I slogged through Resident Evil: Degeneration and Resident Evil: Damnation not really understanding why people seem so fond of them. Sure, they have some of our favorite characters. I like the political intrigue of the second one. But they just felt flat to me. Some je n’ais ce quoi was missing. I had heard bad things about the third and final to date animated movie Resident Evil: Vendetta so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Before I go into spoilerific detail, I want to say this is seriously my absolute favorite Resident Evil film hands down, and I highly recommend it for any fans of the game series. I think this is the most true to the games in both tone and storyline. It features characters we know and love. It is an outrageous action-filled soap opera with some genuine scares thrown in. And if you don’t think the words Resident Evil and soap opera go together, let me just remind you Code Veronica exists.
I was also impressed with the CGI. There is this matted quality to it that makes it look incredibly realistic sometimes. Occasionally I had to remember it was an animated film I was watching.
I am not a huge fan of Rebecca Chambers, but I was seriously impressed with what they did with her character in this movie. It was fun to see her and Chris reunited, and their teamwork with Leon.
Without further ado, here is my recap of my first viewing of Resident Evil: Vendetta.
The first fifteen minutes of Resident Evil: Vendetta are better than literally anything else in any other Resident Evil movie, live action or animated. It is so atmospheric and creepy, proving there is a way to adapt Resident Evil 1 into a great movie.
But this is post-Resident Evil 6, so it quickly devolves into outrageous action sequences. This isn’t S.T.A.R.S. marksman Chris Redfield, this is punch a gigantic boulder into place inside a volcano Chris Redfield after all.
At about the 17 minute mark, Chris holds a dead woman’s body and screams “NOOOOO!” Darth Vader style while an explosion dramatically explodes in the background for dramatic effect. At this point, I knew this was going to be my favorite Resident Evil movie of all time.
Moments later, we are treated to, I shit you not, another dramatic “NOOOO!” when a man’s wedding is bombed and he realizes he is still holding what is left of his new bride’s arm:
We then cut to him wistfully looking out at the horizon from a balcony and murmuring to himself “it is all for you my Sarah” just so we know exactly what motivates him. This is our big bad Glenn Arias.
We then go to Chicago and see Rebecca Chambers (now Professor Chambers if ya nasty – we know this because her student worker literally refers to her as Professor Chambers in a sarcastic tone twice within the same three minute conversation). Rebecca exposition dumps about a viral outbreak that must be stopped. Rebecca is preparing a possible vaccine sample.
The student worker leaves to go do a task, but his neck is snapped by a mysterious woman who is presumably based off a dominatrix:
Our new dominatrix friend then seemingly releases an infectious gas (no judgement; some people are into that) but Professor Chambers is definitely NOT into that because it infects her. Luckily, she keeps her wits about her long enough to inject herself with the newly-created vaccine.
She then finds her student worker…not doing so well.
Rebecca manages to brain him with a fire extinguisher and then runs away like a frantic teenage girl. I have never understood how effective at combat Rebecca is meant to be. When she is introduced in Resident Evil 1, she is cowering in a supply closet with a can of first aid spray she is using as mace. Yet we are also supposed to believe she survived an elaborate adventure in Resident Evil 0.
When she realized there are more zombies, Rebecca hides under a desk instead of fleeing for her life (?) yet also insists on noisily gulping from a plastic water bottle (?!) which alerts a SURPRISE zombie to her presence.
I have the movie paused, but I am going to guess Chris or Leon will rescue her in a moment…
Nailed it! To be fair, despite noisily slurping water and hiding under a desk, Rebecca was holding her own against Dominatrix Zombie Queen’s coordinated zombie attack.
Rebecca is concerned about more infections and suggests Chris & his team are at risk of infection. Chris brushes off her concern (!), saying if the virus really was that infectious they’d all be dead already (!), and that quarantine takes too long (!!!). Chris reveals that Rebecca’s lab was attacked because the World Health Organization knew she was working on a vaccine, so somebody leaked the information to the Merchant of Death (TM pending) aka Glenn Arias. Chris probably has an open invitation for his own Fox News show anytime he wants at this rate!
When they realize the virus the Merchant of Death is using is most similar to the Las Plagas virus the Los Illuminados cult was using, they decide they need to track down an expert on the subject…that’s right, our very own Nick Carter with a tude Leon S. Kennedy!
I love that this movie takes time to explain how Rebecca and Chris know one another because I’m sure a lot of people jump into the third animated film in a series based on a video game series not knowing the main characters. Meanwhile we also get reintroduced to Leon “I’m so badass I day drink with fingerless leather gloves on” Kennedy:
Leon immediately belittles Chris. Oh no boys and girls I guess there’s too much alpha dog energy in this room! After Leon and Chris have a pissing contestant for a bit, Rebecca calls them both little brats and explains the virus Arias is using is lying dormant in everyone, and what they really need to do is figure out the trigger. Also, we get a label for Leon’s poison of choice:
After acting as the unlikely voice of reason, Rebecca walks out on Leon and Chris. The next shot is her staring at herself in a bathroom mirror mumbling “that wasn’t very nice of you” which is honestly pretty relatable. She is then surprise attacked by the Dominatrix Zombie Queen. That’s why women are supposed to go to bathrooms in groups Rebecca!
An infected creature who resembles Rick in Splatterhouse starts firing a chaingun into the cafe, killing the only woman working in the restaurant and Leon’s snitch but missing Leon and Chris completely. This monster would get a 13% accuracy rate at the rate he is firing bullets at nothing.
When Rebecca wakes up after being kidnapped, she is in a wedding dress but this isn’t a Katy Perry video, it’s real life. She has an uncanny resemblance to Glenn Arias’s dead wife so you already know where this nonsense is going!
Arias has a virus that he infects people with through the drinking water supply from the Great Lakes, and then he activates it with an airborne toxin. He can control those under the virus’s influence, and target particular enemies. He orders the release of the airborne toxin on New York City via tankers, and we are treated to various moments from the initial outbreak. It is total Raccoon City vibes and I am so here for it.
Leon, Chris, and some BSAA redshirts are deployed to contain the outbreak and capture Arias. They blow up one tanker, only to be attacked by two infected dogs who manage to decapitate one of the redshirts. Chris is having trouble hitting the dogs because they are so fast. Then, once he has a CLEAR shot, he asks Leon what they should do, and Leon says, “I’ll distract the dogs with the motorcycle.” Also the dogs just kind of wait while they have this exchange?
Also it seems like despite the mass panic we saw earlier, areas of New York City are still operating somewhat normally?
Then Leon shots one of the dogs and causes a multiple vehicle accident that kills innocent civilians. I’m NOT making this up:
Meanwhile, the BSAA redshirts are destroying tankers with a helicopter, and seemingly kill Dominatrix Zombie Queen pretty unceremoniously.
Chris and Leon reconnect and infiltrate the high rise building Arias is holed up in. Arias gives Chris a helpful timer for when the virus will completely take over Rebecca so he knows exactly how long he has before he needs to save her. There is a hallway of never ending zombies Chris and Leon fight through that is pure action porn. They decide to save time trying to find Rebecca by splitting up which is usually a terrible idea in a horror film but since we know neither of these dudes will die it’s whatever man.
Chris has a hand to hand and gun to gun fight with Arias. This is not a euphemism. They each shoot at each other point blank range nearly 100 times yet always manage to miss one another. Finally Chris gives him the good old knock down a high rise atrium shaft, and Arias seemingly dies when he hits the floor with a satisfying squish. I am no gore hound, but I find something very satisfying about deaths that involve someone falling from a decent distance and getting squished. I have no idea why.
Anyway, Arias merges with Rick from Splatterhouse and turns in Big Daddy Tyrant. Big Daddy Tyrant pummels Chris because unfortunately for Chris this boulder can punch back, but Leon comes to help. The outrageous fight is EVEN more outrageous and implausible than all the fights before it, culminating with Big Daddy Tyrant literally bragging about how is going to kill Leon JUST long enough for the helicopter BSAA redshirts to swoop in and help save the day.
The BSAA redshirts nick Big Daddy Tyrant with a gun that gets him to drop Leon, but the gun also manages to destroy MULTIPLE other buildings probably costing MULTIPLE innocent lives.
Predictably Big Daddy Tyrant isn’t dead because don’t the BSAA redshirts know Leon and Chris have to beat him? Sure enough Big Daddy 1) jumps on the helicopter and then Leon 2) flies a motorcycle off the building into Big Daddy who still manages to hold on till Chris 3) blows him up with a gun.
And of course Chris also found Rebecca the cure. All within 20 minutes.
The heroes then triumphantly fly off into the distance to fight yet another day. But wait…
That’s right, the Dominatrix Zombie Queen has lived to fight another day.
So again, I enjoyed this movie a lot. I loved the drama, the focus on an ensemble of characters we know and love, and the scenes of action carnage with little glimmers of survival horror.
Even if the live action reboot is a flop, we at least have Resident Evil: Vendetta.