‘Resident Evil: Death Island’ Review: It Has Fun Letting the Video Game Characters Be Video Game Characters

'Resident Evil: Death Island' thrives on letting its characters be video game characters.

5 Min Read
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m tired of video game adaptations acting like they aren’t video game adaptations. Humanize this character, cut back on the violence and physicality, ground this in reality, ground that in reality … no. I don’t want reality and zombies mixing together. I don’t need that. I can suspend my disbelief in these scenarios. In films like this, if they run out of ammo at some point, I’m content. There’s making something appeal to general audiences, and then there’s pandering to them so they don’t have to admit they liked the story that came from those damn games. We’ve been seeing more of the latter. So for me, Resident Evil: Death Island was a breath of fresh air.

Is it the best movie I’ve ever seen? No. Am I watching these characters do things no human is capable of? Yes. Is the dialogue a little rough around the edges sometimes? Yup. Just like the Resident Evil games that these are based on. And it’s great. It said, “Oh, you guys like Leon Kennedy? Here, have some more in the same manner you know and love him in,” and thank you for that. There were so many of the stupid Leon one-liners that has become one of his shining qualities in my eyes I was kicking my feet with glee.

Personally, I enjoyed this one more than its predecessor Vendetta. It’s been six years since that release and the CGI animation has obviously taken a step up. It’s not the best the current market has to offer, but there is a significant improvement, and as someone who is extremely picky with their animation, I thought it was well done. The action sequences are heavy right from the start and don’t really slow down, and the final showdown with one of Resident Evil‘s classic hideous T-virus creations is just as creative, impossible, and extravagant as your final boss fights within the game.

Jill Valentine makes her film debut and Nicole Tompkins is back from Resident Evil 3 to bring her into the new medium. The films allow for quieter moments to explore some of these characters a little bit more, though it could probably spare a little extra time to go further, and Jill’s story was easily relatable and a necessary hurdle I was glad to see crossed. With that being said, Jill is the only one who sees any sort of development, our other beloved comrades really just along for the ride. But it was a fun ride, and it was great to see Matthew Mercer and Kevin Dorman back as Leon and Chris, as well as Erin Cahill as Rebecca Chambers and Stephanie Panisello as Claire Redfield.

The plot is a pretty typical formula. I enjoyed the villain, his motives, and the setting of Alcatraz prison. It’s pretty cut and dry, nothing is going to shock you, but I really don’t agree with this mentality of needing shocking, awe-inspiring twists to make a story worth telling. Sometimes it’s just a fun 90-minute ride, and that’s exactly what this is. It’s f*cking fun, it’s Resident Evil just like we know and love it, and it’s got sharks. I’ll watch it again (in fact I did after writing this and can confirm no opinions have changed).

After all this, I’d be remiss to mention it’s worth watching just for Chris Redfield’s printed button-down that got far less screen time than it deserved. Give that man a vacation already.

Resident Evil: Death Island is now out on Blu-ray, 4K Steelbook, digital, and DVD.

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By Kaity
Kaity started with Harry Potter in second grade and it’s been a losing battle ever since, or maybe a winning one ... She lives in New England with a small herd of cats, two dogs, three chinchillas, and one daughter. Her main fandoms are Marvel, Star Wars, and The Lord of the Rings, with special emphasis on a reluctant Space Dad and vibranium shield-wielding Super Soldier. Contact: kaity@nerdsandbeyond.com
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