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Geek Review – Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

Oh the horror! Another Resident Evil movie!

But fear not, because this is not another senseless, baked-in sequel to the popular but hardly impressive six-film horror movie franchise that was itself based on the highly popular Resident Evil aka Biohazard zombie video game series. The less said about the Milla Jovovich-movies, the better, as those borrowed the concept and theme of the games, but created wholly original storylines that did not tie in much to the original games.

The new reboot, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City takes a vastly different approach to the source material, in that the premise here follows the first two Resident Evil games from 1996 and 1998, and focuses on the games’ survival horror elements instead. Much has changed in terms of how the story has unfolded, but the first two were genre-defining, as the first title sold more than four million copies when it was first released on the Sony PlayStation in 1996. The video games eventually launched several spin-offs and six direct sequels, selling over 120 million copies worldwide as of September 2021. 

There’s a reason why Resident Evil has become the best-selling horror video game series, and it has nothing to do with zombies, horror dogs, Umbrella Corporation or the T-Virus – it’s the main characters that have since taken the lead in spin-off games including Marvel VS Capcom 2, Marvel VS Capcom 3, and most recently, Fortnite.

The film follows Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario) as her return to Raccoon City uncovers a dark secret, while brother Chris Redfield (Robbie Amell), together with Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen) and other members of an elite task force are forced to investigate, and must escape a city infested with zombies and other monsters.

Other characters from the first two games, including Leon Kennedy (Avan Jogia) and Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper), feature prominently here, and if you’re a fan of the first two rather campy (by today’s standards) games, will know how the movie will play out. Some might wonder why Claire is decked in threada very similar to the game, while the others sport new character designs, but as long as their character arcs are retained, does it matter how they look?

The movie is set in Raccoon City in the 90s, and features many throwbacks to that era in the form of set details and even the music soundtrack, achieving a sense of nostalgia to the gamers then.

But how is the movie? It’s obvious that fans detest adaptations that don’t follow source material, but what about those that try hard to, but don’t offer anything new? If you know your Biohazard, then you will find many things familiar, as the movie loosely follows the premise of the first two games, and players might even recognize scenes very similar to the cutscenes in the game.

Action-wise, the movie’s encounters replicate what we’ve loved about the original game. Standards were different then but it still is able to achieve a heightened engagement and intensity. Audiences (and fans of the game) will relish how the movie is able to inject a good dose of adrenaline to throw you back to the first time you opened the doors to the Spencer Mansion.

The backstory of Chris and Claire Redfield are carefully explored, and the action sequences don’t veer far from the games, and much of the action takes place in a mansion, with plenty of gunfights in enclosed areas, and a couple of satisfying boss fights as well. And yes, the twists in the games are also recreated closely here, and we won’t spoil it for anyone, but if you wanted a Resident Evil movie that follows the game, it is here. 

Do remember to stay on to watch the post-credit scene which will happen midway through the credits, where viewers will be teased with additional information about the aftermath of the ending, and the appearance of another iconic fan favourite character.

GEEK REVIEW SCORE

Summary

The art direction and cinematography helped bring out the horror genre pretty well. While majority of the characters were designed loosely around their game’s characters, it was fun to see the live-action characters from the original Resident Evil games. Fans of the first two games can geek out at the game’s creatures and cut scenes from the games recreated on the silver screen.

Overall
7.4/10
7.4/10
  • Story - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Direction - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Characterisation - 7/10
    7/10
  • Geek Satisfaction - 8.5/10
    8.5/10


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