Directed by: Makoto Kamiya
Starring (voices): Matthew Mercer, Courtenay Taylor, Robin Sachs

Aside from Paul W.S. Anderson’s live action RE films, another franchise has popped up over the last few years in the form of two full CG animated movies. And if you’re a fan of the RE videogames then these animated movies will probably be more to your liking than their live action counterparts. In fact you could even think of them simply as feature length cut scenes. The second and most recent of these movies is DAMNATION, and although (like the more recent videogames) it doesn’t contain a single zombie it still retains the overall feel of the games and is in my opinion much more enjoyable than any of Anderson’s RE films.

If I were to place DAMNATION somewhere in the RE timeline it would probably sit comfortably in between RE5 and the upcoming RE6. It follows BSAA agent Leon Kennedy who has been inserted into the volatile Eastern Slav Republic, a small country which is currently in the midst of a civil war. But what Leon is more interested in are the reports that BOWs (Bio-Organic Weapons) are being used. So obviously that means we are going to see a lot of the Las Plagas, Ganados, Lickers and so on.
After an encounter with one of the aforementioned Lickers in an underground parking lot, Leon finds himself captured by a resistance group and interrogated. But before they can get their answers they are under attack from the military and in the commotion they scatter. Leon catches up with one of his captors JD and after saving his life they form an uneasy alliance. Things escalate when Leon runs into Ada Wong and it soon becomes obvious that everything is not as it seems. New dominant Las Plagas have been produced which can create master/slave relationships between humans and BOWs, essentially meaning that humans can control these monsters, but the organisms are unstable. As he delves deeper Leon finds that the government and even the country’s president are involved in the cultivation and production of these dominant Las Plagas.
While the government, the resistance and the BSAA (in the form of Leon) are the key groups in this story, strangely there is a noticeable absence of the Umbrella Corporation. It’s not necessarily a bad thing I just thought it was quite bizarre as it is usually a staple of the RESIDENT EVIL world.

And while it does sadden me that Capcom have seemingly abandoned those good old fashioned zombies for the faster and more aggressive Ganados and Majini, this is probably as close to the videogames as you’re going to get. Indeed it is very much embedded in the style of the later games like RE4 and RE5 (and probably RE6) and so it definitely doesn’t have that claustrophobic, creepy feeling that the earlier games had (the first RE scared the crap out of me when I was a kid). But despite that it is still quite a good continuation of the RESIDENT EVIL story.

It’s better than DEGENERATION was, which is good news (although I didn’t think that DEGENERATION was such a bad movie either) and it’s better by far than probably all of the live action movies, at least in my opinion. The action comes thick and fast and relatively early in the film which is good, and soon it becomes a mélange of Ganados, Lickers and the daunting Tyrants (I swear those fuckers get bigger every time I see them). The fight scenes are as well choreographed as their live action counterparts and the animations look nice and just about as realistic as you can get with CGI. And I was very impressed with the English voice acting which was surprising.
If I had one main problem it was definitely with the script, mostly the unnecessarily cheesy one-liners peppered throughout Leon’s dialogue. And some of the characters were a bit over the top (JD is almost a parody with his obsession with everything American) but otherwise I had a good time with this and definitely recommend it if you enjoyed DEGENERATION. I would still prefer a movie more in the vein of the earlier RE games but this will have to do for now.

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