It's movies like this that add to the stereotype that you can't make good video game movies. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is a failure on just about every level.
The story is based of the popular video game series of the same name, and Welcome to Raccoon City jams the first 2 games together into one movie. The story takes place in the city of Raccoon City where the Umbrella Corporation is packing up their operations. Something goes wrong and people across the city start getting sick and ravenous. Our heroes are thrust into this situation. Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario) is returning to the city to find her brother, Chris (Robbie Amell), to warn him of the impending danger. Chris works at the police station with fellow officers Leon (Avan Kennedy), Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen), and Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper). Soon after Claire gets in town, Chris, Wesker, and Jill get sent to a nearby mansion to investigate some other officer's disappearance. Meanwhile, that leave Claire and Leon to survive the city being overrun by zombies.
Let's start with the positives first as the list is much shorter. Firstly, I was entertained by this movie. It is good shlock and has some genuinely (purposeful) funny moments. Secondly, you can tell everyone behind this project has a real appreciation for the source material, something not really found in the previous iteration of this franchise. The story more or less faithfully adapts the first to games. Thirdly, the practical effects here are all very effective. The zombies look creepy, the monster design is solid, and there are some crazy characters given appropriately crazy looks. They nailed the atmosphere of these locations.
Everything else... Well it falls extremely flat. Let's start with the story. While this was a pretty faithful adaption of the first two games, it is a little interesting why they felt the need to jam two games into one movie. Both plot lines feel very disconnected from one another since they're plucked from two different games. This also means the movie moves at a blistering pace as it isn't super long. Most plot points don't have time to be expanded upon and the world is never built up at all to feel fully realized. Everything feels so by the motions, and this problem seeps into other areas of the film; especially with the characters.
The casting is also very lackluster. No one is really terrible, but none of them are that good either barring Hannah John-Kamen as Jill Valentine who is the stand out for the cast almost by default. For fans of the game, I feel like the cast didn't even come close to representing the look of the characters (which again could be forgiven if the performances were good). To be fair, these actors were not given much, if anything at all, so it is hard to say the blame falls squarely on their shoulders. These characters are so thinly crafted I don't think anyone could really make them memorable.
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is a well meaning attempt at adapting this beloved video game franchise, but it completely misses the mark. It is bloated, under-written, under-acted, and over all just reeks of a rushed production. There is some shlocky enjoyment to be had and I think the film can still be entertaining at times, but a Resident Evil movie could, and should, be much more than a passable attempt.
- Decently entertaining shlock
- Creators have reverence for the source material
- Entire cast was miscast
- Effects range it quality from decent to PS3 graphics
- Writing and pace are all over the place