Thursday, 3 August 2017

Resident Evil: Vendetta

Voice cast: Kevin Dorman, Matthew Mercer, and Erin Cahill

Director: Takanori Tsujimoto

97 minutes (15) 2017
Widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Sony blu-ray region free  

Rating: 8/10
Review by Steven Hampton  

“Tomorrow, the world will be a different place.” The cross-genre appeal of Resident Evil is especially impressive in three varied particulars, as it cleverly evokes the burning cities of apocalyptic sci-fi, the sweaty anxiety of haunted house fantasy, and the grisly splatter of dismemberment horror. In this third CG animated feature, the heroes tackle a villain who intends to destroy New York with a new strain of the deadly virus. There’s floppy-haired maverick agent Leon (Matthew Mercer), hard-boiled but sympathetic soldier Chris (Kevin Dorman), and the newcomer is adorably cute professor Rebecca (Erin Cahill), who is not afraid to tell off the boys, and knock sense into their stubborn or selfish attitudes. With a support crew in tow, this trio face the monstrous machinations of Arias, the businessman creating zombies as commercial products - to feed his quest for diabolical vengeance and to fund an apparent vanity for tailored suits, just like a typical James Bond nemesis.

Here, standard displays of action movie hardware (“Dibs on the bike”), and urban scenes are often indistinguishable from live-action counterparts, while the leading players are all depicted via the aid of with state-of-the-art motion capture techniques. Digital characters in this movie are enhanced so that every shrug, twitch, blink, smirk, and small gesture is rendered by digital artists with exquisite care and textured magic. If some minor bouts of stillness and the general lack of micro-expressions might sometimes make the main stars appear wooden in terms of performance values, let us not forget how stoicism and wholly professional calm are also traits of characters in these genre scenarios that are worthy of emulation.

Resident Evil: Vendetta boasts a storytelling verve and chaptering that is well achieved by grimly tragic twists or absurdly comic turns. Shoot ‘em up episodes are de rigueur for this milieu, as are some advanced weapons as tools of the mayhem trade, monsters as a merchandise traffic, and the overtly sexualised, ultra-violent blonde villainess. Solidarity among the survivors is what makes the premise most interesting as it provides a credible humanity in this amoral world of inhumanity to people alongside a worship of wealth and power, clearly reflecting the concerns of 21st century reality. With a plot-line that all but laughs at the anti-vaccine propaganda that seems to be closely related to stupid fears of science and technology, this movie also astutely references The Bride Of Frankenstein as wittily as Frankenhooker did. Where this franchise best helps to redefine the comic-book conventions of protagonist versus antagonist is in its presentation of ultimate showdowns featuring an evil mastermind and superhuman henchman combined into a single menace.      

Disc extras:
  • Filmmaker audio commentary
  • Stills gallery
  • CGI To Reality: The Creature featurette (exclusive to Blu-ray)
  • CGI To Reality: Designing Vendetta featurette (exclusive to Blu-ray)
  • Motion Capture Set Tour with Dante Carver (exclusive to Blu-ray)

Bonus disc exclusive to Blu-ray:
  • B.S.A.A. Mission Briefing: Combat Arias
  • Designing The World Of Vendetta featurette
  • 2016 Tokyo Game Show footage

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