Resident Evil: Degeneration Review

Resi Degen

Resident Evil Week continues after yesterday’s look at the first game in the series. Resident Evil Degeneration is the first in what is now a trilogy of CG films set within the computer game universe of Resident Evil, and it’s a wonky affair to watch in 2017. The CG and character movement have now dated to the point where it feels like it could have been pulled off on the previous generation console hardware… Is there anything redeeming in watching this now? Well…


Seven years after Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield fought the sinister Umbrella Corporation in Raccoon City, Harvardville Airport has been overrun by zombies. The two reunite in order to defeat the threat, but it turns out Harvadville is just the beginning…With the fate of the entire world hanging in the balance, Leon and Claire race to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

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Leon, the master of standing straight as cardboard, with soldiers.

Leon S. Kennedy (Paul Mercier) – Federal agent and survivor of Raccoon City, Leon has arrived on the scene of the Havardville outbreak due to his unique knowledge on the living dead…

Claire Redfield (Alyson Court) – Claire is also a survivor of Raccoon City and has ended up working for the company known as TerraSave, a non-profit aid and activist group. The fact she is at the Havardville airport when the outbreak occours is pure coincidence, though with Resident Evil protagonists, it’s probably unavoidable fate that this stuff keeps happening…

Angela Miller (Laura Bailey) – A member of the Special Response Team that locked down the airport, and eventually one of the two SRT members to enter the zombie-filled place with Leon. She and Leon have a bit of a thing together, but given later game appearances for Leon, nothing came of it. Ah well.

Curtis Miller (Roger Craig Smith) – Curtis lost his wife and daughter to the horror of Raccoon City and now violently protests against similar pharmaceutical companies and their viruses. Willing to go to any extreme to out current “good guy” company WillPharma.

Frederic Downing (Crispin Freeman) – A very lovely British man who clearly has no evil alternate agenda at all! Works for clearly innocent company WillPharma, and likes to drink tea.

Plus more!

The Good:

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Odd how the G-Virus apparently guarantees you a large eye on your shoulder…

I do like that these exist, little extra incidents slipped in between core games, especially since I only got through one and a half of the live actions films before turning them off in anger and disinterest. They may not be the best voice actors in the world, but Leon and Claire’s game voices returning also adds a nice bit of continuity.

Although some of the animation is very rigid, there are some action set pieces that are still well done. The bizarre lab at the end of the film, apparently suspended above a near-bottomless hole that then subsequently drops chunks of the building into the pit when a biohazard leak occurs is … a fun design, even if a little hard to believe, and lends itself well to an exciting climax. Although I’m not sure how they got their hands on it, it was fun to see the G-Virus again, especially when (shock horror) Frederic turns out to be “evil” even if he recommends the African terrorists don’t use it. Makes sense, it just makes a near-unkillable mindless monster that can’t be controlled, so it wouldn’t be the best idea to leak that virus into your enemies camp…

The plot is fine, you’re supposed to believe that Curtis is an evil terrorist, but actually he was trying to expose WillPharma as another Umbrella corp. and Frederic was the bad guy all along. This would have been more effective if Frederic didn’t scream “untrustworthy” every time you see or hear him. Still, it’s fine, and leads to Curtis becoming a G-Virus monster and a lab counting down to detonation, so it’s all very traditional Resident Evil.

The Bad:

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“Hi, I’m a completely heartless politician, let me introduce you to coldhearted British person.”

As I said in the opening paragraph, it’s rough. Really rough. Some of the textures are undetailed and parts of the background or characters stay rigid even when moving or being knocked, which is something that modern games avoid now, let alone animated films. It’s a problem when your whole film is based off of technology that can easily be improved upon. A lot of characters stay completely still, even when talking, which looks unnatural as well. Leon is the worst offender of this, he’s like a statue in several scenes!

The voice work is good… apart from Claire and especially Leon, who much like Resident Evil 4 is dull, monotone and completely uncharismatic. That’s what happens when you keep voice actors from when games still needed to hire actors on the cheap.

Overall Thoughts:

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I’m pretty sure Claire is paired with a child character to take notice away from her bland voice acting by having an annoying voice present all the time…

The story is very true to the games, and not just because they use actual game characters, and it was fun to see a new point in the Resi timeline… back in 2008. Now it’s outdated, and unlike live action films, an outdated CG film is hard to watch. I won’t be watching again, although I did enjoy a lot of the game references and characters, as a fan I’d give it a 3, but to be unbiased and honest, in general the film gets a…

2 Star Watch

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