Heaven help the film industry...
This was published March 1st, 2009
High School productions are something that no human being should ever experience. I recall back in my band class of a teacher who would listen to a performance from one of the band members. After a performance that, shall we say wasn’t Miles Davis, he would hang his head down in utter confusion. He tried to piece together the words for what he just heard and unfortunately couldn’t think of the right dialogue and hit his head with an eraser in shame and humiliation.
If there was camp in Resident Evil: Degeneration, I might have enjoyed this movie. However, I am going to go on record as to say that this two hour DVD may be the biggest waste of resources I have ever seen. This movie is unwatchable.
How does this script get green lighted? Seriously, How? I’m trying to wrap my brain over why a movie would be made and I can’t seem to discover why. This movie doesn’t make any statements about medical practice in society, the characters aren’t developed or anywhere interesting, the plot isn’t delivered in a new or interesting way, there’s no gimmick that would differentiate this movie from others, and there are no name voice talents to back up the movie.
Basically the story is a plane crash and a lab blowing up. That's literally all the story is: a plane and lab blowing up. There is an explanation over a new Pharmaceutical company, a senator backing it up, controversy surrounding the company, and a long list of conspiracies but they all seem to be an excuse for a boss battle and a series of shooting zombies. This company would never exist in real life to build overly elaborated bases with 4 falling air-sealed platforms that explode on command. This wouldn’t be so bad if they decided to have some fun with the concept with some one-liners, winks at the camera, and some indication that they know all they’re doing is making excuses for action but the film takes everything so seriously that I cant help but unintentionally laugh.
One scene that comes to mind is early on before the plane crashes into the airport terminal. The overall idea is fine, the plane crashes and there’s panic all around but there are so many stupid choices. Why does Clair Redfield wave her hands at a random stranger? Why is the security guard want to arrest Redfield for waving her hands? How do zombies know how to open a plane’s door after it’s crashed and why do they just fall out of the plane like lemmings? The final straw was Clair giving a melodramatic line at this utterly ridiculous display that I burst out laughing in disbelief.
Look! The best actors in the movie!
The whole movie is like this. They’ve thrown out all logic and expect you to look at it and feel for the disaster that’s happening. One of the biggest problems is that the DVD doesn’t come with the original Japanese soundtrack but is all dubbed in English. Why? This is a DVD marketed at fans of the series, having the Japanese soundtrack should be given. So all I have to go on is some of the worst acting I have heard in a while. The senator feels like he should be in a Hayou Miyazaki movie as a giant trash monster or something but it’s the voice of a fat white congressman in semi-realistic animation. It sounds so ridiculous and over-the-top that you just want to rip the actors vocal cords out. Even Steve Blum, Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop, is reduced to a football frat boy yelling and cheering like the overly drunk uncle at a wedding.
Another big problem is the animation style itself. It all is made to look realistic with some modern architecture and character designs that resemble Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within characters without the futuristic costumes. It sets the movie in this mood that it wants to be more mature and true to life but the dialogue, performances, and impossible situations make it more of a joke. If it were done in less detailed graphics or done something risky with the look, it might have a different effect but as it stands the movie just feels like a punch line. Also, why is it that Leon has the same expression with every situation? Did he swim in Botax to prepare for this movie? Even Golgo 13 had more movement in his head.
Is it really that hard to smile or move your eyebrows?
Oh, I just realized why they would make this movie…Resident Evil. It’s based on the video game and is involved in the story. However one big argument comes mind that unlike a lot of video game based movies, this one is very faithful to the story and fans of Resident Evil will be pleased. There’s a very good article by Leigh Alexander on Kotaku.com all about this idea and video game based movies in general. Here’s a link to her article.
She notes that video game based movies are often shallow without the interactive experience and she’s quite right with Degeneration. Resident Evil 4, one of my personal all-time favorite games, has a terrible story. You’d think that the military would go in and find the President’s daughter without sending one lone assassin who happens to have survived Raccoon city. The thing that makes RE4 so different is that it had what Degeneration should have had: camp. In RE4, whenever you found evidence to discover a conspiracy theory about the government, Leon would get a call from the man in the mansion delivering amusing one-liners. Then you would go blast the head of enemies like a hammer to jelly. It understood that the point of the game is to have some fun with it so it had references to Commando and kept the bad-ass camp from that film and let you know the whole thing is a joke to get you a shotgun blast.
I think the biggest thing that disappoints me about this movie is that it’s from Capcom and proudly displays their logo at the beginning of the film. Most, if not, all other movies are from another person and adaptations of someone else’s work. Even though movies are terrible, you can at least say that the developers didn’t make them. This movie shows Capcom’s complete degeneration from reality and frankly lack of respect to its audience. Do they really think we’re this stupid to enjoy a script that makes me want to choke a baby? They can make video games like Herculean Gods but they can’t write a script to save their lives.
Yes sir, if she doesn't die from her poisin, the audience will first.
So you’re probably thinking that thought that all people have when they read reviews like this: “How bad can it be?” Then you’ll go rent the DVD to find out; don’t. Really, I’m serious; it’s that bad a movie. Life is short; go out and watch 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, Commando, or The Dark Knight again. Resident Evil: Degeneration is the worst film of 2008 and with The Happening coming out that year, that’s saying a lot.