Red Vs. Blue: Reconstruction (2008)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 12/14/08

The people at Rooster Teeth continue to amaze and impress with their "Halo" inspired antics. With "Reconstruction" they utilize the "Halo 3" engine and take a stab at some pretty serious and well thought out scripting. Not only does it make for some good science fiction, but it also miraculously ties into everything that happened in "Blood Gulch Chronicles." Following the events that happened in the wonderful mini-series "Out Of Mind" and "Recovery One," Agent Washington is sent to Blood Gulch to investigate the whereabouts of the rogue AI Omega. He plays the straight man to all of the ridiculous characters from the original series and falls victim to their incompetence throughout the course of the show. His first priority is to locate Caboose, since he had the most recent contact with Omega. Shortly afterwards the two of them team up with a reluctant Church. Upon hearing that the Blues are reassembling under Washington's command, Sarge makes it a point to reassemble the Reds and goes searching for Grif and Simmons. With that, the core team dynamics are in place and the usual tomfoolery goes down. Sadly, Tex, Doc, and Donut are AWOL, and Sheila and Tucker have only the tiniest of walk-on parts. Curiously, Tex seems to be the only cast member who has died and stayed dead. Eventually the Reds and Blues end up working together to take down Freelancer Maine, who has been killing other Freelancers and taking their AIs and power-ups. This makes him an especially dangerous adversary. A lot of political intrigue is thrown in, and the revelation about AI Alpha literally gave me chills. There's some surprisingly powerful stuff going on in here.

The first thing you notice about "Reconstruction" is how beautiful it looks in the "Halo 3" world. They've also increased the production values everywhere else and even hired real voice actors for several of the roles. It's a very slick presentation that's only held back by the limits of what can be done in the "Halo 3" engine. But then again, that's where the main appeal of the series is - just how far can they run within the confines of the model? The writing is very good and the plot unfolds through a series of correspondence between "the chairman" and "the director" regarding the research and development of military AI. It's remarkably subtle and fairly thick, requiring multiple viewings to really piece it all together. Unfortunately, that also seems to be "Reconstruction's" weakest link, as it's extremely dialog heavy and doesn't contain much action. Constantly cutting back and forth between the characters talking to each other can get a little tiresome, but that's also necessary to support the more developed plot. Of course I never get tired of listening to Sarge's inane verbal assaults, and he's a pure joy. The DVD is packed with all sorts of goodies, including the superb mini-series "Recovery One" and a nifty animated short. I'd like to see more of this. It would be very interesting to see if the Red Vs. Blue cast is strong enough to survive outside of the limits imposed by the series' technology.