Available on home video and VOD.
If anyone needs a guide on what films and series belong in the animated Resident Evil series, I have a guide! Thankfully, there isn’t much, as the 2017 film Vendetta and 2021 Netflix series: Infinite Darkness is it. In this latest, Resident Evil: Death Island, which was released not too long ago, the focus is on Jill Valentine (Nicole Tompkins). She’s dealing with the zombie outbreak in San Francisco, where a new T-virus has been made.
Meanwhile, Leon Kennedy (Nicole Tompkins) is looking for a kidnapped DARPA scientist, and someone else is on the hunt for killer sharks. Just when people thought getting to and escaping from on Alcatraz Island is safer these days, the people in thie world better think again! Also, we meet other familiar names from this franchise–Chris Redfield (Kevin Dorman) and Rebecca Chambers (Erin Cahill) are introduced and just how their investigations come to head is when they all have to team up if they’re to survive.
According to Forever Geek and Capcom’s official webpage, this film is set in 2015, following the events of the sixth game (2013), incorporating elements from Vendetta (set in 2014) and before Biohazard (set in 2017). Only avid gamers will want to know these facts if they don’t get the sense of the timeline right away. Thankfully, the bonus features in this home video release covers it all and a lot more! For one thing, I didn’t know this latest took ten years of development to get the setting and characterizations right!
Also, director Eiichirô Hasumi and writer Makoto Fukami wanted this latest to feel lived in. That is, we’re seeing how these characters have changed since their last dealings with the Umbrella Corporation. They’ve consulted with CAPCOM to make sure their ideas won’t break the world, and even got permission to age the characters a bit. Also, they said they wanted to honour what made the video games great.
Although what’s presented here is quite talky, without it, we wouldn’t know what has happened since Leon and Jill’s last story. Casual fans may have a harder time following it (it’s not designed to be), but after getting caught up with the other films, I had no troubles.
But if you want to watch it to see how far developed motion capture and CGI animation has progressed, there’s a lot to admire. There’s still room for improvement as they’re not 100% photo realistic, but we’re getting there! For now, I’d welcome more video games to cinematic film translation. I believe Final Fantasy: Spirits Within helped kick-start this new subgenre. But to summarise what each franchise is about at the start, not every movie will have it.
Resident Evil: Death Island certainly links back to that first outbreak, but we’re left hanging for a while before we see how everything connects. During the first outbreak, people died. In addition to the familiar characters gamers all know, there’s a new name I don’t recognise. One such person is Dylan Blake (Daman Mills). He did not survive his mission and stayed sane afterwards. To see how he’s changed and wanted to turn these zombies into something more is certainly not necessarily always part of what the games were about.
And as for whether the animated series will return to the classic tropes of just being a game of survival rather than horror, I believe a delicate balance needs to be maintained. The latest is more like the former and as for when we can get more George Romero style works, I’d still watch both types. When Halloween is right around the corner, I’ll need my zombie fix somehow!
3½ Stars out of 5
Resident Evil: Death Island Trailer