This is a spoiler-free review for Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, which debuts in cinemas on November 24.
When Sony announced it was re-releasing the live-action Resident Evil movie series, I was cautiously optimistic, curious to see how director Johannes Roberts sticks to the source material after the promising first trailer. Unfortunately, Welcome to Raccoon City is disappointing as a horror movie; In fact, it felt more like comedy at times than something that would have me on the edge of my seat. It does have some interesting ideas, but between the cliched writing whose finely-drawn characters don’t do much justice and a fast-paced third act, it would be hard to rewatch this as a fan of the series.
Resident Evil: Welcome to a Raccoon City plot adapting the stories of the first two Resident Evil games with one part of the story focusing on Chris Redfield (Ruby Amell), Jill Valentine (Hannah John Kamen) and Albert Wesker (Tom Hooper) as they explore the Spencer Mansion, while the story focuses The other is on Leon Kennedy (Avan Jogia) and Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario) as the duo search for a way out of Raccoon City before the city explodes. The cast is not an issue, with solid performances from mostly every fitting of their fictional counterparts. Plus, the post-credits scene definitely teases that we’ll see more than one specific character in the event of a green-lit sequel.
Despite the good performance from Jogia, there is a somewhat annoying issue with the way Leon is written here. His background has been changed a bit, and he’s still considered a “junior force member” as he was in Resident Evil 2 (he was only a cop for a day in that game). However, most scenes with Leon made him either very inept or bear the brunt of the joke, which can get frustrating and frustrating, especially if you’re a fan of Leon Kennedy. I can appreciate the script tending to be inexperienced, but the gag quickly got tired, especially since we’re expecting a darker and scarier movie than this.
Live versions of video game characters
However, what worried me most upon entering the film was the fact that it was cutting the plots of two video games together, and the relatively meager runtime of 107 minutes makes the entire product feel too rushed once the third act approaches. Having said that, I wasn’t expecting the first two games to repeat intermittently, and why should that happen? You can watch the super youtube clips of all the scenes for that. While the entire movie is frustrating and confused about how much they tried to pack, it’s worth giving Roberts credit for wanting to try and make a movie with closer ties to gaming than any of Paul W.S. Anderson’s films. However, it might have been a more realistic goal to focus, for example, on just one of the games’ story rather than trying to figure out how many major plot points they can push in a short time.
Meanwhile, the main venue – the honorary Raccoon City – is suitably interesting. In the first chapter, Roberts establishes Raccoon City as a declining city in economic ruin after Umbrella, the powerful and highly influential company known for developing pharmaceuticals and weapons left with few employees. The atmosphere and many of the scenes focusing on the city itself really help to get a fresher look at this fictional location, and it was good to see more about it, as it leaves a lot to your own interpretation.
We see in some cases the impact of Umbrella not only on the city but on the residents. The walls of the Raccoon City orphanage, for example, are littered with propaganda posters, and the Raccoon City Police Department has been stripped of a skeletal staff due to budget cuts. These are subtle but clever ways of setting the tone, and one more thing, I would have liked to see more of, is the confirmation that the Umbrella Double-Edged Sword was for this city before its inevitable destruction.
As far as the main attraction, there are quite a few zombies (and other infected that gamers will recognize) on screen, but don’t expect a lot of high-action scenes that kill the zombies. There’s one in particular that feels fun and stressful, but if you’re here for the constant barrage of zombie fighting action, you’ll be disappointed.
It’s fun to catch some enemies from the game’s first appearance, including Lisa Trevor, the injured superhero who appeared in the 2002 remake of Resident Evil. While she is still a tragic character who has been negatively affected by Umbrella’s inhuman experiences, her screen time is disappointingly short, so much so that if she were removed from the film entirely, it wouldn’t have had much of an impact on the story as a whole.
Until the second act, when infection begins to take over the city, there is a sudden lack of action. We see zombies break through the gate at the police station, but it’s disingenuous not to take a long look at them while they are running in this chaotic city. Sure, Resident Evil 2’s main focus was mostly contained to the police station and a few other areas, but it seemed like a missed opportunity to really brag about the extent of the damage to the city.