As movie have progressed we've seen more and more use of CGI (Computer Generated Images) in films. In some cases, most of the SyFy channel films, we see how poorly it can be done making viewers long for the stop motion animation we grew up with in the Sinbad movies. In others, as in all of the LORD OF THE RINGS movies, we see how it can be done right and help a story along depicting things we could never see otherwise.
Then there is the all CGI film, the one where actors are no longer seen emoting but animated images portray the characters. I'm not talking about animated Disney films like FROZEN or Universal's MINIONS. I'm talking about realistic images, stories with people as the main characters instead of cartoonish images. Not many have been made but there have been several using the hit video game RESIDENT EVIL for their stories. The latest in this series, RESIDENT EVIL: VENDETTA is now out and it's the best yet.
If you're new to the series all you need to know is that an evil corporation known as Umbrella has released a toxic agent into the world that turns people into zombies. This movie opens much like the very first original game as a special ops team enters an old mansion in search of survivors. That in itself will bring glee to fans of the game. The horror that they encounter is much like the game as well, catching the viewer off guard and allowing for some intense physical combat between the team and zombies. Team leader Chris Redfield (one of the main characters from the game) remains standing and is evacuated without what he came looking for, a weapons dealer named Arias who has annihilation in mind.
Along with this we have to concurrent stories running. One involves Rebecca Chambers, another special ops fighter who has turned in her gun to search for a cure for the zombie plague. All of that may be for naught when her lab is attacked and all inside turned into zombies. She escapes with the help of Chris before becoming infected herself. The two of them find compatriot Leon Kennedy and recruit him to help in their mission, finding Arias.
Arias story is the third part of this triangle. It seems the arms dealer was in the process of getting marred when the party was bombed by a drone. Surviving he has set his sights on those responsible and now has in mind changing the world to suit his desires, one of which is resurrecting the love of his life. Aiding him in his quest are the only other survivors of that bombing, now mutated with his help.
The story moves along in a reasonable manner, with plenty of background provided and a depth of story most movies like this tend to ignore. The action flows at a steady pace but is complimented by those story elements, making it a more well-rounded film.
The CGI here is pretty amazing to witness. While it still has some minor flaws it does make you wonder if the day won't come when CGI created actors fill the screen in place of those now performing. From an economic point of view one might expect it. But my guess is that real life actors and technicians will be with us for some time. It doesn't mean that we can't enjoy films like this at the same time though.
For me what made this movie more enjoyable than the others I've seen in the series is that homage back to the original game. I've never been a huge game player but my son was for a time. I can recall the time we sat together playing the original game, both jumping when startled by some attacking creature. We laughed, our hearts beat faster and we had a good time. This movie reminded me of those days and for fans of the game it's likely to do the same for you.
If you're new to the world of RESIDENT EVIL find a game player and have them show you the first game. You could also watch the live action series of films which tend to move in and out of the world created by the games. Or you can jump into the middle of things with this movie and have a good time as well. For me I'll think I'll add this one to my shelf and give it a watch every now and then.
Review by Mark Turner from the Internet Movie Database.