Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008), or Undead Indifference

13 01 2009
Zombies are so damn persistent theyve followed the series longer than most people have!

Zombies are so damn persistent they've followed the series longer than most people have!

Hello all! Today’s feature is another reader suggestion by Stephen! He was even so kind as to donate the DVD! Thanks, pal! Don’t forget, people, that things keep going because of folks like yourselves. I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers!

All right, here’s a movie that I’m sure every single one of you can relate to: a Japanese-CG-straight-to-DVD-zombie-horror-survival-movie based on a video game. Right? Right? *crickets chirp*Anybody? Okay… Well, anyway, it is in the tradition of yesterday’s The Unborn. Because as that film was undoubtedly the first Jewish supernatural horror movie I had ever seen, today is the first computer-generated zombie movie I have ever seen. Yes, believe it or not, I am a CG zombie virgin (be gentle with me), but to be fair I think this has to be only the first or second of these that exist. If I’m wrong, TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS SECTION!

So, if you look on the cover of this movie, located conveniently on top of this review (like a hat), you might be wondering: where’s Alice, Milla Jovovich’s character in the Paul W.S. Anderson trilogy of movies? You poor, deluded fool. You’ve been living a lie this whole time. The Resident Evil movies you know are so loosely based on the source material that it looks like they just scanned the instruction booklets for the first three games, highlighted key words, and put them in a Mad Libs sheet. Milla Jovovich’s series of movies strip mined what they thought was interesting, threw the rest away, and said “What video game?” Well, fear not folks! Because Resident Evil: Degeneration is truly faithful to the series of video games. Unfortunately, that makes this a niche movie, because to really understand what is going on, you should have played the first, oh… five or six games.

All right, now I’m not willing to spend three days explaining the whole series, so if you’re not an aficionado like those rabid loser fans out there (including myself), just come at it with a fresh face. Basically, there is a virus in this world called the G-virus that, when people dead or alive come into contact with it, causes them to turn into zombies; shuffling, brain-thirsty undead. Claire Redfield works for Terra-Save, a foundation working to stop the spread of this horrible virus. And at the beginning of the film, she is at an airport protesting a company called WilPharma that is involved in illicit activity concerning said virus. Some of the protesters are wearing zombie masks and shuffling around the airport, which makes it all the more obvious that a real zombie is about to show up and kill people, and Hey!, one does. The airport goes into a state of panic, and it all gets crazier until a plane crashes into the airport. You’d think it was air traffic control freaking out about zombies at first, but then zombies actually drop out of the plane when it has settled, leading you to believe that everyone on the plane was turned into an undead menace. The airport is sealed to prevent an outbreak, but there are still survivors inside, including Claire. That’s when Leon S. Kennedy, a smooth-talking special agent, takes a small team inside to rescue all the survivors. This isn’t Leon’s first zombie-rodeo, but can he handle all the corporate agenda, secrets, and lies he encounters on his way to the survivors and the truth about the plane crash?

I’ve been saying for a long time now that CG should be used for more adult fare. I’m sick of Disney and Pixar’s stranglehold grip on the industry, and I think movies willing to go farther than PG should be out there in the market with bigger budgets. And for that I commend this movie, being an adult CG movie in a toddler’s CG world. Sadly, however, you can tell that the budget was not there on this one. People move very haltingly, objects move very inorganically, and especially hair just moves like it’s one long strand.The faces are good, but the designs are typical Japanese versions of brooding white-folk.

On a personal note, I will say I do like the slow-but numerous zombie movie. It’s a more claustrophobic experience than the Olympic runner zombies that are all the rage now. They are so strong and fast now, with all kinds of motor skills and reflexes. Zombies should surround your house, not bench-press your family before he eats them.

As I said, the story is convoluted, confusing, and off-putting if you haven’t played the games. The zombies are slow but numerous, which is what I generally like. The CG is fair but not feature length quality. So while I give this zombie flick an E for effort (and a Z for zombie), I gotta give this one 4 brooding white-folk out of 10 as a general release.

See you tomorrow, where I tackle the Bjork film Dancer in The Dark. Until then!!!