by Dean Mathura (UFP Film Club volunteer)
After the unexpected improvement on the hilariously campy 90’s version of Mortal Kombat comes a significant improvement on the nonsensical, diabolical and completely pointless Paul W. S. Anderson collection of so called Resident Evil films that made an impressive $1.2billion at the worldwide box office!
Resident Evil: Welcome To Racoon City tries to throw elements from the first two Resident Evil video games together for the most part, it actually works. There are some great scenes replicated from the video games like the beginning of Resident Evil 1 and 2 (with their own twist) and better representation of the characters, for example, the introduction of them was mad cheesy but worked due to the initial charm of the actors portraying their video game counterparts. The mansion and the police station in this film looked great and for me brought a great sense of nostalgia, this film ticked boxes like the new Mortal Kombat did for me.
Even though I enjoyed this film, there were a few issues I had with it as well. I’ll start with the hokey script, it felt incredibly lazy. A good example would be Leon’s character, who just constantly swore for no good reason. The dialogue could’ve been swapped for something more intelligent. To be fair the F word was used far too much and didn’t really show much creativity on the script.
Even with the lack of creativity in the script, the actors at least tried their best with what they were given. Kaya Scodelario hasn’t disappointed me in anything I’ve seen her in so far (still haven’t seen Shank yet!) and in this film she portrays the Claire Redfield character better than Ali Larter did in those four Resident Evil films she featured (Ali Larter is an incredible talent and should be noted).
I wasn’t too keen on the choice of director, that really needs to be addressed for the sequel. Johannes Roberts has made some critically panned films like Storage 24 and 47 metres down. To be honest though, this Resident Evil film will be no exception as at the time of writing, this film had 29% on rotten tomatoes which is unfortunate. Perhaps under the hands and guise of someone actually competent of improving on a sub par script, we would’ve seen a commercially successful film. I do believe that this is Roberts best film so far though, which isn’t saying much considering his shoody back catalogue.
Me saying all of that though, personally I felt that it was a solid reboot compared to the last embarrassing 6 Resident Evil films. This is a stark improvement on them, thanks to not deviating away from the source material. What let this film down though was the lazy script writing, uninspiring direction and some questionable performances especially from Leon and Wesker.
It is a shame that this Resident Evil film won’t be anywhere near as successful as the old franchise, there’s a couple reasons why. One reason going is that there are no big names attached to the new film, in the late 90’s Milla Jovovich was riding on the success of The Fifth Element and Paul W. S. Anderson had already delved into the computer game World with the commercially successful but incredibly flawed Mortal Kombat and had also directed Event Horizon, which in my opinion is massively underrated, definitely his best film to date. But another reason is that no one really cares about Resident Evil anymore (even with these reboots for the PlayStation), same as zombie films.
Is it worth going to the cinema for? unfortunately not for me, it’s a straight to DVD film like most of the Resident Evil films. I would recommend watching this at home with your friends as you’ll all have a good laugh over it and if you’re fans of the game, you’ll enjoy it even more.