Resident Evil Welcome To Raccoon City Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
The excitement was palpable for this movie. I have loved the world of Resident evil for as long as I can remember. When a new game drops it feels like and event. I even love the animated films and can have some fun with some of the Anderson films. So, it goes without saying after the trailer dropped, was counting down the days. So, lets take the trip back to Raccoon City and see how well they did, shall we.
The movie kicks us off showing Claire as a little girl, at the Raccoon City Orphanage. Being awaken in the middle of the night. Seeing someone hidden in the far end of the room. Someone she has seen before. Waking Chris in the process who tells her it is in her imagination and tells her to go back to bed, but she goes looking for her. Tracking her down in a tent. Learning her name is Lisa Trevor, when she reads the medical tag on her wrist and she lives below. When she crawls into the tent, Doctor Birkin pulls her out. Asking why she is up when Chris gets her out of trouble, with a sleepwalking excuse. Back in bed and she opens her eyes. Seeing the doll from the tent and a good look at Lisa. When she screams, we jump to her waking up as an adult. Getting a ride from a truck driver. Who lectures for screaming in her sleep and wanting to go to Raccoon City. Which is becoming a ghost town since Umbrella has been in the final process of moving out of town. Taking his eyes off the road to make a pass and grab her leg. Missing a woman stumbling out into the road and runs her down. Claire jumps out and rushes to her aide and while she is trying to calm the driver down to help move the body. She gets up and stumbles away. Not realizing she disappeared till the dog gets out and runs to the spot. Lapping at the blood. The driver pulls him back, telling Claire to either come or stay, but he is leaving. Cutting to Leon where he is just waking up and falls back to sleep at the diner. Where Wesker sets a ketchup bottle on his head for a bet with Jill to knock off, which she does and wakes him back up. Learning that he was transferred from his last job, thanks to his Dad, on the account of shooting him in the ass. Jill sticks around when everyone leaves to wish him luck and assure him it will get easier, and we see the Waitress has blood coming from her eye. Meanwhile, Claire gets dropped off, and while she is walking away., The dog starts turning and bites his hand. Back with Claire she arrives at Chris’s house. After the creepy neighbors staring and closes the blinds. Allowing her the freedom of breaking in. Seeing pictures of Chris as an adult standing next to Birkin. Chris comes down for a not so warm reunion. Seems Claire had runaway five years prior after spouting conspiracy theories about what Umbrella was doing. Getting worse when she tells him what happened with the woman and shows him a video of a reporter explaining that Umbrella is leaving because of years of polluting the water and now something worse had gotten out and what was left of the city was doomed. After a brief cutaway to Birkin getting a phone call and he gathered his family to leave. A siren goes off, telling the civilians to stay indoors. Chris gives her money, telling her to lock up when she leaves and goes off to the police station. When the neighbor woman appears at the back door. Writing out the words, Itchy, Tasty on the door and he kid comes through the front. Hiding under the table. Claire asks if they need help, but they say she is the one who needs help. Before Mom crashes through the door. Claire manages to fight her off. Getting to the bike outside and speeds off to find her brother, while the city erupts into chaos.
I was a little worried when I heard they were mashing the events of the two games together. A lot of events to cover, but they really made it work for them. Never feeling like there was any wasted motion. Great pacing and always excited to see what was happening when they shifted from one character to the next. Escalating to a surprising conclussion.
While there was some excellent fan service, from Jill having lines like Jill sandwich and referencing the giant snake and spider. The truck Driver with his burger and brought the Mansion and Police Station to life in a beautiful way. They also made some changes to the lure and the story and for the most part, worked fantastically. The fan service bringing you to a familiar world, with slight changes that, for the most part (we will talk about a bad one later) but kept you surprised as to what may happen. Having the helicopter crash occur at the mansion and Sherry be found by Jill and Chris, instead of Claire. How they handled Wesker and Irons, but my favorite might have been with Lisa. One of the most tragic stories in the franchise and was nice to see her have a bit more. Could see Claire as a kid getting close enough to bond with the likes of Lisa and great scene of Lisa taking down a Licker and in the end, having the friend in Claire.
They had a really dark and gritty feeling that suited the world of Resident Evil. Loved they took the zombie transformation back to a more painful and twisted transformation instead of an abrupt one, with stuff like Itchy and tasty. Going heavy on the gore and mutations. All of which was a lot of fun and G-Birkin looked great.
The cast was spectacular. Kaya Scodelario had a fair amount of screen time and she killed it in her portrayal of Claire. Being my favorite character in the game, was excited over how well she did. Marina Mazepa was awesome as Lisa, with her hunched over movements and way she spoke. Robbie Amell not only channeled a lot of young Chris Redfield, but also looked a lot like him too. We didn’t get a lot of time with Neal McDonough’s Birkin, did excellent with bringing who Birkin is and I am really looking forward to see where Tom Hopper can take Wesker from where this ended. While, Avan Jogia did do a good job with what they had him doing with Leon, the problem being….
I hated what they did with Leon. He really was just a punching bag or the butt of the joke for most of this movie. It got to the point of where it was just sad, especially when he slept through the truck, flipping over and exploding in front of the police station while he is at the front desk. Great scene mind you, but expecting more from Leon S. Kennedy. Not expecting him to come off as action hero he would come across as later, but little better direction than this.
A bit more mixed, was the sound and it wasn’t just on me, but a friend I brought with me brought it up as well, where a times this sound gets to loud. It wasn’t throughout, but at certain points they could have dialed it back a few decibels a bit. Small nitpick, but when it happened, it got jarring.
So, what’s the final thoughts here? Floating between high B and low A. On one hand, I really didn’t like what they did with Leon. Could have been a better in between they could have gone with. On, the other, they did a lot of things right. You can tell they really do care about the world of Resident Evil. Entwinning fan service, with changes that did work, and most of them did work and it does far out weigh the negative. I want to see more come from this and hope the likes of Jill and Leon can get more in sequels. I do suggest going to check this out in theaters, for it has a lot to offer, especially for fans of the games. Final grade – A –
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading!