, leading to the explosions sounding huge and expansive and the moments of silence terrifying as hell. It’s the amazing interplay of the background tracks and silence that really draws you into Resident Evil: Vendetta and makes it sound like something you would play in the games.
While technically Resident Evil: Vendetta is a huge step up from previous Resident Evil CG animated films, story and scripting wise it is pretty cliched. Resident Evil: Vendetta’s “stop the virus, stop the bad guy” story has been done to death and really doesn’t give anything new to the series that’s been around for 21 years. While it does give us our first update on Rebecca Chambers in the post-Raccoon City world, her role doesn’t amount to much except exposition. Chris Redfield is still the walking mountain that he was in Resident Evil 6 and way too obsessed with his mission and not the people he knows through direct contact (Rebecca) or off-side family ties (Leon via Claire). While Leon himself does have some sort of personal issues since this is the third movie where he’s been dealing with the same thing, it’s quickly pushed aside for more big bada boom. Arias is just as generic of a bad guy as you can get, yet the movie tries to make him sympathetic by giving him the “killed wife and family” backstory, only to mess it up by making him creepy as fuck thanks to kidnapping Rebecca (who looks like his dead wife naturally).
The way things go in Resident Evil: Vendetta are pretty stock standard too. You get a scene each to introduce or reintroduce characters, complete with a spooky callback to the Resident Evil games. There’s the big wave of zombies moment, a cool trailer moment (Leon races two Cerberus dogs down a highway), there’s the cool looking Hong Kong martial arts one on one fight sequence, the main bad guy transforms into some supersized monster only to go boom; than all wrapped up with some deus ex machina that saves the day or someone at the last minute. It’s all things that worked before, so why not do it all over again. I just wish that after three movies we could get more to tie all the previous Resident Evil CG films together instead of just the same beats over and over again.
Resident Evil: Vendetta has had my attention since the very first trailer dropped for the Japanese market over six months ago and with good reason. Not only has the animation improved by leaps and bounds between Resident Evil: Vendetta and Resident Evil: Damnation, but it is also a fun and exciting movie to watch. I know I said that Resident Evil: Vendetta drops into a few cliche plotlines and action beats, but it’s those same flaws that makes it stand head and shoulders above anything the live action movies can do. Resident Evil: Vendetta shows that the CG Animated movies are just like the video games but without needing a controller… And that’s not a bad thing, it’s a good thing.
Closer to Perfection
Resident Evil: Vendetta is a great step forward in animation quality, bordering on being too good at times. However it does fall into cliche categories in terms of plot and how things are handled. Overall it is a fun film that is worth dropping the cash on if only to experience a non-sucky Resident Evil movie on the big screen; though most fans will wait for the home release digitally later in the month.