Resident Evil Vendetta masterfully marriages the jump scare, tension-heavy atmosphere of the video games with an upper tier blockbuster action film. This doesn’t need a qualifier saying it’s the best of the three animated movies. Vendetta is easily the best Resident Evil film period.
Directors Alexander Von David and Takanori Tsujimoto bring their expertise in action films to the Resident Evil world and the result was clearly long overdue.
Von David and Tsujimoto bring a real horror edge to the film with plenty of jump scares and crazy scenarios. They have a great understanding of how to take the core Resident Evil elements — highly skilled protagonists, sinister villain, zombie hordes, special zombie creations — and make a great film out of it. There’s some clever shot outs to the video games from costumes and even a visit to a mansion. Longtime live-action Resident Evil director/writer Paul W.S. Anderson understood the basic concepts of the franchise, but never managed to implement it properly.
The fight scenes are brilliant with easy to follow action feature close quarter combat reminiscent of the John Wick films. Add in a heavy dose of flesh eating zombies in their various forms and Vendetta is a standout on the action front.
That doesn’t come at the expense of the plot however. Makoto Fukami’s script solves the villain problem that’s held back the previous animated films Resident Evil: Damnation and Resident Evil: Degeneration. Here, the bad guy Glenn Arias (John DeMita) doesn’t feel like an Umbrella agent retread. He’s got a legit agenda and understandable reason for wanting to wipe out the Earth with a biohazard. Arias is even more menacing as he’s a formidable fighter who reveals occasional lapses of insanity.
Vendetta unites two of the major characters from the video games — Chris Redfield (Kevin Dorman) and Leon Kennedy (Matthew Mercer). Chris has continued his fight against weapons dealers looking to make Bio Organic Weapons. Leon is questioning his life choices and reluctant to re-enter the fight. But when their ally Rebecca Chambers (Erin Cahill) learns of a new virus strand that could impact thousands, it’s up to Chris and Leon to stop the new threat.
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At times, it’s hard to remember this isn’t a live-action film. The CGI is outstanding with all the elements like stubble, hair effects and character movement having an authentic look. Even the lip syncing, which at times has proven problematic for CGI films, is dead on with no noticeable slip ups. Vendetta distorts the line between reality and CGI especially in the action scenes.
The scenarios are very imaginative and the main monster gives an appropriate final boss vibe.
If I had to have a complaint it’s the absence of Jill Valentine or Claire Redfield. The script probably couldn’t handle four main characters, but it was a shame they had to miss the fun here.
Resident Evil Vendetta takes the best aspects of the video game high points (Resident Evil 4, Resident 5) and makes an amazingly intense and action-packed thrill ride.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Capcom Company