Capcom hasn’t had a good track record with their Resident Evil movies. The live action ones with Milla Jovovich were passable at first (the first two) but then quickly jumped the rails and went full on gonzo. When Capcom announced that they were rebooting the franchise with Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City I was ecstatic! I love the Resident Evil games and couldn’t wait for a movie that’s rumored to stick much closer to the games than the previous ones!
Then I saw images from the set and I got even more excited! It looked like a movie that really understood its source material!
That illusion held right up until I saw the first trailer for the movie. It’s a damn train wreck I thought to myself.
Still, I chose to ignore my inner voice and subject myself to the movie.
…I wish I hadn’t.
What is Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City?
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is a horror movie based off Capcom’s Resident Evil series. It’s written and directed by Johanes Roberts.
Here’s the rest of the cast (taken from IMDB) because honestly, I’m too damn lazy to list them all.
There are few notables names there, and DC TV fans will definitely find them familiar!
Donal Logue (who played Bullock in Gotham), Neal McDonough (Damien Darhk in the Arrowverse shows) and Robbie Amell (Firestorm in Legends of Tomorrow). There’s even a Marvel alumni in Hannah John-Kamen, who played Ghost in Ant-Man and the Wasp.
While the stars aren’t of the AAA variety, to say that they’re total unknowns is doing them a great injustice. The actors do deliver some decent performances (Donal Logue and Neal McDonough in particular) and tried to elevate the movie into not being crap. They’re clearly good actors,
That’s why it’s all the more perplexing they’d sign up to do a stinker like Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City.
Let me explain why the movie is an affront to fans of the series and the previous live action movies.
For starters, it mashes the plot of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2, into one movie.
Never mind that Resident Evil (the game) took place months before Resident Evil 2. That alone should give you an inkling of how vapid the plot is. It’s like somebody just took the scenes they loved from the games and then modified them (for the worse) in order to make a movie.
It’s infuriating to watch as a fan….especially when established characters don’t even look the part.
Jill Valentine is a person of color with frizzy hair. Wesker is a jock. Chief Irons isn’t a creepy taxidermist with a weird hard-on for the mayor’s daughter, he’s actually a somewhat decent guy. Barry Burton is…wait, where’s Barry? Gone that’s where. So’s most of the S.T.A.R.S. Bravo Team (Richard Aiken is weirdly in Alpha team) for that matter. Forget about Forest Speyer or Rebecca Chambers. The only other Bravo Team member to appear in the movie was Enrico Marini…and he’s morphed into a regular beat cop for some reason.
Whatever happened to trying to make a good (or at the very least, faithful) video game adaptation?
Why even bother calling the movie Resident Evil when you don’t even try to cast the actors to look like the characters they’re supposed to be? Leon Kennedy, the whitest guy in the Resident Evil series, is played by a person of color too…with a mustache! When did clean shaven Leon ever have a mustache?! Leon’s character’s a punk ass slacker too, only somewhat morphing into a badass (illogically) after almost being eaten by a zombie.
COME ON CAPCOM?! You people approved this shit? Dollar signs blinded you guys to the crap that the movie is?
Say what you will about the previous Resident Evil movies, but they at least tried to make the characters look like their game counterparts!
Wesker looked like Wesker, instead of a cutout from an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue. Jill Valentine even wore her blue tube top in Resident Evil Apocalypse! The only characters who remotely looked like their gaming versions were Claire, Leon (after he put on the vest) and Chris…and that’s if you squint real hard and pretended with all your might.
Don’t get me started on the plot.
In choosing to condense two different games into one 90 minute movie, integral plot points have been lost. What remains is like Frakenstein’s Monster; an unwieldy collection of parts and pieces. Like the characters, major Resident Evil story beats have been changed to the point of absurdity.
Annette Birkin, a key figure in Resident Evil 2, is reduced to just being scene filler. She’s not even a scientist any longer! William Birkin runs an orphanage where he experiments on kids…instead of being a super genius sequestered away in the underground lab (NEST) under Raccoon City. Incredulously, there’s even a connecting tunnel between Birkin’s orphanage with the Spencer Mansion, which is all the way up in the Arklay Mountains. That’s how they explain how everybody can neatly meet up for the ending.
I’d love to talk about the plot of the movie…except there isn’t any.
Characters just meet up with each other randomly (usually when somebody needs a last minute save) and then they all try to escape from Raccoon City. No nuances like the Umbrella Security Service being sent in to recover the G-Virus from William Birkin. Even Wesker’s betrayal is handled incompetently, with paper thin motivation and some throwaway lines like he’s in it for the money. I don’t want to even talk about how they butchered Lisa Trevor and made her into…whatever she was in the damn movie.
On the whole, the bestiary in the movie is damn disappointing. They had a Cerberus, some crows, a couple of lickers, G-Type William Birkin and a handful of zombies. No crimson heads. No hunters. No Yawn at the mansion. No Plant 42. No Chimeras. No giant spiders.
I went into the movie expecting it to suck and I still came out disappointed at the level of crap it is.
Raccoon City, which was a thriving metropolis controlled by Umbrella in the games, is a ghost town in the movie. In fact, calling it a town might be too generous. From a couple of shots from the movie that showed the whole city, it’s barely bigger than the Canberra HDB estate in Singapore. Incredibly, the biggest building is the Raccoon Police Department.
Forget about calling Raccoon City a city. The one in the movie should’ve been called Kampung Raccoon or Raccoonburg or something to reflect its diminutive size.
I do have to admit that certain locations do at least attempted to look like the gaming counterparts…and that’s when the movie really shines.
Of particular note was the entrance hall of the Spencer Mansion.
It’s looked like it’s been ripped right out of the Resident Evil remake. Unfortunately, the hallowed halls of the ‘abandoned’ mansion doesn’t follow the floorplan of the game’s mansion. I can live with that, at least. The other location of note is the R.P.D. building. While its exterior and most of its interior look nothing like the R.P.D. building in the games, the main hallway is at least, a great homage to the original.
There are also other cool easter eggs present that only RE fans will notice.
The movie recreates the Ashford Twins and the footage of them plucking the wings off the dragonfly from Code Veronica! The first zombie in the Spencer Mansion turns around just like the one in the game! The Umbrella goons at the checkpoint look like they’re from the Umbrella Security Service! Cool touches and I love them!
It’s really ironic that the best parts of the movie are when it sticks closely to the game…something that the movie claimed to be doing in the first place. There’s are a couple of other standout scenes in the movie that I love too; Chris’ desperate struggle in the dark (illuminated only by the flash from his pistol muzzle every time he shoots) is genius. It’s suspenseful and quite a harrowing experience. If only the rest of the movie was like that.
Sadly, the other parts of the movie are filled with cheap jump scares. Instead of building genuine tension and horror though great storytelling and usage of the environments, the movie attempts to get your heart racing by shocking it into submission. Jump scares are effective if used sparingly, but in the movie, it seems like there’s one every few minutes.
Couple that with the loud grating soundtrack and I got seriously annoyed with the movie about a quarter of the way in. Yeah, the original Resident Evil movies were loud and mindless too but at least they didn’t try to make me deaf through jump scares!
The Bottom Line.
Avoid. AVOID. AVOID! I can’t stress this enough. For your sanity, do NOT watch the movie.
Even if you’re the biggest and most hardcore Resident Evil fan in the world, the movie will let you down in ways you’ll never have thought possible. It is hands down, the worst movie I’ve seen this year and quite possibly…ever. It is that damn bad.
From the characters, to the plot to the constant jump scares to the repetitive music…it’s like a committee got together to create an abomination.
The only saving grace are some of the locations and easter eggs…but they’re nowhere near enough to willingly subject yourself to watch the movie. Just wait, years from now, this will be used as an instrument of torture and banned under International law.
Don’t bother watching. Go rewatch the original live action movies instead.
- Cool easter eggs.
- Some locations look like their game counterparts.
- Constant jump scares.
- Repetitive music.
- Characters look nothing like their game versions.
- Paper thin plot.
- Not enough gore.