It's no secret video game film adaptions are rarely successful. It wasn't until 2019 with 'Pokémon Detective Pikachu', which became not only the first not to have a rotten critics' score on Rotten Tomatoes, but is also currently the highest-grossing video game film, banking US$433 million globally at the box office. Yet even in the darkest of times for video game adaptions, there was always one franchise that brought in the dough - 'Resident Evil' and its six sequels, which grossed over US$1 billion. Now, we return to Raccoon City in a reboot that sticks closer to the game's roots.
In 'Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City', Claire (Kaya Scodelario, 'Crawl', 'The Maze Runner') has returned to the town where her brother, Chris (Robbie Amell, 'The DUFF', 'The Babysitter'), has stayed and become a member of the STARS Alpha Team. Her return comes as the Umbrella Corporation, a pharmaceutical company that has infected the town and is planning to blow up the city as the townspeople have transformed into bloody, hungry, mindless creatures. They team up with Jill (Hannah John-Kamen, 'Ready Player One', 'Ant-Man and the Wasp'), Albert (Tom Hopper, TV's 'The Umbrella Academy', 'The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard') and Leon (Avan Jogia, TV's 'Victorious', 'Zombieland: Double Tap'), not only to save the town but expose Umbrella's secret experimenting.
'RESIDENT EVIL: WELCOME TO RACCOON CITY' TRAILER
The film is a complete reboot from the Milla Jovovich series, and instead of having all new characters and story, this film is an adaption of the first two 'Resident Evil' games. The film is clearly for fans; my brother - who has played all the games countless times - loved all the callbacks. As someone who has an extremely limited knowledge of the games, the film was fine. You can tell when it winks to the games, but as a whole - and this serves for both fans and non-fans - the film is extremely forgettable. While the references are fun in the moment, there isn't much more to go back to once you've seen it. It's a serviceable horror adaption that doesn't completely butcher the game it's based on, but does very little to evoke an engaging film.
You can tell when it winks to the games, but as a whole - and this serves for both fans and non-fans - the film is extremely forgettable. While the references are fun in the moment, there isn't much more to go back to once you've seen it.
The editing, at times, is completely wild. Every time we cut back to the villain of the film with his family, it felt like a flashback of Claire as his daughter looks very similar to the young Claire, making it very confusing. Some of the action is also very disjointed, with filming starting in October 2020 - and you can tell; there is a lot of empty space and distance between actors that feels very COVID-safe.
'Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City' isn't going to win you over if you know nothing about the games. If you're just a fan of horror films it will disappoint you even more, as the film lacks both scares and gore. As it stands in the line-up of failed video game films it sits right in the middle - fans might get a kick out of a reference here and there, but it's a pretty forgettable watch.