Strange to think, but for many this is the most anticipated game movie of this year and next year. Not Max Payne with its A-list star, or Street Fighter with its game sequel jumping bandwagon, but a CGI straight to DVD release
The best way to watch Degeneration is to pretend the live action Resident Evil films donít exist. For some of you this will take no prodding, personally though I have a bit of a soft spot for them. Actually thatís exaggerating things, theyíre passable in a rubbish kind of a way, with Milla Jovovich being the main reason to watch.
Degeneration takes things a completely different route, feeling more like the plot to a Resident Evil game Capcom never got around to making. Familiar faces Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy (in full on hero mode) are the main focus, splitting the narrative not unlike in Resident Evil 2. The films CGI bares more than a passing resemblance to that of the games, a higher standard for sure, but itís not quite the high-end animation many were expecting.
Character movement is at points noticeably stilted, as though rather than watching something drawn you are watching something built. While it should never be enough to ruin your enjoyment of the film, it is disappointing. The clunky animations carry over into the facial features too, characters are never convincing and often incredibly clichťd and childlike during conversations.
Itís not just the animations that let the characters down, the plot and scripting could have done with a lot more work. Characters are wafer thin, take the politician for example, heís so evil his shifty eyes canít stay still for more than half a second. Heís arrogant and ungrateful to the point that he snaps and snides at the very people fighting to save his life. He also shoves a little girl over into the path of some marauding zombies, whilst abandoning his own people to fight for their lives while he escapes to safety.
The films over arching plot is quite a decent one, the motivations for it all are a bit muddy, never quite seeming enough to justify the amount of death and destruction caused. There are plot holes all over the place, mostly minor but thereís one or two key ones I wont spoil here. A couple of the more trivial ones include how a zombie manages to walk through the terminal building, surrounded by people, yet only attacks its intended target. Another is the massive coincidence of a plane crashing into the terminal and the onboard zombies managing to open the heavy side door.
While you can probably enjoy the film if youíre a series virgin, thereís no doubting that it makes some references that will go over your head. Even with a solid knowledge of Umbrella youíll occasionally feel lost, not making connections until after the characters have spelt things out to you. For a series veteran though this is likely the film you were craving, building on past relationships and tying up some loose ends before setting the series up for a new story arc.
None of these issues will really ruin your enjoyment of Degeneration, if anything they help it capture the spirit of the series, certainly the pre-Resident Evil 4 entries at any rate. Itís good to see some of the familiar faces make a comeback, yet enough restraint not to throw them all in, and itís almost worth recommending the film just to witness how ridiculously bad-ass Leon is. His action scenes should really come with QTE commands.
It probably goes without saying that Degeneration is better than all 3 of the live actions films, capturing the feel of the games perfectly, yet thanks to its CGI format it can really pile on the action. Sure itís dumb, yes youíll spot the bad guy within 10 minutes, and no itís not exactly a classic, but it is fun and thatís all you can ask for. Definitely worth a watch