Critic’s Log - Earthdate: May 13, 2013. Review #48: Resident Evil: Damnation
I have reviewed the first CGI Resident Evil movie before and if you have looked it up before, I already mentioned that I reviewed it as a special treat because one of my friends got into Resident Evil at the time and has brought it up a lot to me since then. When I reviewed it, I had the feeling that I was gonna get suckered into that series, and what do you know... I got into Resident Evil thanks to another friend of mine. I decided to review this Resident Evil movie for a special occasion. Like I did with my review of Resident Evil: Degeneration, I am reviewing this movie in response to someone’s birthday. I won’t use any names or go into detail on this matter. I will say that neither my Higurashi reviews or this one was requested by this friend of mine. I went with Higurashi because I heard it often from time to time lately, so I went with that. The movie I’m about to review is merely my way of saying “Thank You” to the person that got me into the Resident Evil series. With that said, we are going to be in a hell of a warzone with Resident Evil: Damnation!
For seventy-four years, the might of Soviet socialism was so great it split the world on eastern and western lines. Then, in 1991, it collapsed completely. One by one, the various countries that had supported the Soviet Union began splitting away, declaring their independence. The parliament of the Eastern Slav Republic followed suit, declaring the country a sovereign state independent from Soviet rule. Capitalism advanced rapidly. The conglomerates gained influence in political circles, and as a result the oligarchs came into power. In the Eastern Slav Republic, the divide between rich and poor became so great it ignited the fuse of a new rebellion. The push for independence exploded into the streets, and armed freedom-fighters pitted themselves against their government, now controlled by the oligarchs. The military prospered during this time, becoming ever stronger and better equipped. Under the guidance of Ivan Judanovich or "Ataman" from the Council of Elders, the freedom fighters moved their base of operations to a hidden location; a more-suitable place from which they could launch their geurilla war against the government. After several years of brutal fighting, it was Svetlana Belikova - Eastern Slav's first female president - who offered a cease-fire to the freedom fighters. But, the break from hostilities was short-lived: in November of 2010, the government discovered that the rebels' land contained valuable resources. The military continued their attacks, claiming they were fighting terrorism. Losing one base to another due to the military's onslaught, the freedom fighters escalated their efforts and became more and more radical in their tactics. It was then that strange rumours began spreading like wildfire among the people that monsters had joined the battle. In February of 2011, the rumours found their way to the old city of Holifgrad, just a few kilometres from the Presidential Palace - an important strategic location for the government.
This prologue summary has been brought to you by Alexander Kozachenko, Now it’s my turn to give you the main plot summary after being a little lazy just now. Leon S. Kennedy decides to investigate the rumored use of new type Bio-Organic Weapons by the rebels of the Eastern Slav country and that’s where Resident Evil: Damnation begins.
To be technical, this is a CG Animated production from Capcom, Sony Pictures Japan, and Digital Frontier, in which they form up once again to make another CGI Resident Evil movie, and damn! The computer animation and aesthetics looks a little much better than Degeneration. The computer animation is eye-candy from beginning to end. However, it is not perfect. There are a few moments where there are some animated “close-up” moments and some slight repetitive moments with the animations such as certain Slow-Motion moments. However, the reasoning for this was because the movie is meant to be seen in 3D and I heard that this worked to the movie’s advantage. Still, it was a little overdone but not overblown. The CG animation looks great though.
The music by Rei Kondoh and Shusaku Uchiyama is not really worth writing home about because these guys don’t do a whole lot of compositions but at the same time, the music doesn’t have much to offer in this movie. This is one of the factors of the movie that could have been so much better. There’s nothing much to say about this.
When it comes to voice acting, get ready for a bit of a doozy here. Not only is the movie only available in English in the U.S. A Japanese cast does not exist in this movie. Little did I know, the Resident Evil games don’t really have a Japanese cast because they decided to have it in English (probably because of settings or something) I have seen some Japanese game trailers to some of the Resident Evil games and I assume this is the case. The cast is pretty damn good as you would expect in Resident Evil. Matthew Mercer is badass as always as Leon S. Kennedy. Dave Wittenberg was pretty good as Alexander. Courtenay Taylor was great as Ada, and Wendee Lee was terrific as Svetlana Belikova. This movie has a great voice cast that keeps the vocal quality just as good as the games. An interesting note is that most of the voice actors were the motion capture actors as well.
As far as characters go, If you’re expecting great depth in character development...you might be out of luck. There are some movie-exclusive characters and all I can say is that Alexander is developed decently throughout the entire movie, but most of the characters are pretty underdeveloped. Leon S. Kennedy is a badass and I guess that’s all I can say about Leon. He does get some one-liners often which I think is a bit hit and miss. The Character development may have not been strong, but it isn’t too terrible to say the least.
However, the story is pretty underwhelming. It does throw in a lot of situations in the movie. What really hurts the movie the most is the neckbreaking pace. Some parts it moves smoothly, there are times when it gets slow, and times when it gets a bit fast. As far as the story itself, it was not interesting at times. I know this is just a minor nitpick, but there were times where I was wishing the movie would end soon. The story is set within the official canon of Resident Evil and that’s fine. What Resident Evil: Damnation went wrong is using some repetitive plot devices, some slightly overdone cliches, and some predictable moments. I did not have many expectations with this movie, but all I can say is that this movie is strictly for the Resident Evil fans. Those who watch this movie without proper knowledge of the Resident Evil games will not understand much that is going on. In the end, do I have a problem with this movie? Yes and No, Yes because I do find problems within this movie. No because it has some kickass action scenes, some scary moments that Degeneration was lacking in some areas, and it’s good for being a popcorn flick. Even with its flaws, look on the bright side... it’s not as bad as most of those live-action Resident Evil movies.
Resident Evil: Damnation is available by Sony Pictures Entertainment
With all that said, Resident Evil: Damnation is a decent entry in the main canon of the Resident Evil series just like Resident Evil: Degeneration. This movie does have better quality than Degeneration and it does have some pretty cool action scenes and some scary moments. It may not have the best soundtrack in the world but it does have some problems with character development. The pacing and some repetitive moments might annoy some. This is a kind of movie where it has the feel of “Take it or Leave it”
I give Resident Evil: Damnation a 6.5 out of 10. It is DECENT!
Feel free to leave a comment, now if you'll excuse me... I have to start recruiting members for my Zombie Apocalypse Team.