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Film review – animated feature Resident Evil: Vendetta is for diehard fans only

The third Japanese-made animation film based on the popular video game series, Vendetta has some good action scenes, but its dialogue, exposition and performances are more unsettling than the zombies themselves

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 June, 2017, 7:02am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 October, 2017, 5:10pm

2/5 stars

Few pastimes are less fruitful than watching someone else play a video game, although this full-length feature does its utmost to prove otherwise. Unlike the seemingly endless stream of Milla Jovovich Resident Evil films – which populate the same universe as Capcom’s video game franchise but are otherwise unconnected – Resident Evil: Vendetta, the third Japanese-made animated film of its kind, directly ties into characters and events from the games.

Chris Redfield, Leon Kennedy and Rebecca Chambers will be familiar to gaming regulars, so Vendetta sidesteps anything resembling backstory or introduction. Suffice it to say, all three are adept at dispensing the undead hordes that ravage the Earth, and must band together here to prevent vengeful arms dealer Glenn Arias from unleashing a weaponised virus on New York.

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Vendetta is executive produced by Ju-On (The Grudge) creator Takashi Shimizu and features an immersive score by Kenji Kawai. Makoto Fukami’s screenplay includes some inventive ideas, such as zombies programmed to attack only specified targets, and a grief-stricken villain who travels with the disembodied arm of his dead fiancée. Takanori Tsujimoto’s direction also delivers the occasional jump scare and a couple of tightly choreographed action scenes.

Ultimately, however, Vendetta plays out like a 90-minute omnibus of “cut scenes” – the sequences of clunky narrative exposition inserted between completed levels in a video game that drive its plot forward. The film’s stilted dialogue, relentless exposition and “uncanny valley” animated performances prove far more unsettling than the virus-infected ghoulslurking in the shadows, and will likely only be stomached by the most diehard fans.

Resident Evil: Vendetta opens on June 15

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