Thursday, January 5, 2012

Leon Scott Kennedy (Resident Evil)

For those who have played the Resident Evil games, you will undoubtedly know and probably be in awe of a character called Leon S. Kennedy. There are a few others in this series, such as Claire and Chris Redfield, Sheva, Aida, etc., but I think anyone can agree that Leon probably has some hard core PTSD. Plus he was in the movie, so that just makes it better. This character I could probably write a whole novel on just analyzing the small details of his personality and the crazy stuff that made him into what he is. That said, I've only seen pieces of the first game, a good portion of RS4, and the Degeneration movie, so I'm going to do the best I can based on the info that I have.

What makes Leon interesting, besides his dashing good looks and calm demeanor are his badass moves. His entrance into Raccoon city was his first day reporting to the Raccoon City Police Department. By then the madness was already in full swing. So, we have a newbie police officer that walks in during a zombie invasion... ironically the only police officer to survive. So what about his badass moves then?

His style of fighting often mimics that of professional wrestlers and Special Ops--not usually seen among the police force. Wrestling moves (such as plunging someone head-first and backwards, or as I've been informed "belly-to-belly suplex") would suggest that he was taught in some advanced forms of JuDo. Round-house kicks are often indications of Karate or TaeKwonDo. It's possible that he was at least a mid-range to black belt level martial artist, taught in a school that merges Judo and TaeKwonDo, or JuDo and Karate. Another thought would be that he is a former special ops (Navy Seal) or marine. His ability to shoot at rapid speed and adjust to situations on the fly would indicate military training or advanced martial arts instruction. His adaption to multiple forms of weaponry on the fly indicates quick thinking and extensive training. Then there's Leon's knife... Standard cops aren't known to carry knives like Leon's. His habit to carry one is probably a habit passed on from being somewhere where he needed one constantly. His instant recognition of Chris's knife would also suggest that he either was or knew someone who was in the Special Forces. Definitely a suggestion of ex-military.

So then there's his interaction with people. He doesn't talk more than he needs to, but he still can crack jokes in the beginning. There was once a time when zombies tried to get at Claire in the beginning of the first game and Leon said "They have the hots for you, huh?" Clearly, Leon had the training to deal with war zones, but may have never been shipped out of the U.S. It's also possible that he was properly treated for PTSD after returning home, and so retained much of his former personality. Still, the first option, or something equal to its safety it probably the correct answer, seeing as how he seems to have avoided serious injury.

There's also the fact that he joined the police force. Normally a military man might try to stay away from something that would throw him into the fighting. It's possible that, since Leon was never shipped anywhere, perhaps he still yearns for a taste of justice or heroism to put his skills to the better use of protecting people, which would also suggest a starting reason for why he so rarely gets angry at the people around him.

But then we look at Raccoon City. We know that the insanity of Raccoon city involved mass zombies, the G-virus, zombie dogs and birds, a massive creature known as a B.O.W., and the constant danger from a strike force and agent commissioned by Umbrella Corp itself. Leon survived a gunshot wound and the hells of Raccoon City itself. At the end, he wasn't allowed to leave the matter either. He was coaxed harshly into becoming an agent, and so took on the roll of fighter against the T-virus (a.k.a Zombieland). He thought he had lost Aida here. This is about when he probably started therapy.

So then, he appears in RS4 as an agent, being sent in to retrieve the President's daughter (I'm guessing of the new corporation) from being kidnapped in Spain. Naturally, zombies here are alive and well too. After quite some time of fighting them, being injected with a T-virus egg, and having to fight some other nasty, not so wholesome creatures, he passes out completely. With the knowledge that he's on the verge of being infected, he finally finds Ashley. Not long after, they learn that she's been injected w/ the same thing as him. Talk about him having some horrible days. He loses connection w/ his operator Hunnigan, and gets trapped in a castle filled with cult zombies... all of whom seem to have had their intelligence bumped up a notch. Did I mention there were more monsters? So yeah, if things couldn't get any worse, Ashley starts to feel the effects. Here, Leon becomes concerned. Could be that as her protector, he feels like a temporary guardian, which might also be part of the reason why when it's all over and she asks him about wanting to have intercourse, he refuses--that, and he's not an idiot. Ashley runs away from him when he tries to check on her and falls into a trap, getting temporarily taken away from Leon. Frustration, despair and fatigue start to really kick in. At this point, Leon has taken on a lot of damage, occasionally receiving help from health packs and sprays and his seemly only friend in the whole game... the merchant. He's been running, kicking, jumping, swinging, fighting, and bleeding for two full days, he's lost Ashley, he's stuck in a castle full of psychos, zombies, and monsters, he's lost contact with his only lifeline, and he's already started to feel the effects of the egg. Any normal, real person would've been dead long before now, but not Leon. For the sake of gaming, Leon has been ever blessed with a complete duality, never ending luck, coupled with complete misfortune. He's the one guy there when everything goes to hell, and yet he lives. Somehow through it all, he finds Ashley, managed to get both of them cured, and makes it back home to live another day. Leon Kennedy, the truly invincible man.

But his life as an agent continues. In the movie, he shows up again. Here's where the toll of truly nightmarish situations appear to have finally started to really take their toll. He talks very little, and gets frustrated much more quickly. He welcomes being someone of authority, mastering detachment. Here, unlike the games, you get to finally see how much his personality has been affected by his experiences, and how his actions reflect them. He only takes in two people, a smart idea on his part to reduce the number of infected. His recognition of Claire brings back memories, immediately bringing out part of his former, more gentle personality. He attempts to remain detached from the new people he meets, but isn't immune to having feelings. His trust for Claire is completely realized as he throws his gun to her to fight off her own set of zombies, just as he's being pinned by one himself. He follows, but doesn't talk much. He's contradictory, offering to help someone one minute, and insisting on rescuing someone else the next. He places the appropriate action to the immediate predicament, and yet his rough exterior is much more transparent when he's alone. A shake of the head in an elevator or a cut off signal. He's urged to help people, even when he knows the dangers involved. He has more time to think in the movie, so he slowly falls for the SRT woman. His tendency for disappointment spurs him to remain silent about his attachments and feelings.

And then there's Resident Evil 6.  From what we've seen of this game, Leon has become much older and more tense than he has been previously.  This makes perfect sense in the beginning, because if you recall... he assignment at the start of RE4 was to protect the president's family.  In RE6, the president is infected and turns into a full blown zombie (from what we can gather).  Leon has to make the difficult and probably heart breaking choice to end the life of a dear friend.  There's also a small possibility that something has happened to Ashley as well.  It's also extremely likely that RE6 takes place after the second movie where he is shipped off to a European war zone rampant with monsters of all kinds.  It would account for his new, less than calm take on the world.  But among all Leon's high strung moments in RE6, there comes a point where he has a confrontation with Chris about Aida.  Aida apparently is a major factor causing the new virus to spread and mutate... or at least it appears that way.  Chris wants to treat her like he treats Wesker and get rid of her for the betterment of the world and his conscience, but Leon steps in to defend her.  Here there's a huge question of why.  We have to remember that Aida has been a weird mix of semi-neutral, semi-evil, semi-good throughout all the series of RE.  She has her own agenda, but then goes out of her way to save Leon.  Perhaps she feels sorry for him because of his predicament.  Perhaps she identifies with being alone in such horrible places.  Maybe she feels she still owes him for taking a bullet for her.  Or maybe she secretly has feelings for him.  Either way, Leon believes that nothing with Aida is quite as cut and dry as it appears.  In RE6, he called Aida a "key witness" while Chris calls her an instigator.  Likely, the amount of times that Leon has been saved by Aida has built up a trust for her that cannot be easily broken.

So, all in all, Leon is probably an ex-military type, probably special forces once, who was never actually shipped out to deal with battle. He joined the military to satisfy his sense for justice, but was disappointed. When he joined the police, it was to finally gain that satisfaction. Instead, he found more than he bargained for, and constantly gets his heart and body broken in some form or extreme fashion. His feelings for the women in his life often surface when he has a quiet moment to think, amongst all the chaos. His feelings for Claire and Aida though probably remain deeply rooted and unsure, masked by the constant distractions of the viruses, monsters, and other women vying for his attention. On a side note, it is possible though that if he were to ever realize his feelings for either of them, he may not ever be able to detach himself from them ever again just because of how much he has in common with them. Yet the deep loneliness and fear that he feels when he's plunged into these situations alone, makes him yearn for someone, anyone to make an attachment to.

Leon has very deep emotions, but his whole life is rooted in disappointment, so he attempts to shield himself from the world's insanity by convincing himself that he can't become too close. He fears being with anyone in his line of work, because he thinks he may lose her. He's been so desensitized to the insanity of the world that zombie invasions are just another day on the job. His intelligence can be considered very high though, because he has an amazing ability to improvise, staying alive and relatively calm. As a whole, he could be considered one hell of a man...


2 comments:

  1. wow..and wow. I was looking up information for my Resident evil Fanfiction when I came across your analysis. I am impressed. I was trying to understand the character Leon s Kennedy, but I couldn't find the words. Thank you so much for this and if you don't mind I would like you to look over my story.

    http://www.fanfiction.net/~madamenoize

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  2. You forgot about the second movie. That bares some analysis

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