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Resident Evil: Degeneration is a CGI film released in 2008 by Capcom as part of the Resident Evil continuity. It should not be confused with the live-action films.

The film is set in 2005, seven years after the destruction of Raccoon City, one year after the events of Resident Evil 4, and brings back the main characters of Resident Evil 2. Claire Redfield, after the events of Code: Veronica, has decided she isn't suited for actively combating Umbrella and its bioweapons, instead joining a non-government organization known as "Terra Save", which both opposes bioweaponry and conducts search and rescue of chemical and bioterrorist attacks. She goes to an airport to chaperone a little girl with missing parents when zombies suddenly infest the terminal. With only a few suvivors, the military calls in an expert on these kind of situations to stage a rescue mission: Leon S. Kennedy. Hilarity Ensues. Then not so much.

Unlike the live-action Resident Evil movies, this one actually takes place in the continuity of the games.

It is followed up by the sequel Resident Evil: Damnation with Leon once again as the protagonist. In terms of the game chronology, it's followed by Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness.

Resident Evil: Degeneration provides examples of the following tropes:

  • A-Team Firing: Greg. In a mild variation, he has a fairly high hit rate. He even holds the barrel shroud in an overhand grip to reduce climb. It should be noted, though, that he keeps doing this even after Leon tells him to aim for the head. Twice. It's at least justified in context. The SRT isn't trained for dealing with T-Virus outbreaks, and years of training for center of mass shots and muscle memory simply can't be overcome in a few minutes. Even after coming face to face with the fact that the hostiles aren't still alive Greg and Angela still have trouble coming to terms with it.
  • Action Girl: Zigzagged with Claire. Per her own dialogue, she's voluntarily demoted herself to pacifism, and would rather look after the civilians than kick ass. Hand her a gun, though, and it becomes apparent why she's one of the few survivors of Raccoon City.
  • Actionized Sequel: While Degeneration takes place after Resident Evil 4, it is more a sequel to Resident Evil 2, and is much more of an action movie than a horror movie.
  • Artistic License – Military: While most of the weapons used onscreen are accurately portrayed and rendered, the U.S. Marines deployed to counter the outbreak, and later to neutralize Curtis Miller, are wearing U.S. Army ACU (Adaptive Combat Uniform) fatigues and equipment, as noted by the IMFDB. It should be noted that in the Japanese version, the responders are referred to as actually being U.S. Army Rangers. The various game world guidebooks have explained this detail.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Leon and Claire always aim for the head when facing the zombies and specifically instruct the others to do the same, as the head is the only vulnerable spot. While torso shots will bring a zombie down eventually, it's a waste of ammo when compared to an instant-kill headshot.
  • Badass Pacifist: As aforementioned, Claire chose to take a role of rescuer and healer after the events of Code: Veronica. This doesn't stop her from kicking zombie ass when she's put into a corner, though.
  • C-List Fodder: Subverted. Among the survivors in the airport, there are the senator's male secretary, and a female airport employee. Neither character is given a name and each speaks only a few lines, which would normally be signs of them having "zombie chow" tattooed on their foreheads, but both of them manage to survive the airport outbreak.
  • Call-Back: There are several for Resident Evil 2:
    • Leon and Claire meet up in nearly the same way as they first met (a zombie chases Claire, Leon tells Claire to "get down", and then shoots it in the head).
    • Claire has another small child that she has to protect.
    • Leon tries to save his partner from falling into a self-destructing lab while at risk of falling himself. Unlike before, he actually succeeds this time.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Angela is a deconstruction of this, as she places her teammates in danger several times by blindly running off to do something heroic, most notably when she runs off to investigate what Leon warns her is the sound of zombies, thinking it might be an injured human being. Even after almost getting her throat chewed out, she still doesn't shoot to kill until she's forced to accept that the infected are too far gone to be saved or reasoned with. She even notes she accidentally got some of her teammates injured in a foolhardy attempt to save someone from a river before the events of the movie.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • At one point, Claire uses an umbrella as a weapon. Though she never opens it, it's clearly patterned after the Umbrella logo. She even lampshades it. Also, she is reunited with Leon after he rescues her in the exact same manner that he did in Resident Evil 2.
    • Thanks to the retcon established in the remake of Resident Evil 2, when Claire is told of the G-Virus, she flashes back when she encountered G-Birkin's first form holding a lead pipe. In the remake, this encounter does happen after she finds Sherry panicking and warns her of G-Birkin behind her.
    • Leon's outfit is pretty much what he wears throughout 4. He even loses the jacket towards the end.
  • Deadline News: The reporter at the airport ends up as a spectacularly moronic example as she's killed by a zombie after she wonders why her cameraman ran away.
  • Dirty Coward: Senator Davis cares only for himself, and if surviving means putting the lives of the other members of the group in danger then so be it. To add insult to injury, it works. He survives the zombie outbreak, but not Tricell's cleanup operation.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Justified when Angela gets the drop on Frederic Downing and intentionally scares him by pulling the trigger when her gun was empty. She racked the action to eject the live round in the chamber. This is parodied in the outtakes.
  • Dull Surprise: Leon gets hit with this hard, presumably because he's been through a lot worse by this point.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Even with the G-Virus taking total control of his body, Curtis still managed to resist it for several seconds when it tried to go after his sister, Angela. All the while begging her to run, and screaming "I don't want to hurt you!".
  • Evil Brit: Played with regarding Frederick. He seems nice at first, only to be revealed to be working for WilPharma. Then it's subverted when it's revealed that WilPharma were actually working on a vaccine to cure the virus. Then it's double subverted when it turns out he was lying and was responsible for the virus outbreak after all.
  • Faux Action Girl: Angela. Though she holds her own against zombies well enough, listening to Leon's advice for shooting them in the head, there are many occasions where she has to be rescued by him.
  • Gag Reel: A pseudo-"abridged series" special feature with a few Gag Dubed scenes.
  • Hero-Tracking Failure: A rather blatant example when bullets fired by the Marines patter off the ground near their target. While said target is standing still.
  • His Story Repeats Itself: Like in Resident Evil 2's A-Scenario, Leon once again finds himself holding the hand of a Love Interest, her life literally in his hand. This time, though, he manages to save her.
  • Immune to Bullets: G-Curtis starts to No-Sell the full auto fire of the Marines. Subverted later on, with Leon managing to stun him with a headshot.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: During the escape sequence in the lobby, Leon takes out zombies dozens of meters away with clear headshots armed only with his handgun, which doesn't have a scope.
  • Indignant Slap: overlapping with Bitch Slap, after the characters are rescued from the zombie outbreak, the Senator watches Rani reunite with her Aunt, and remarks on how he hates kids. Claire marches right up to him and slaps him hard enough to knock him to the ground, saying, "Bastard! That little girl is going to have nightmares for the rest of her life because of you!"
  • It's the Only Way to Be Sure: To contain a viral outbreak, consisting of one person infected with the G-Virus and a handful of zombies, an entire research facility self-destructs in the most needlessly elaborate way possible — by dropping, section by section, into an enormously deep shaft and then being incinerated. Considering how ridiculously powerful a G-infected gets, the overkill is understandable here.
  • The Load: Senator Davis is easily one of the most blatant examples in the entire franchise. He has to be physically carried by others during the escape from the airport, slowing the group down. Made worse when, as soon as he sees a chance, and nearly getting Rani killed in the process, he makes it outside all by himself just fine.
  • Made of Iron: Leon. He gets smacked dozens of metres through the air by a G-virus mutant, smashes into a block of metal, and is still able to get up afterwards and pull off Le Parkour sequence with no hassle.
  • Mama Bear: Claire to Rani. She generally has a tendency for this.
  • Man Behind the Man: It appears Senator Davis might be responsible for the biohazard outbreaks after all, and for most of the movie Claire is pretty positive that he is. He's not. It's Frederick.
  • Mauve Shirt: Angela's partner, Greg, who dies in the first third of the movie. He basically exists to provide a hyper-masculine, boorish, undisciplined foil to the ever unfazed Leon.
  • Meaningful Echo: "If you don't try to save one life, you will never save any." As mentioned by Angela, it's a message passed on by her brother Curtis. In the finale, Leon repeats the exact same message, followed by "Isn't that right, Curtis?" just before he shot G-Curtis to save Angela from being pulled down.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Claire's reaction when she learns that Terra Save's harassment of WilPharma have delayed distribution of the T-virus vaccine, meaning that the deaths of Greg and who knows how many others might have been prevented.
  • Mythology Gag: Claire is depicted as using a shotgun in the flashback. While this may seems strange, the live action trailer for Resident Evil 2 does show her using a shotgun.
  • No Name Given:
    • Rani's aunt is never named, and is only referred to as "Aunt" in the credits.
    • The senator's secretary and the hostess of the airport's VIP lounge, despite being part of the group of survivors, are not given names either.
  • Not a Zombie:
    • The police chief threatens to arrest the first zombie to appear, allowing it to get into range before it latches onto his throat. Somewhat justified, as he had just arrested a Terra Save protester in a zombie costume and thus had reason to believe it was another idiot. Senator Davis' bodyguard continues to treat it as if it's a human, even after Claire warns him, and is eaten for it.
    • Despite having just been told about the zombies, and being warned by Leon that the moan she's just heard is a classic sound of the zombies, Angela runs off and, finding an apparently injured man on the ground, hoists him over her shoulders; only Leon's intervention saves her from getting her face bitten off. Even then, she still warns a zombie to back away, then aims downwards and shoots her in the leg, to no practical effect.
    • Greg avoids the "deliberately shoot non-vital areas" and "try to order the zombie back" flaws, but wastes his ammo on a "spray and pray" fighting style, which ends up inflicting minimal casualties and almost gets him killed when one of the zombies he had shot up breaks through a window and grapples him to the ground.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Unusual, considering zombies are always used to refer the walking dead in-universe. Leon calls them "the dead", and everyone else calls them "those things".
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Averted; while it isn't made clear if the bomb that destroyed Raccoon City was nuclear or not, a reporter mentions that it's rumoured to be such.
  • Le Parkour: Leon does an incredible parkour sequence near the end of the movie to escape a Self-Destruct Mechanism.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Senator Davis is convinced to disguise himself in order to pass through the airport undetected by Terra Save protesters. His disguise is... a baseball cap. A little girl instantly sees through it!
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Claire to Leon, respectively. Leon being The Stoic who barely flinches from gigantic monsters or entire rooms falling apart. Claire, meanwhile, is generally much more emotive since she believes her organization was indirectly responsible for the airport incident.
  • Red Shirt Army: The Marines fighting G-Curtis. After initially knocking him down, they get torn apart with ease.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Leon warns the S.R.T. members Greg and Angela accompanying him to the hot zone to shoot the infected in the head, and he had to say it twice. They never listen, and it gets Greg bitten by a zombie, forcing him to stay behind.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Davis' assistant.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: The finale gives us the mind-boggling containment system in the WilPharma facility, which includes: spraying everything with flammable liquid, detaching contaminated sections, dropping them in a 3000 foot shaft (in sequence no less), incinerating them in a giant fireball (twice), and sealing them behind a steel covering thick enough to withstand a nuclear blast. How the hell did they have any funds left for medical research? In all fairness, Umbrella's shown how piss-poor containment protocols hold up against zombie monsters, so overkill might be a bit justified. WilPharma may actually be the most efficient corporation in the history of the franchise when it comes to keeping things from biting them in the ass.
  • Semper Fi: The Marines are brought in to contain the airport outbreak. Though sadly, they don't stand a chance against the mutated Curtis.
  • Sequel Hook: The ending shows Tricell doing the clean-up of the WilPharma site.
  • Shout-Out: Many, to both Resident Evil 2 and to Resident Evil 4.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: This movie shows that the fallout out from the destruction of Raccoon City and Umbrella's subsequent fall wasn't as easy and carefree as Resident Evil 4 made it out to be. There was immense public backlash that saw a massive loss in trust of the United States government and pharmaceutical companies. The President was forced to resign from office and there's essentially a global war on bioterrorism that doesn't appear to be going very well.
  • The Stoic: Leon, who never speaks in anything but a monotone, has almost no facial expression whatsoever, and whose emotional range varies between "..." and "....." He even loses the psuedo-Deadpan Snarker wisecracks and Large Ham tendencies from Resident Evil 4.
  • The Stinger: In the ruins of the WilPharma facility, a cleanup agent in a biohazard suit finds a part of the late mutated Curtis, picks it up, and stores it in a container.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The WilPharma facility's Self-Destruct Mechanism. Admittedly, it actually takes the full sequence to kill the mutated Curtis, so it's closer to Crazy-Prepared than overkill.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Angela and Greg both make rookie mistakes common to the "police/military official meets zombie" scenario, despite the presence and warning of Leon. And unlike every other scenario where this happens, zombies are not some previously unseen phenomenon; their existence has been common knowledge for years by the time the movie takes place. While they weren't sure it was a T-Virus to begin with, and knowledge about what really happened in Raccoon City is a little shakey at best, they still had Leon with them, and he gave them the lowdown on what to expect. While Angela simply settles with telling a zombie to stop and then kneecapping it when it doesn't listen, Greg decides to be a gung-ho dumbass, entering the room and spraying everything in sight like the idiot he is. He's even surprised when one of the zombies, absolutely unaffected by his tactics, jumps at him and nearly takes a chunk out of him.
    • The television reporter at the zombie-infested airport when her cameraman looks past her and runs off. The obvious implication here being that extreme danger is heading their way, but her reaction to this is a confused "Why'd you stop filming?!" Cue a hungry zombie showing up behind her.
    • Some of the Marines can be considered this, due to their battle plan against G-Curtis consisting of "shoot him" and "shoot him some more," even though he's obviously shrugging all the bullets off. By the time they consider switching over to their grenade attachments he's already cutting through them.
    • Averted with two of the civilians at the airport, namely Senator Davis's secretary and the airport's VIP lounge hostess. They are civilians with no weapons and no kind of training whatsoever, but they survive the airport outbreak unscathed, mostly because they pretty much followed every instruction to the letter, sticking close to the group and avoiding zombies.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Greg Glenn doubts Leon and says he doesn't even "look military", completely unaware that Leon has more experience with zombies than the S.R.T. members.
  • Underwater Kiss: From Leon to Angela, as she apparently needed the air more than he. A rather big Ship Tease moment.
  • Villains Want Mercy: The cowardly villain begs for his life in the end. When the heroine pulls the trigger, nothing happens. Turns out the execution was a Fake Kill Scare.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Curtis. He caused an outbreak to pressure WilPharma and the U.S. Government into revealing the truth behind the Raccoon City disaster as he wished for the tragedy to never be repeated.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: Claire saying she needs some type of weapon cuts to the best she could find is a red and white brolly. Yeah, as in Umbrella. She even lampshades this:
    Never saw this coming...
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Curtis lost most of his family to the Raccoon City disaster, so he was extremely determined to ensure that said disaster is never repeated, even if the method of not repeating the disaster is causing an outbreak of the T-virus at an airport and the WilPharma facility, and then injecting himself with the G-virus as a means to force the government and WilPharma into revealing the truth.
  • The Worf Effect: The U.S. Marines sent to contain the outbreak at Harvardville airport are shown to be competent against hordes of zombies. Against the G-Virus infected Curtis, who is much faster and stronger than any T-Virus zombie, they're slaughtered easily.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Claire felt guilty when she believes that Terra Save's protest had interfered in WilPharma's research in developing a vaccine and suffers a mild Heroic BSoD until Leon consoles her, telling her that unlike him and her brother, Claire chooses to help people around her instead of continue fighting bio-terrorists.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: A surprisingly small one. The airport outbreak is small and easily contained, and while there's one when Claire is escaping the WilPharma facility, the rest of the movie focuses more on Leon and Angela escaping the mutated Curtis. It speaks to either the Monster Threat Expiration of the zombies or Claire's own badassedness that the zombies running around WilPharma are barely an afterthought for her even though she's already visibly injured and heads off on her own.