Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008)

Actors: Alyson Court, Paul Mercier, Laura Bailey, Roger Craig Smith, Crispin Freeman
Makoto Kamiya
Shotaro Suga
Format: AC-3, Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Cantonese, English, French, Korean, Spanish
1 (US and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio:
Number of discs:
Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date: December 27, 2008
Run Time:
97 minutes



This full-length made-for-DVD CG animated movie is aimed at those long-time Resident Evil computer game fans who would rather watch one full-length extended cut scene instead of playing a new game . . .

If you play any PC games you will know that cut scenes are the movie bits that progress the plot that gamers have to sit through in order to get to play the game itself. The events depicted in Resident Evil Degeneration fits in with the continuity of the games themselves and have little to do with the three live-action movies starring Milla Jovovich. So no post-apocalyptic landscape dotted with plague-infected zombies like in Resident Evil: Extinction, the last installment (at the time of writing) in the franchise.

Instead it is the near future. After a whole city has been nuked to cover up the spread of an infectious man-made virus that turns people in cannibalistic zombies, a terrorist group wants the U.S. government to reveal the truth about the outbreak by . . . you guessed it . . . threatening to unleash the virus again.

Thrown into the mix is some anti-US. military dictator who wants possession of the killer viruses. Or something like that. The plot is a bit murky and involved, and difficult to follow at times. The action kicks off when a Boeing 747 spectacularly crashes into an airport lounge only to disgorge brain-dead zombies. We rather liked the humorous way in which they plonked onto the ground like, well, brain-dead zombies; probably the best moment in the entire film.

After that we have some people running around a lot and shooting up stuff and a kitchen sink and all noisy finale inspired by anime conventions. (The hero named Leon S. Kennedy – believe it or not! - also sports a haircut popular in anime. One however wonders how he can aim so well with all that hair hanging in his eyes all the time.) One character seems to be a computer composite of Alias’ Jennifer Garner and Julia Roberts, proof that horny fanboys really shouldn’t be allowed near computers in cases like this.

Because all the human characters move in a jerky fashion and have unblinking rubber faces it is rather difficult to get emotionally involved with them. They also seem to have no personality either – except for the villains who are either suave or obnoxious. The complicated plot is often directionless and, yes, one feels like gamers do when they have to sit through cut scenes to get to the action. It doesn’t help that the dialogue are clunky either.

For a low budget straight-to-DVD affair like this the animation is passable, but not particularly good. Sitting through it all one wishes that all this effort had gone in service of a more interesting story or topic. Isn’t it time that someone films Peter F. Hamilton’s Reality Dysfunction space opera books for instance? Enough with the zombies already! If horror movies in the ‘Eighties were dominated by psycho slashers and the 1990s were about vampires, then the 2000s definitely belong to disease-infected zombies. Resident Evil Degeneration unfortunately has nothing new or interesting to offer to this (very) overcrowded genre . . .

Only die-hard fans of the Resident Evil games need apply.


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