I never really was a fan of the original live-action Resident Evil movies. I do remember watching the first 2 movies and I stopped cold turkey since I thought it was enough for me. I did watch the 4th movie for the sole reason it was going to be in 3D and I was curious with how they were going to use the tech. I don’t have any concrete memories from any of the movies besides that one scene where Milla Jovovich’s character did a spin kick to the face of a leaping dog. It was so ludicrous to the level that even my kid brain knew it was hilariously out of place.
I was actually glad when they stopped with the live-action Resident Evil movies as the films became so far away from the games. This is the same reason why I was curious about the upcoming Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, a kind of reboot of the live-action movie series but with the promise it will be more true to the games it’s based on. After seeing the trailer, I can definitely see how Welcome to Raccoon City will stick much more closely to the games.
I’m still not sure it’s going to be good, though.
From what I’ve seen fro the trailer, Welcome to Raccoon City is going to be paying homage to Capcom’s first 2 Resident Evil games with a little bit of Code: Veronica thrown in for good measure. Spencer mansion from the first game seems to be replicated very faithfully but you can only see a brief glimpse of it. I’m actually betting Welcome to Raccoon City will start out with STARS Bravo team entering the Spencer mansion and we’ll get to see the entire team die before moving to where the meat of the story is set: Raccoon City.
As a huge fan of Resident Evil 2 Remake, I’m actually impressed with how much love and care was put into the sets. You can clearly see the facade of the Raccoon City Police Department entrance as well as the parking lot of the building and it looks like it was directly pulled out from the game! I’m equally impressed with how they translated some of the more iconic scenes from the games into live-action. That shot of where you see your first zombie in Resident Evil 1 is just perfect! It looks just like it did from the original PlayStation game… but much better because it looks real. That’s because it is real!
The practical sets look awesome but, I will admit, some of the CGI looks a bit rough. Oddly enough, I can get behind that. The Resident Evil games, especially the old ones, had this cheesy vibe to them. So giving the CGI effects a dated look kind of fits the motif. The entire movie even has a B-movie budget so I can see them leaning into that and make it work for them. Besides, like the first 2 games, Welcome to Raccoon City is set in 1998, way before really good computer effects have been implemented in movies. So, putting in some cheesy looking monsters actually works in this mindset.
I can definitely see the people behind the movie have played the Resident Evil series and they are putting some effort into making it look like the games. Unfortunately, I still don’t see Welcome to Raccoon City becoming the best video game live-action adaption ever made. In fact, I don’t even think it’ll be that great of a movie.
As good as the sets look, I have issues with the casting. Some actors, like Neal McDonough as William Birkin and Donal Logue as Chief Irons, are inspired choices for those characters. They might not exactly look the part but they have enough characteristics to make me believe they are. I can’t say the same for the rest of the actors and actresses involved.
I can try to swallow Kaya Scodelario as Claire Redfield but she just looks too old to be playing a college student and younger sister of Chris Redfield. Speaking of the alleged older sibling, Robbie Amell is a little too fresh faced to play the tough, soon-to-be boulder punching operator of the BSAA. Hannah John-Kamen is not how I pictured the all-American Jill Valentine would look like in real life. The oddest casting choice is, hands-down, Avan Jogia as Leon S. Kennedy. I honestly thought he was playing Carlos Olivieros from Resident Evil 3! It was only while looking through the casting list did I realize he was Leon! In hindsight, I guess the costume should have clued me in… but he does not look a thing like Leon! At least straighten out his hair and shave, man!
While they may not look like the characters from the game, maybe they’ll prove me wrong with their superior acting ability and I’ll be sucked in by their performances. My bigger concern will be Welcome to Raccoon City’s story.
It’s going to be a mishmash of Resident Evil 1 and 2 and, at the same time, it’s going to be something totally unique. It’s the “unique” part which troubles me as I know there will be a part of me screaming inside whenever the movie diverges from the events of the game, especially if the change doesn’t work. It’s not like it can be done. Marvel did a fantastic job of spinning the old tales from the comics and reworking them into the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon.
So it is possible to make changes to the original story and still be as engrossing and maybe better than what we got from the games. However, I simply have to go back with how Capcom was fine with the Resident Evil films with Milla Jovovich and see that the franchise just doesn’t have a good track record with making the right changes. Heck, Capcom was okay with handing over the Monster Hunter franchise to the same director and letting them butcher that, no problem!
Right now, I’m not too optimistic Welcome to Resident Evil is going to be great. I am still impressed at the level of detail the filmmakers did put into making it look like the games so there is some love being put into making it rather than just throwing out everything out the window like the previous series of live-action Resident Evil films. It looks like it’ll be a dumb, fun film like the more classic B-movies the Resident Evil games accidentally pay homage to. It will have just enough references to the games to make it, at the very least, entertaining enough for Resident Evil fans to sit through.
Well, that’s what I hope anyway…
Have you seen the trailer for Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City yet? What did you think of it? Do you think the movie is going to be worth watching? Let me know in the comments section below!