Paul W.S. Anderson’s “Resident Evil”Because most people already own movies. The lucrative, outlandish, nonsensical action-horror franchise has made over a billion dollars, entertained audiences all over the world, ticked off film critics, and infuriated die-hard fans of the games, which Anderson didn’t so much adapt as throw in a blender. Although Anderson directed only four entries in the series, his maximalist imprimatur is all over that movie franchise, and it’s time, apparently, for a change.
“Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City”It starts over again, forgetting the events from the previous films and going back to the basics. “Resident Evil” “Resident Evil 2” games. The first featured a haunted house riff in which a group special agents investigates a mansion that is full of zombies. The second was a combination of the first and the second. “Dawn of the Dead” “Assault on Precinct 13,”With cops fighting undead armies in a small community, and a little of “The Terminator”Because everyone loves boss battles.
These two tastes are great, but they taste terrible together. “Welcome to Raccoon City”The film is overstuffed with characters and plot points, leaving little room for further development. The pretty-good cast gets buried alive in a rushed and ill-conceived screenplay, and it doesn’t help that the film is murkily photographed and tonally dreary.
Kaya Scodelario (“Crawl”) stars as Claire Redfield, an orphan from Raccoon City, a town run by the gigantic Umbrella Corporation, which may have been using Claire’s orphanage for twisted experiments. Claire ran away years ago, but now she’s back to reunite with her estranged police-officer brother Chris (Robbie Amell, “Upload”) and to pull the plug on Umbrella, which has been poisoning the city’s water supply for years.
Yes, everyone in Raccoon City seems to be losing their hair and crying blood, and somehow Chris hasn’t noticed. However, the Raccoon city Police Department doesn’t seem to be infected for reasons that are not only rushed but also make no sense. Instead of investigating corporate overlords, RPD cops (which should really be the) instead investigate. “RCPD,” but that’s just splitting hairs) are too busy checking out mysterious mansions in the middle of the night and, at the first sign of the zombie apocalypse, abandoning their posts altogether.
The rest are just zombie food, unless they’re familiar from the games. Leon Kennedy (Avan Jogia, “Zombieland: Double Tap”Jill Valentine (Hannah John–Kamen), the unlucky rookie on the force, is pictured here. “Ant-Man and the Wasp”) is a sandwich-loving badass, and Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper, “The Umbrella Academy”We swear, ) isn’t going to end up to be a bad person. There’s also a mad scientist named Birkin played by Neal McDonough (“Apex”) and a police chief named Irons played by Donal Logue, who is pretty much just doing Harvey Bullock from “Gotham” again.
“Welcome to Raccoon City”Johannes Roberts, director of the uncomplicated and impressively atmospheric film The Uncomplicated Life, directed the writing and direction. “47 Meters Down” movies. It appears that he took most of his storytelling cues from John Carpenter films, down to the iconic Albertus font on all the title cards. Mark Korven scores the score.“The Lighthouse”() initially conjures up badass memories “Assault on Precinct 13” “The Fog,”It lacks the tonal modulation necessary to tell the story.
Maxime Alexandre films the cinematography“Come Play”) is dim and monotonous, and the editing by Dev Singh (“Spiral: From the Book of Saw”The storyline conflicts can make it difficult to keep the suspense alive. Heck, it often struggles to make shots of the main cast and the monsters they’re fighting feel like they’re in the same room.
All those involved “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City”Has done great work before. This raises the question about whether the material is the real problem. The original two “Resident Evil”Stories were told in awkward ways, with awkward characterizations and embarrassingly bad dialogue. Although that cheesiness is part of their charm, the genuine horror of the games emerges from the players’ firsthand experience of the terrors involved. It’s the player who has to survive a tight hallway filled with the undead while their ammo runs out, not the farcically-written people on-screen.
“Welcome to Raccoon City” isn’t concerned with firsthand experiences of terror; it’s got too much plot to get through instead. It’s not a good idea to combine the events from the first and second games in one evening. The memorable first appearance of a Zombie in the original “Resident Evil”It loses all its power halfway through the film after the characters. “Resident Evil 2”About half an hour ago, we were fighting the undead. The life-threatening events of “Resident Evil 2” aren’t exactly improved by occasionally cutting away to a hasty rendition of “Resident Evil 1,”Where people solve puzzles by using piano keys
It’s only when Roberts’ film strips away all the weird artifice that this film has any sort of weight or significance. Early attempts to compare the cartoonish villainy of the Umbrella Corporation to real-life corporate evils in films like “A Civil Action” “Dark Waters”This new technology could be almost infused “Resident Evil”These ideas give franchise a new relevance but are quickly abandoned in favor of chaotically edited action or the shouting of generic dialog.
The only thing we can do is give endless credit to the cast members that manage to shine in this dark quagmire. It is easy to imagine Jogia and John-Kamen carrying a horror film franchise. If the sequel is successful, then maybe those who survive will have a better script.
It’s possible that die-hard fans of the game, long denied anything resembling an accurate translation of “Resident Evil” on the big screen, will appreciate this film’s attempts to be faithful to the original. But it doesn’t matter how faithful you are to the source material if you’re not telling the story well. “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” doesn’t do its own thing, and it does the old thing very badly.
There are also no raccoons. You will find a few photos, but none of the actual raccoons (living, dead, or undead). What. A. Waste.
“Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City”Nov. 24, opens in US theaters