The zombies in Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City are traditional, savage, and gory. But even they fail to inject real kicks into this franchise reboot.
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Synopsis
Based on the first two Capcom games, the movie begins with Claire Redfield returning to Raccoon City after being told a grim conspiracy by Ben Bertolucci. Raccoon City itself is near deserted with Umbrella, the corporation that sustained the town, in the process of relocating. Worse, far worse, something has poisoned the residents for years. Umbrella’s decision to relocate is in reality, a brutal containment strategy.
I begin by repeating what I wrote when reviewing Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. I’ve never played a single RE game.
Thanks to game passes, I have a couple of them on my consoles, including the newer titles. But hardly a huge fan of the survival horror genre, I’ve never gotten down to trying any. Not even for an hour.
For that reason, I thought I’d enjoy Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, i.e., I’d be watching as a viewer unburdened by fan expectations. Well, didn’t happen. Hate to put it this way but this was one of those movies that I’m glad kept its run under two hours. I nearly didn’t stay for the mid-credits scene. I was that eager to get the show over and done with.
To be clear, this franchise reboot and latest entry in the much-condemned video game movie genre isn’t without merits. Stylistically, it draws heavily from what worked in 80s and 90s horror movies, and doing so injects the show with a tension that (at least) keeps you awake. While I’ve never touched the games, I do still know enough about them to recognise the Easter Eggs and references. I’m sure these will delight true fans.
Traditional mechanics from the games additionally jump at you in some segments. These were the moments when I didn’t slouch in my seat.
And yet, despite these, the movie all felt dead; no pun intended. Hordes of bitey zombies lunging in the dark, or not, any thrill established by gory mayhem dissipates as fast as it comes. None of the characters felt relevant too, for that matter. That is, unless you’ve ever “played” them in a RE game.
What went wrong? Well, the usual: ineffective pacing, unexplored subplots, inexplicable conveniences, etc. But beyond these, I think it also has to do with the sad reality that zombies and biohorror no longer terrify. Or delight.
We “know” what big pharma do when left unchecked. We “know” better than to trust orphans with institutions run by doctors who can’t change out of their lab coats.
Most of us know where to aim our shotguns at when assaulted by the unhappy undead. (Stretching it a little with this claim, but …)
What I’m saying is, earnest as it is overall, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is strictly for die-hard fans who yearn for another try at adapting RE for the big screen. Who, for whatever reason, yearn to see their player characters depicted by actual humans too.
For the rest of us, nope, not working. Frankly, I even felt the Anderson movies were better. At least, there was kickass Alice to enjoy in those.
Check out my other snappy movie reviews.