By Brett Mullins
Original Title: Biohazard: Degeneration
Directed by Makoto Kamiya; Screenplay by Shotaro Suga
Resident Evil: Degeneration is the film that fans of the franchise needed to redeem for the mediocre series of live action films. This is the first film set within the same universe as the video games and many of the novelizations.
Seven years have passed since the outbreak and subsequent destruction of Raccoon City. The Umbrella Corporation has since crumbled, with many of its assets being purchased by other pharmaceutical conglomerates. Claire Redford, the protagonist from Resident Evil II for PlayStation, along with Leon S. Kennedy, a U. S. Secret Service Agent also from the series, find themselves amid another outbreak of the T-virus in a town home to pharmaceutical giant WilPharma. As they fight to contain the infection, they learn that the T-virus may not be their only concern.
If one is not familiar with the general backstory of the franchise, they will probably not be able to fully appreciate the gravity of the film’s storytelling. In the beginning, the film does not do the best at providing adequate information for an unknowing audience; however, through the course of the film, the film’s mythology becomes a bit more clear.
While one could nitpick at a few inconsistencies in the quality of animation, such as the character’s hair and shakiness extreme close up angles, the majority of the shots are nothing short of spectacular to view.
This film gives off a sort of ‘superhuman’ vibe about Leon, leaving many comparisons to be made with Christian Bale’s portrayal of Batman. Fans of the series will find Leon’s presence exciting, while newcomers will find something to like about this, one time, Raccoon City Police Department rookie.
Despite the ever looming suspicion, this film is far from a time consuming plug for the video game franchise. The film appears to be made for the disgruntled fans of the series upset by the re-imagination employed in crafting the live action series’ timeline. The effectiveness of this film suggests that George A. Romero’s screenplay for the first Resident Evil film may have been similar to that of Degeneration in terms of pacing and storytelling.