Resident Evil Review: Welcome to Raccoon City – Good reboot but bad movie?

Remember, 20 years ago, the first Resident Evil movie came out directed by Paul WS Anderson and would be followed by no less than five sequels over the years. This first saga, so far removed from the original work, had left such a bitter taste in the mouths of fans that it had almost become the symbol of poor adaptations of games in the cinema. Today, Capcom’s famous horror game returns to theaters with an ambitious reboot, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. Directed by Johannes Roberts, the film aims to reconcile video game fans with film adaptations by offering a new saga, centered on the world of the game, but has the director’s bet succeeded?

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A scenario faithful to the games?

Since Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City has set itself the goal of combine the first two games into one movie, we expected a draft scenario, which would go in all directions to tell as much as possible in a minimum of time (barely 1:47 of film). Finally, it is clear that the film remains fairly faithful to the original material, at least in general terms … For those who ignore it (or who have forgotten it), we are in 1998, in the small town of Raccoon City, a lost corner of deep America, which has been declining since ‘Umbrella Corporation (pharmaceutical industry giant) has left the region. Problem, the inhabitants seem to suffer from a strange disease since the departure of the large conglomerate. One night, when an alarm announces the total confinement of the village, a small group of survivors with various objectives will have to do what they can to survive a hellish night where they will gradually discover the dark secrets of Umbrella … During this famous night of horror, the film will make us follow two stories in parallel:

  • Claire Redfield & Leon S. Kennedy stuck in the Raccoon City police station while the ugly undead want to chew on them.
  • Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine & Albert Wesker digging through the Spencer Mansion in search of the secrets of Umbrella Corp.

Is the scenario a little too nanardesque for your tastes? So much the better, it is exactly in this vein that the first two video games in the series from Capcom (at least in appearance) fit. Thereby, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City proves true to video games, but is it enough?

The film remains fairly faithful to the script of the first games – Credit (s): IGN

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Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is it scary?

If the scenario of the first Resident Evil games is extremely agreed, we must not forget that it is above all the horrific atmosphere that made these games (then this saga) one of the most iconic there is. Gold Is Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City Scary? Not at all ! And this is where the problems begin … For 107 minutes, the director will do his best to demonstrate to us how much he does not know how to scare us, alternating between bad camera angles, rushed zooms and predictable screamers that won’t really get us out of our seat once. But if the film isn’t scary, the more optimistic will rely on the franchise’s bestiary to catch up, right? ..

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City fails to startle us
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City fails to startle us – Credit (s): Metropolitan

Resident Evil’s Monster Problem: Welcome to Raccoon City

So okay, we’re not going to see a Resident Evil movie for its deep storyline, and after the disaster that the previous movies were, we’re almost ready to accept not to be afraid. But then we can at least count on a bestiary teeming with disgusting undead and creepy zombie dogs, right? No. As much to tell you right away, the make-up of the “zombies” is not an illusion for a second, to the point of wondering if you are watching a big budget movie (40 million dollars anyway) or a Kickstarter project … Only the Licker manages to do well as long as it is still, then it starts to move and the digital effects are revealed just as awkward as the makeup.

A bestiary far from being at the expected level
A bestiary far from being at the expected level – Credit (s): IGN

What du casting?

Overall, the cast of Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City looks pretty good. Chris Redfield is the archetype of the bodybuilder hero of the years 1990-2000, Jill Valentine is a hothead, Albert Wesker does not hide his double game and Claire Redfield … wears a red jacket. On the other hand, fans of Leon S. Kennedy risk having a bad quarter of an hour as the character has gone from a young confused police officer to a complete useless and outdated moron. On the other hand, good casting or not, if some actors manage to pull off the game, like Neal McDonough (William Birkin), it is only to remind us how the dialogues are hollow and are content to present us the CV of each character without ever really creating a stake.

We liked:

  • A scenario close to the Resident Evil games

  • Mila Jovovitch is not present

  • A rather successful casting

We didn’t like:

  • Don’t scare

  • Leon S. Kennedy is ridiculous

  • Special effects worthy of a Kickstarter

If the goal of Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City was to be more faithful to video games than the Paul WS Anderson saga was, then the film is a success (but was it that hard?) . However, when fans were waiting for a Resident Evil movie that was closer to Capcom’s original work it didn’t just apply to the script. A good adaptation of RE for the cinema must indeed respect the writing of the games, but must also transcribe the horrific atmosphere of the titles and highlight its characteristic bestiary. Unfortunately, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City only manages to tick (at best) one of those three boxes. You will understand, with this reboot more dead than alive, the great return of Resident Evil in dark rooms is not for now …

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