Resident Evil: Damnation Blu-Ray Review

Article first published as Blu-ray Review: Resident Evil: Damnation on Blogcritics.

Fans of the Resident Evil game series have long lamented the live action Paul W.S. Anderson films.  Despite the striking Milla Jovovich’s presence in the films, the lack of continuity has been a source of contention.  That along with the Jovovich’s Alice character who doesn’t exist in Resident Evil’s video game world, leaves many fans fuming.  As if a number of them weren’t disappointed enough, with the games also seeming to be abandoning their zombie horror roots for a brighter and more action-oriented mainstream presentation.

A couple of years ago, before Resident Evil 5 was released for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, Resident Evil creators, Capcom teamed up with Sony to release a computer animated Resident Evil film, Degeneration.  The film was kind of a tie-in between games to let fans know what happened over the previous few years and featured a trailer for the upcoming game.  If that sounds like a poor premise for releasing a full priced blu-ray disc, you’re supported by the majority of critics that reviewed the film.

Fast forward to now with Resident Evil 6 just released in North America and Europe.  Again Capcom and Sony have released a computer animated Resident Evil film that bridges the story between the most recent games.  Catered toward those console gamers, both Degeneration and Damnation have trouble standing on their own.  Instead, they cater to the gamers the live-action films seem to dismiss.  Those considering buying the new Resident Evil: Damnation should keep in mind that without the context only the games provide, following the story is difficult.

Like Degeneration, Leon Kennedy is the star of Resident Evil: Damnation.  He is sent to the war torn former Soviet bloc East Slavic Republic looking for Bio-organic weapons. It doesn’t take him long to discover that a faction is using the Las Plagas parasite.  The Las Plagas was first seen in Leon’s Resident Evil 4 adventure and the film always feels like there should be a quick time event on the screen and a subsequent level of gameplay following.  Adding to the sensation is the shifting views between Leon’s first-person view and the more cinematic scenes between.

Though he is a fan favorite, Leon is not alone in Resident Evil: Damnation.  There is little reference to Resident Evil 5 in this movie.  Instead continuing from Resident Evil 4, Leon once again runs into the mysterious Ada Wong.  Leon and Ada’s rivalry continues and many of the questions are answered from the last time we saw the pair.  However, it isn’t just a two man show. There are some new faces as well.  Again, those not familiar with the game series are likely to have trouble following things but, for the faithful there are also a handful of extras that answer even more questions.  There is also an art gallery.

The animation and transfer quality are much improved in Damnation over the previous Degeneration, though there is no 3D this time around.  That’s not to say this movie doesn’t look like watching someone play a video game.  If Degeneration looked like a last gen game, at least Damnation looks more current.  The 1.78:1 widescreen film is in a crisp 1080p HD format.  The Audio is offered in English, French and Portuguese in crisp 5.1 channel DTS-HD and Mandarin, Spanish and Thai in 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Subtitles are available in Korean in addition to the audio languages.

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