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Recap / Death Battle S 05 E 06 Leon Kennedy Vs Frank West

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Surviving the undead apocalypse takes grit, perseverance, and an army's worth of firepower. With all that— and some luck— these two became experts in zombie fighting.

Leon Kennedy, the top cop and government agent in Resident Evil. And Frank West, the black-haired wrestling MacGyver of Dead Rising.

The sixth episode of the fifth season sees two Capcom creations, seasoned slayers of the undead, being pit against one another. The hosts will gauge years of frontline experience against adaptability and improvisation, military training against an limitless arsenal, for Leon Kennedy and Frank West may both be talents in their craft, but only one can prove their worth and superior merit in a death battle.

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Kicking off the episode, Wiz and Boomstick look at the life behind Leon Scott Kennedy, whose foray into horror would begin with carrying on his father's legacy and becoming a police officer. For his first day on the job, Leon was dispatched the American midwest, wherein lay the troubled town of Raccoon City, and a series of cannibal murders with it. The truth, however, runs far deeper; the malevolent Umbrella Corporation, then disguised as a pharmaceutical company, ran immoral biological experiments, with the centerpiece of their machinations being a modified strain of ebola christened the t-virus. The t-virus turned its creators into zombies that were soon let loose upon Raccoon City. An outbreak followed in their wake, consuming the town and resisting efforts by the U.S. army; it is here that Leon infiltrated the city and ensured both the safety of the few survivors trapped within and the city's destruction. Word soon spread of Leon's exploits in Raccoon City and the government Strategic Command recruited him as a black ops agent. With further training in weapons and tactics, Leon became a hardened soldier, servicing the affairs of the government from presidential detail to handling further confrontations with Umbrella and their living biological weapons.

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The training provided in his tenure working for STRATCOM has served Leon many times over. The man himself is no slouch as a physical specimen, being strong enough to hold tons of force and survived a fight against fellow Resident Evil hero Chris Redfield, who himself is able to singlehandedly push boulders on his own. This kind of power is put to good use in his go-to specialty in hand-to-hand combat, the Russian martial art systema; a fighting style that specializes in disabling foes via pressure points and joint locks. Conveniently for Leon, systema works excellently when used in tandem with small handheld weapons, such as knives and handguns. In conjunction with this, Leon is adept with multiple firearms; of note being the Silver Ghost, a personalized handgun, though heavier firepower, ranging from shotguns to high-yield grenade launchers he has proven a similar level of competence with. Despite his proficiency with firearms, however, it is the simple bowie knife that stands out as his trademark, combining knifeplay with systema to create an unparalleled fighting style that even enables him to throw knives up to 80 mph.

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It is little wonder that Leon has survived for so long in a world constantly threatened by Umbrella and their experiments. He can survive blows from Umbrella's various bio-organic weapons, or B.O.W.s, as well as their superpowered operatives of the human sort, proving his durability is no fluke. Leon likewise has impressive feats of agility to his name; dodging bullets and moving laser grids, and even outrunning the colossal T-103 tyrant, canonically stated to move at speeds up to 43 mph. Leon is a fine example of human physicality, but that, sadly, is his primary field of expertise. The former cop is also highly gullible, prone to being tricked, and he has also become more mentally unstable after years of fighting nightmarish horrors. These flaws may exist and serve as recurring threats to Leon, but they have done little to stop him over his long and storied history.

Leon Kennedy: Better try a new trick, 'cause that one's getting old. (tosses a knife skyward, where it cleanly severs a rope)

From Leon Kennedy, the hosts move on to Frank West, a former pro wrestler and freelance journalist with several years of investigate reporting under his belt. Upon hearing word of the first known zombie outbreak in United States history, Frank traveled to an abandoned mall in Willamette, Colorado, the outbreak's ground zero, in the hopes of finding his career-defining story amidst the carnage. Along with a few of the survivors trapped within the mall, Frank escaped the Willamette mall and become something of a celebrity. The photographer found himself at the center of several endorsement deals and even his own television show for a time, but with news of government cover-ups hiding the existence of other zombie wasps responsible for the Willamette outbreak, Frank gave up his celebrity status to return to his old life as an investigator. He would then aid motocross athlete Chuck Green in his woes with the undead and finally become a college professor, albeit one who finds the zombies returning to plague him once again.

Despite the fact that Frank has covered wars, he has little experience with combat proper. This does little to slow him down, he has a large amount of firearm at his disposals, running the gamut from pistols to machine guns to rifles and even miniguns. However, standard issue arms can only last so long against an infinite horde of the undead; thus, while trapped in the mall, Frank was forced to get creative with his methods of fighting the zombies. Improvised weapons have since become Frank's calling card; sledgehammers, chainsaws, cosmetics, lawnmowers, mailboxes, novelty masks, pet food, anything can be a viable instrument of murder, even his trusty Nikon camera serves as an improvised flashbang in his hands. As if not satisfied with using a such diverse array of objects, Frank can be surprisingly inventive, using nails and duct tape to jury rig more complex weapons. There are literally dozens of of potential combination weapons that Frank can concoct, but for the sake of expediency, only a few are highlights; such as chainsaws attached to a kayak paddle, a sledgehammer with a car battery for a head, and even an exosuit hooked up to snow cone makers that can produce cryonic tornados. Vehicles, likewise, can be subjected to Frank's creativity, having firearms and other improvised weapons strapped to them for even more destruction. Topping this seemingly infinite wellspring of ideas Frank regularly taps into, he can access arcade machines to adopt the identities and powers of other Capcom heroes.

Though he may not have any formal combat training, Frank is a survivor and an adaptor. His first outing to Willamette saw him survive the zombie horde for three days straight, and he has the muscle to dismember the undead with his bare hands as well as the speed to catch up with moving trains in a matter of seconds. 72-hour limits have become something of a mainstay for Frank, who fights off zombies and even fully-human lunatics without any rest in between. From his thirties all the way to his fifties, Frank has proven time and again that the mindless zombies that are a constant threat in his life pose no threat to him.

Frank West: (in front of a green screen for a camera commercial) Snag your very own, disposable digi-cheap disposable camera! It's fannnntastic! (flashes a grin and thumbs up before the green screen stops; Frank looks offscreen to the side) I mean it. Seriously. I need a raise.

The two combatants have been studied inside and out, and the building tension is about to come to a head. One advertisement for the Blue Apron cooking service later, and now, it's time for a death battle!

A boombox resting by the sidewalk of an abandoned city relays a desperate news update; the metropolis has been overwhelmed by zombies, yet looters are still present, venturing across the forsaken streets. One such bandit, the veteran reporter Frank West, finds a hearty stash of miscellanea inside a nearby hardware store, giddily tossing the ill-gotten goods onto his shopping cart. Only with another voice questioning him does Frank realize he's been caught, by none other than STRATCOM operative Leon Kennedy. When the survivor of Raccoon City orders Frank off the premises, the journalist scoffs at the warning, intent of keeping himself and his bounty in the city limits.

FIGHT!

The fight immediately kicks in, Frank hurling a lava lamp at Leon; Umbrella's menace shoots the lamp to pieces, yet fails to spot Frank plowing into him with the cart. In the ensuing collision, the Silver Ghost flies out Leon's grasp, leaving him disarmed and caught by surprise when Frank vaults over the cart. As he touches down, the hero of Willamette snags a baseball bat from the cat, clobbering Leon in the head with it. Any further swipes, however, Leon nimbly evades, before unsheathing his bowie knife and delivering an upward slash, reducing the improvised cudgel to a flimsy stick. Frank tosses the handle at Leon, stunning him along enough to follow with a flash of his Nikon to disorient the commando further. The fight remains in Frank's favor, judo tossing Leon over his shoulder and kicking him out and right into the path of a number of arcade machines lined up neatly against the wall.

As Leon regains a steady footing, a hideous growling attracts his attention; nearby, a veritable legion of zombies are clawing at the chain link fence that separates them from him. Their combined numbers are enough to bust the fence down as Frank arrives, cart in tow. As the zombies continue shambling towards the two humans, Frank begins rummaging through the cart for items; Leon, meanwhile, is now brandishing a MAC-11, unleashing gunfire on the undead throng. More zombies close in on Frank, but a flash of lightning atomizes them at the last second, the reporter triumphantly wielding a sledgehammer with a car battery strapped atop it. The zombies' numbers lessened, Leon returns his focus to his original foe, but barely dodges the electric crusher thrusted at him. The next few seconds become a maelstrom of action, Frank kicking a shotgun out Leon's grasp and Leon pummeling Frank in turn. As the zombies return, those skilled in slaying them find their attention split between avoiding the blows of each other and slaughtering the living cadavers further. The Remington falls back into Leon's hands, but Frank rolls around the gunfire and lunges at the ex-cop with a fierce swing; this, too, Leon leaps away from. Leon turns back to his knife, his skill in systema helping him keep pace with Frank even while the pair clear the battlefield with buckshot and lightning.

While a third wave soon approaches, Frank refuses still to back down. Leon responds to this act of defiance by shooting the electric crusher from the reporter's grip, forcing the hero of Willamette to escape by surfing atop his cart. Frank takes a katana tied to a kama sickle and hurls the scythe at Leon. The improvised weapon is cut in half, but it provides a convenient distraction for Frank to use as an escape, landing by another arcade machine. Upon its activation, Frank finds himself clad in the blue armor of the maverick hunter, Mega Man X. The Raccoon City veteran looks upon his foe unimpressed, lobbing a grenade his way; courtesy of the Mega Buster his right arm now rests within, a charged shot blows more excess zombies to oblivion, its path heading uninterrupted towards Leon. Leon, eyeing another undead skulking behind him, takes the zombie and tosses it into the shot, whereupon it burst into viscera. A second grenade is something Frank is caught unprepared by, but he manages to deal with it by kicking a rogue zombie away and using its Servbot hood to muffle the impending detonation; the blast, luckily for the journalist, proves to be nonfatal, merely launching him into the mall behind him.

On Leon's end, the explosion knocks him away, but he soon recovers, warily heading towards the shattered glass. His approach is halted by an icicle that embeds itself into a fence. From the mall's entrance, Frank leaps out, now donning an impromptu suit made of Slurpee machines. Leon outraces the ensuing barrage of frozen death, his gaze transfixed upon a motorcycle parked beside a brick wall, but more importantly, the rocket launcher resting next to the cycle. As Leon picks up the launcher, Frank sics a blistering tornado upon him; the specials ops commando can only stare in shock before being sucked in the vortex. In the eye of the storm, Leon witnesses several zombies being frozen solid, his own shins being encased in ice afterward; fortune smiles upon him, then, when he can grab a corpse and use it as a springboard to vault from out the tornado. The ice coating his legs is shattered as Leon aims the rocket launcher's crimson warhead at Frank. The payload barrels towards the reporter, who only has begrudging resignation to offer in the wake of his impending demise, which comes to pass seconds later in a tremendous explosion. Leon, meanwhile, is none the worse for wear, touching down upon the street and scoffing at his fallen foe as the winds die down with their master.

K.O.!

While Frank's zombified head rests on the asphalt pulsating slightly, Leon's knife lands firmly in the temple, ceasing its life permanently; Leon, meanwhile, makes a call beside the motorcycle, barely avoids a bullet from an unknown third party. Frank's virtually infinite creativity and unique strategies served him well in the match, but Leon's more pragmatic advantages in the fields of physicality where what made him Frank's better. While Frank could knock around cars while armed with the exosuit, Leon can hold open the jaws of a shark without any augmentation, matching Frank's strength feats, and has surpassed them by pushing a nine ton boulder with aid. Between the assortment of feats Leon has performed, including knife throwing and laser dodging, he would be too quick for Frank to keep pace with. Once again, Frank's ingenuity would serve as a thorn in Leon's side, but the fact remains that the B.O.W.s have come in all manner of sizes and powers, giving the STRATCOM agent more experience and his own share of creativity to counter Frank with. Both men have slain countless figures, living and undead alike, but Leon had too many advantages where it mattered.

Boomstick: [Leon] was Frank-ly on his game.
Wiz: The winner is Leon Kennedy!

Next time on Death Battle...


Leon Kennedy vs. Frank West contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Boomstick is quite envious of the Desert Eagle that Leon's father gifted him, saying the only gift his own father gave him was a sore cheek.
  • Badass Boast: A pair of succinct ones that the two combatants throw at each other.
    Leon: Give it up man, you can't keep up with me!
    Frank: Wanna bet? I've covered wars, y'know!
    Leon: That's nice, bud. I've fought in them.
  • Bag of Holding: Surprisingly averted. While Frank and Leon are both Walking Arsenals, neither are ever depicted as pulling anything unreasonable out of their belt. Instead, all of their larger items, like Frank's Electric Crusher and Leon's Rocket Launcher Special, are shown to be stored in a reasonable place (Frank's shopping cart and Leon's motorcycle, respectively).
  • Clothes Make the Superman: It's noted that Frank has a wide selection of costumes to choose from, all based off fellow Capcom characters, that give him the powers of the corresponding character. He dons the armor of Mega Man X to fire off a Mega Buster shot at Leon during the fight.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The zombies don't even put up much of a fight against either combatant, and are killed with ease en masse.
  • Flipping the Bird: Done by Frank in the photo he snaps of Leon, adorned with the caption "F**k you. Love, Frank."
  • Gun Nut: Boomstick, being an example himself, provides several detailed explanations regarding the capabilities of Leon's arsenal, his rocket launcher in particular.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Boomstick describes Leon's skill with his knife as "magic". In battle, he uses it to cut apart Frank's scythe-katana Reaper after the latter threw it at him - in mid-air.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Part way through the battle, a zombie horde breaks through a gate and results in the battle turning into Leon vs. Frank vs. a horde of zombies.
  • Mythology Gag: Leon's boast about having actually fought in wars in comparison to Frank saying that he's covered them is nearly similar to a line Captain America tells the latter in the Marvel vs. Capcom games.
  • Reality Ensues: The fight essentially boils down to a well-trained government agent against a guy who wasn't formally trained but learned to use improvised weapons. In the end, the combatant with more actual training and experience wins.
  • Recursive Canon: Frank briefly scrolls through Capcom costumes from an arcade machine, and one of the costumes that can be seen is the very man he's fighting against.
  • Seen It All: A major advantage on Leon's part; he's fought against such a large variety of B.O.W.s with so many weird abilities that hardly any wacky strategy Frank busts out fazes him. The only thing that Leon even reacts to is the ice tornado from Frank's Exo-Suit, and even then Leon still finds a way around it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Boomstick's very impressed by Frank's machine gun-equipped wheelchair, citing that even the wheelchair of the portrayal of Stephen Hawking from The Simpsons pales in comparison.
    • After the above, it's mentioned that Leon can restore his stamina by using herbal powder, followed by a mistaken comparison to Rick Sanchez snorting kalaxian crystals.
    • When Boomstick mentions Leon's relationship with boulders, Wiz is briefly confused. Boomstick clarifies it with an impressive feat of Stasis involving such a rock.
    • Between the cryonic suit, constant ice puns, and his brief impression of a teuton accent, Frank is clearly having fun impersonating Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze from Batman & Robin.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: On one side, we have a no-nonsense trained government agent with standard firepower, on the other, we have a journalist with a weird and wacky yet dangerous arsenal. The serious combatant wins this round, thanks to his experience allowing him to keep up with the other's crazy weaponry.
  • Spiritual Successor: The fight animation's premise is very similar to the Jill Valentine vs Lara Croft DBX, which also has a Resident Evil protagonist being pitted against another fighter in the midst of a zombie outbreak.
  • Technician vs. Performer: The two combatants have this kind of dynamic between them. Leon the technician, is a veteran cop turned government agent with a wide array of conventional firepower, versus Frank the performer, a journalist with little professional training but enough ingenuity to turn anything he can get his hands on into one of several improvised weapons. The technician is the winner this time, thanks to Leon's greater experience.
  • Walking Armory: Our two combatants proudly carry on this tradition from the previous episode; having large amounts of weapons to do battle with from all manner of ranges.
  • What Could Have Been: Word of God was that this fight was meant to be 3D-animated, but the sheer amount of weapons both sides had in addition to Torrian being tasked with animating Crash vs. Spyro (two episodes before this) and Ryu vs. Jin (two episodes after) meant that there was little time for him to push through with it.

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