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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Science Fiction > Animation > Action > Zombies > Resident Evil – Degeneration (Sony Blu-ray)

Resident Evil – Degeneration (Sony Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B+     Extras: C     Film: C



Uggggh! No that is not the sound of zombie moans, but rather the imminent cry of discontent fans.  The Resident Evil series has been an undying hallmark of gaming for years now and with Resident Evil on the horizon the gaming franchise shows no signs of slowing down.  Unlike the gaming series, however, the film industry has not been so kind to the flesh craving industry.  After three, merely adequate, feature length films the studio took a page from the video game storyline and decided to do a fully CGI film.  The problem is that the CGI film feels more like one big cut scene from one of the games than an actual film.  Many fans are disgruntled by the fact that no studio can produce a solid Resident Evil film, but I say what do you expect?  If history has told us anything it is that video game films don’t work.  If a videogame film holds any merit it is only in that “so bad it’s good” way.  Examples of this are seen with Super Mario Bros: The Movie and most of the Resident Evil films.  The newest film, Resident Evil: Degeneration had a chance to break the mold on video game films, but instead fell flat on its half decayed face.  Not only did the film have the ability to follow the already established video game story arch (unlike the movies), but with CGI the action and horror possibilities were endless.  In the end what could have been a homage to a classic video game series and an “I’m sorry” to disheartened fans, wound up being an utter flop.


The story of Resident Evil:  Degeneration takes place between the events of the Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5 videogames.  Besides the recurring characters and pre-established zombie storyline, the film is pretty self-contained and could truly occur in conjunction with either the games or live-action films.  In Resident Evil: Degeneration the zombie inducing T-Virus has spread throughout the world and the government, among others, is doing its best to cover it up.  The Umbrella Corporation has seemingly been ruined by the controversy and scandal, but a pharmaceutically company WilPharma that seems to be just as ethically corrupt as Umbrella has stepped into the picture with a T-Virus Vaccine.  At the beginning of the film an overwhelming sense of dread fills the air as Claire Renfield (a Raccoon City survivor from Resident Evil 2) is trapped in an airport after a zombie filled plane makes a crash landing in Harvardville.  Claire is fights for her life along side a corrupt Senator and annoying little girl as another old face arrives in the form of Leon Kennedy (Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 4).  Not before long hardcore, zombie smashing Leon breaks the group free of the death grips of a zombie invested airport; only for Claire and him to find out the airport crash was only the tip of the iceberg (of course).  As the story progresses into total chaos, we learn that the WilPharma Corporation is not all it is cracked up to be and it may be unleashing an evil on the world worse than even two Umbrella Corps.


The film is more sad than scary.  It is sad that a well established video game storyline can not be made into something watchable on film.  The CGI is for the most part well executed and crisp, but once again feels like one big cut-scene rather than an actual film; the lips don’t even line up at times and it is very noticeable.  The film is too crisp for its own good, lacking a certain texture that in the end makes the ‘humans’ look rubbery and even more unhuman than the zombies.  The film was way too safe and danced the line between wanting to reveal something new and riveting to fans, but obviously feared that the fans that did not see the film would be lost in later games.  Well, true fans should watch it all, right?  I can call the film mildly entertaining, but then again just having the title Resident Evil did that for me.


The technical features are more lively than this death wish of a film.  The picture is presented in a 16 X 9, 1080p AVC MPEG-4 that is clean, crisp, and vividly colorful throughout.  For being a Resident Evil film that is not nearly enough grit, grime, and texture to give the film its necessary appeal.  The light/dark balance is also wonderful, but the problem is in the film not its presentation.  The studio went a safe root with the CGI’s lighting and it is not nearly dark enough for a horror/zombie film, making it appear as though the night scenes were filmed during the day with a filter (yea, I know it is CGI not film).  The film is more cartoony than realistic, which is truly distracting.  I was waiting for the Roger Rabbit or Shrek zombie to pop out.  With that said about the picture, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track was very impressive.  The sound was fluid and utilized the full range of speakers.  The track is clean, clear, and crisp with distinct dialogue.  The only thing that would have better the film is if the action sequences were more prioritized and not so murky.


The extras were “blah” at best and after watching the film, there was nothing there that really jumped out and grabbed me.  If something grabbed me at least it would have been a horror film.  The extras include The Generation Degeneration (30minutes) making of feature that is neither impressive nor interesting, Character Profiles and Voice Bloopers that are both worthless throwaway features, a Faux Leon Interview that is painful to watch as the fictional Leon attempts to do a pseudo-TV interview, Trailers, and 2 Resident Evil 5 trailers that are the best things on the disc.  There are a few Blu-ray exclusive features that include Picture-In-Picture Ability, Comic Con Clips, and Trivia Track all of which are boring and poorly executed as seemingly good ideas are ruined by bad choices (like this film).


The film overall felt like an excuse to bleed the zombie franchise for all it is worth.  The film held little creativity (though I am certain CGI is not easy to complete) with little too no concern for the fns or what the game series is truly about.  Acting more as a promo for Resident Evil 5 than a worthwhile venture in film, Resident Evil: Degeneration is dreadfully uninspiring as the Studio big wigs strip the flesh from the franchises bones.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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