I was so pumped when the first trailer for Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City dropped! I actually enjoyed many of the live-action Resident Evil movies and I was interested to see what Johannes Roberts reboot would bring. While it is not an amazing movie by any stretch of the imagination, it is also nowhere near as bad as many people are making out.
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The Movie Review
When I saw the initial trailer for this movie, I thought for sure it was going to be a retelling of the events of Resident Evil 2. What we have here with this movie is a bit of Resident Evil 1 and a bit of Resident Evil 2. I think that this idea could have worked, but the rather short runtime means that things get rushed along without any real development.
One part of the plot sees Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario) heading to Racoon City and she ends up right in the middle of the initial zombie outbreak. It is rather similar to Resident Evil 2 with Leon (Avan Jogia) and Claire having to fight their way out of the city. Add to this William Birkin and you have a pretty solid interpretation of Resident Evil 2.
I think had the movie gone all-in on focusing on Resident Evil 2 for its plot, it would have been all the better for it. Instead, we also get another main plot that sees Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, and Albert Wesker head to the Spencer Mansion like in Resident Evil 1. I think that both of these plots were strong enough to be their very own movie!
One direction of the plot that I did like was the very start where we saw Chris (played excellently by Robbie Amell) and Claire living in a Racoon City orphanage. Here we also see Lisa Trevor which took me by surprise, even though her role is very short, it was still very cool to see.
I really do think that Resident Evil: Welcome To Racoon City did a great job with its casting. I think that Avan Jogia is a great choice as Leon Kennedy, but the script really lets him down. He is a rookie cop and that was his deal in the game, but here is played as kind of a moron who is pretty inept and often makes the wrong decision.
If you are coming into this expecting a balls-to-the-wall action movie, you will be very disappointed. There are a handful of exciting action scenes in the movie, but nowhere near as many as you would think. It is like they were trying to build this big world, but due to the short runtime, it never gets explained or developed in any meaningful way.
As a fan of the majority of the Resident Evil games, I got a real kick out of the many references. However, I am not sure there is really enough meat on the bone for fans of the series or those who just want a cool zombie movie. Resident Evil: Welcome To Racoon City is not a bad movie and it is not even the worst of the Resident Evil movies, but it is a very forgettable movie and not one I care to watch again.