Review: Resident Evil: Damnation (Blu-ray)

When the first Resident Evil live-action film came out back in 2002 I was extremely excited. I’ve been a fan of the series since I was a little kid, and being able to see my favorite series adapted on the big screen was basically a dream come true. However, things turned out to be completely different from what I was expecting as that film series progressed.

Granted, back when the first movie released, I was still young so the film ended up impressing the hell out of me. It had the infected dogs, hordes of zombies, the mansion (somewhat), an underground facility and a Licker! Hell, it also teased the Nemesis project at the end. It was a dream come true seeing all these things in a movie. But ever since that first film, things started getting more and more unlike my favorite series. So in come the CGI films!

Resident Evil: Degeneration was the first CGI film for the series and it proved to be extremely enjoyable, reuniting fan favorites Leon and Claire. Its story was well told and it was actually a Resident Evil movie that tied in with the series’ canon, unlike Paul W.S. Anderson’s films which are nontraditional “adaptations.” Now we have Resident Evil: Damnation available digitally and on store shelves on DVD and Blu-ray (reviewed). And I’m here to tell you that it’s the best Resident Evil movie to date. Keep reading to find out why!

The story sees the return of US special agent Leon S. “The Ladies Man” Kennedy as he infiltrates a small country in Eastern Europe run by its first female President, Svetlana Belikova. Upon arriving, Ingrid Hunnigan tells Leon that the US is pulling out from the country, meaning he has to leave as well. Leon refuses, he knows there are B.O.W.s being used in the war going on in the region, and he’s not going anywhere until he gets to the “root of the problem.”

As one can imagine when Leon is starring, Ada Wong gets involved in the story, and here she’s working with the B.S.A.A. Yeah, I know: what?! You’re going to have to watch the film to find out! The first time she and Leon cross paths in the film is truly memorable and a nice mix of their first encounters from Resident Evil 2 and 4. Ada also takes part in a very awesome fight scene with another character, which has a lot of those moments you know were meant to be seen in 3D. Speaking of which…

The film will actually have a proper theater release, but only in Japan, it’ll also be in 3D. Watching the Blu-ray (or DVD), you can tell which scenes were meant for the format. Regardless, it doesn’t hinder the overall viewing experience at all, and some of the “3D” moments are actually quite awesome, with one very gory one having to do with Leon and one of the Plaga enemies. Yes, the Plaga is back.

With the film’s promotional trailers, we were shown a whole lot of Lickers. Said B.O.W.s play a crucial role in the film, but they’re not the only things Leon needs to fear. Las Plagas is back, resulting in a trip down memory lane for Leon. These foes are smart and quite deadly. The whole concept of the Plaga plays a big role in the film, but I won’t delve into spoilers here. We also have the return of another classic B.O.W.As was seen through one of the promotional images, yes, there is a Tyrant in the movie! And let me tell you, the final “boss battle” in the film is quite epic, and another nice throwback to Resident Evil 2.

Damnation doesn’t just settle with the comfort of familiarity, though. The film introduces some new faces to the series’ cast. The most notable one being Buddy. Yup, the man we all thought was Ark Thompson of Survivor fame wasn’t him at all. He was Buddy. Hey, one can wish right? Buddy is quite a compelling character and I’m sure a lot of fans are going to love him due to the “tricks” he has up his sleeve. Another new major character is Buddy’s best friend, JD. JD brings a good dose of comic relief to the film and he doesn’t becoming the annoying addition to the cast I thought he would be.

Watching Damnation in Blu-ray was incredibly pleasing, both visually and aurally. Everything looks beautiful and the enemies are as grotesque as they should be, especially when their heads explode and out comes the tentacles. I also think Leon’s new voice actor did a solid job with the role, as well as the rest of the voice cast. And it wouldn’t be Resident Evil starring Leon without some one-liners! And there’s a good selection of them here I’m proud to say. The music is just as good, and I, being a sucker for songs being used in games, totally love the addition of Anna Tsuchiya’s “Carry On” to the film. It fits perfectly during the credits sequence which is a nice little treat in and of itself.

The only downside with Damnation, for me at least, was that towards the first half of the film, the characters spent a bit too much time in one particular area. It dragged a tiny bit, but then it was all remedied by a thrilling moment. Besides that small little issue, the whole film flowed beautifully. There’s quite a lot of memorable moments here, and the film definitely outdoes its predecessor, Degeneration, which was already a superbĀ Resident Evil film to begin with! And it all ends with a scene leading directly to Resident Evil 6.

The Blu-ray also comes packed with some neat special features. It has the exclusive concept art gallery but the main meat of the bonuses comes in the form of “The DNA of Damnation.” This is basically the Making Of feature, and it gives great insight into the creation of the film straight from the producers. The “Organisms of War” featurette was also a nice addition, giving background info on the B.O.W.s from the film.

Resident Evil: Damnation is hands down the best Resident Evil film to date. It’s also a very worth addition to the series’ overall story. It’s pretty much official at this point, anything in the franchise that stars Leon is bound to be pure gold, even when in a different medium. Having said that, I hope Capcom and Sony decide to continue the CGI film series, but focusing on other Resident Evil characters. Now bring on Resident Evil 6!

9/10

               
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