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Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City (2021)

This is the video game adaptation that Resident Evil fans have been waiting decades for. A strictly horror adaptation that follows faithfully the story of the games, bringing characters that we have all loved and grown up with to love on the big screen and so much fan service that you couldn't possibly catch it all in one sit through. This is what we were promised, is this what the studio delivered? Well, almost. The attention to detail in the set designs is flawless, with the majority of them looking like an exact replica of the games. The care taken to make these as authentic to the games as possible did not go unnoticed for me. It was amazing to see sets like the Spencer mansion and the RCPD in a live action film looking so perfect, it was really nostalgia inducing. The scene where Wesker sits at the piano playing Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata was a big highlight for me, although I would have preferred Jill to do it but it makes sense narratively for it to be Wesker. Even scenes like the first zombie interaction looking identical to the cut scene from the first game, it's clear everyone involved are fans of this franchise. As for the characters, it's a bit mixed bag for me. Being such a big fan of the games (more so the original 4) I have an idea in my mind of how these characters should be portrayed. Claire and Chris Redfield played by Kaya Scodelario and Robbie Amell certainly feel the most authentic and true to the characters of the game. I also really like the portrayal of Jill Valentine by Hannah John-Kamen, she wasn't entirely game accurate but she still gives a great performance. Even Tom Hopper as Albert Wesker was passable. I don't think he should have been written as likeable as he was but it never really became an issue for me. My biggest issue and the most criminal aspect of this whole film is the decision to write Leon S Kennedy the way they did. He is the fan favourite for the majority of Resident Evil fans and I was amazed at how wrong they managed to get his character, given how much attention to detail was put into everything else. The actor Avan Jogia did a fantastic job with the script he was given, unfortunately, it was just a a shame that he was written so disrespectfully. Usually I dislike when a trailers reveal too much. However, in this case I'm glad I got an insight into the mediocre CGI - at least that way I had low expectations going in. In all honesty, it wasn't great and it really does let a few scenes down. Especially the scenes involving the dog and quite a large portion of the final battle with Dr Birkin. It's not terrible but considering how far CGI technology has come, this feels like it was done 10 years ago. As for the zombies, they are slightly faster in motion than I would have liked and a few of them do have quite a rubber looking quality to the makeup effects (almost bloated in the face at times). This doesn't necessarily look bad, it's just not quite what I envisaged when I thought of Resident Evil zombies. Having such an expansive lore to the first games in the series, I find it a strange decision including both story narratives in one single film. I feel the first game alone could warrant a 2 hour film of its own. Focusing more on the horror side of the mansion location, giving the sequel room to focus on the second game in the series. This did flow well together as a combined story and pacing was never an issue but I can't help wonder, if a sequel is ever to be made, what direction would it take given they have blown through so much source material so quickly. I did find that the ending came across quite abrupt and almost rushed and I assume some serious cuts were made to shorten the run time. I do believe a directors extended cut may be able to resolve a few of these issues. This came so close to being perfect, with the exception of the decision to combine both of the first two games into one film and the terrible handling of Leons character. I feel this is about as good as it gets in terms of Resident Evil adaptations. I would be extremely disappointed if this doesn't go on to produce a sequel. This film shows that it is possible to make a faithful video game adaptation. It has a few minor issues which I feel could easily be rectified in a sequel, I just hope it gets the opportunity to do so.



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