Articles tagged with degeneration


16-08-09
Posted by Ben at 17:34

Finally we've come to the end of the Resident Evil trilogy, and with degeneration already done we wont be doing another one until next year.

As a film to bow out on it's fitting regardless of whether you love or hate the series



Itís strange isnít it, thereís been relatively few video game films so far, yet a surprising number of actors have made multiple game-film appearances. Weíve talked about the Uwe Boll regulars before, and thereís a few here too. Obviously thereís a few returning cast members (Alice, Carlos, and A.J), including the nefarious Dr. Isaac, who was also a nefarious bad guy in Tomb Raider. Joining him in working for Umbrella is Matthew Marsden, former star of Emmerdale and Coronation Street, who has also appeared in D.O.A. Fun facts!

As mentioned thereís a few returning characters from the second Resident Evil film, but thematically and in terms of plot, the two films have very little in common. In short Umbrellaís attempt to contain the T-Virus outbreak has failed and the world has been overrun. Alice and co are on the run, though separated, with Alice trying to evade the satellite monitoring of Umbrella. Dr. Isaac has taken Aliceís DNA, and is both trying to clone her and implant it in the undead to create a Ďcureí, of sorts.

Extinction may largely ignore the second film, but itís more than happy to reference the first. Extinction begins with a scene for scene remake of the first film, until eventually deviating to bring in the infamous laser corridor. It leaves you confused, especially as you watch Alice die quite feebly. After that though the film goes its own bizarre route, sparing the time to nod to Day of the Dead (on at least 2 instances), Mad Max, and The Birds (oh, and steal some music from T2).

As always thereís some frankly idiotic moments in Extinction. Early on Alice, who last time out killed countless trained soldiers, took down the Nemesis, and survived a helicopter crash, gets captured by a bunch of rednecks. She could take them all out as soon as look at them, but for some reason she appears to have forgotten how, before eventually escaping using more difficult means. Itís not just Alice whoís not learnt any lessons either, A.J. goes off into the dark of a hotel, and sure enough is attacked. Heís bitten by a zombie that he surely would have seen (although the use of the mirror is a clever idea, but he still would have seen it), the bite doesnít tear his coat or his shirt, yet gouges a chunk out of his chest. He also doesnít tell anyone heís been bitten, nor do they check particularly well, even though he knows exactly what danger heís putting his companions in. Youíd think someone would piece it together when he starts to turn blue.

Thereís a few other trivial moments of stupidity, such as the heat map showing peoples coats and guns as being the same temperature as they are. Claire also takes charge of a helicopter at one point, despite the film never mentioning she knows the first thing about how to fly one. Without meaning to spoil things, weíre also treated to a cockney tyrant, and for some reason Wesker is both C.E.O of Umbrella and the only American that works for them.

The hardest thing about reviewing Extinction is that it is so mind-numbingly stupid that itís hard to know what to make of it. When the zombie crows attacked I cringed in embarrassment, but when they were explained I found myself nodding as though it made perfect sense. At this point any rules and restrictions created by the series have been abandoned and flouted so much that absolutely anything can happen without it seeming out of place. Which explains why Alice can develop telekinetic powers without the filmmakers feeling theyíve gone too far. It makes you wonder what the series would have been like had the first film stayed as a horror film all the way through. Now though itís so comic book ridiculous that itís arguably the perfect testament to video games. Itís also why itís enjoyable, donít get me wrong youíll hate yourself for it but it is entertaining.

A big part of that is the action. The gun fights arenít really anything special, although they do allow for plenty of deaths, with the minor characters fleshed out just enough that youíre engaged in their peril. The better scenes are without doubt the ones involving Aliceís acrobatic fighting style, theyíre well shot and something different from watching endless rubbery looking zombies fall backwards with their blood packs exploding all over the screen (again, theyíve been fighting the undead for years, youíd think theyíd know to shoot them in the head by now).

As mentioned Extinction does touch base a couple of times, including pitching Alice against the Tyrant. I guess it was felt that Alice needed a climatic fight against a giant monster, but really itís meaningless, and not nearly as interesting as the potential destruction of Umbrella.

For what itís worth I enjoyed Extinction, not enough to recommend you rush out and buy it on Blue Ray, but itís certainly better than Apocalypse, and maybe even the first film. Itís incomprehensibly idiotic at points, so much so that it begins to succeed because of that. Kill a few brain cells and youíll enjoy it.
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14-12-08
Posted by Ben at 13:42

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
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