Resident Evil: Vendetta (Japan 2017)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 2/8/18
Music: Kenji Kawai

Arguably the best and most genuine "Resident Evil" movie in the series. An arms dealer named Glenn Arias has created a potent new virus called the A-Virus, which not only reanimates the dead like Umbrella's previous concoctions, but it also allows the zombies to be given specific targets. Veteran zombie expert Chris Redfield is called in to take down Arias, and fails spectacularly. Meanwhile, ex-Special Forces member Rebecca Chambers has become a top scientist in biochemical research and is desperately searching for a way to combat the A-Virus. Arias attacks her facility and kidnaps her, with intent to marry her because she resembles his dead wife. Did I mention that he's just a bit cuckoo? In order to rescue Rebecca and save the world, Chris teams up with Leon Kennedy, whose traumatic past experiences with the undead have turned him into a wretched and inconsolable alcoholic.

First of all, the animation is fantastic, and I would recommend the film based on that alone. The lip-syncing is a bit off and Rebecca's mouth is a little weird, but otherwise the movie looks great. Thankfully, the goofy personalities from the previous films are absent and the presentation is much more serious and grounded, but the dialog is still awkward and cringe-inducing. Both Chris and Leon are portrayed as superhuman soldiers with incredible strength, unbelievable dexterity, and supernatural perception, while Rebecca is sadly relegated to a thankless "hot scientist chick in distress" role. The action scenes are completely gonzo and highlighted by superb fight choreography, excellent camera work, and smart editing. The final fight between Chris and Arias employs some outrageous "Bayonetta" inspired gun fu, which is both completely absurd and extremely exciting to watch. Admittedly, the whole thing is pretty cheesy and immature, but it honors the classic "Resident Evil" themes and succeeds at being a fun piece of mindless, testosterone-fuelled escapism.