The ‘Resident Evil’ franchise already had a long saga of live action movies starring Jovovich mile. Up to five sequels were made before ending with ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’ in 2016. However, it was clear that the saga was going to return to the big screen and the wait has ended up being quite short, because on Friday November 26, ‘Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City’ hit theaters.
With the promise of being a movie closer to the original video games, ‘Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City’ is a somewhat modest gamble, as its budget is less than any of those six previous films. A way to reduce risks and surely also to give a film greater freedom to enhance its roots within the horror genre much more exhilarating than expected.
Consistent to the end
The clear inspiration for ‘Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City’ are the first two video games in the saga, but, obviously, there are important changes both in the origins of the epidemic and in other details presented in the script written by Johannes Roberts, also a film director. There are probably those who end up disappointed by it, but I would dare to say that we are facing an adaptation that knows how to capture very well the essence of what served to shape one of the most popular franchises in Capcom.
One of the most substantial changes is that here Raccoom City is already a decaying place that Umbrella herself is about to leave behind and in which only those who cannot afford to leave the city remain. That allows Roberts to create a juicy decadent atmosphere to immerse ourselves in. a pressure cooker about to explode, making it clear from the start that something weird is going on there.
Based on that premise, Roberts knows how to fluently present the gallery of characters that will accompany us for just over 100 minutes, giving priority to classic video game characters to achieve that feeling of familiarity necessary to conquer the followers thereof. That leads to several doses of fanservice throughout the footage, but they never feel like something annoying, since Roberts manages to integrate them with ease in a film that, yes, there comes a point where it accelerates a little more.
Here Roberts faced two very real and radically opposite dangers: saturating the viewer with a festival of excesses without much sense or reducing the sense of danger so much that everything ended up being a mere triumphal walk for iconic characters in the saga. ‘Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City’ is closer to the latter, but Roberts’s totally unabashed approach helps nuance it to the point of becoming an almost irrelevant annoyance.
Lights and shadows of ‘Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City’
And it is that Roberts gives us very powerful moments from his staging work -with regard to the script, everything is much more functional-, especially those in which everything is clearly shown, such as that entry of the zombie in flames at the police station, but also others in which suspense and anguish stands out above all else – I think mainly of that scene in which Chris Redfield (Robbie amell) faces a zombie attack with the only illumination that the one obtained by the shots of his pistol-.
Unfortunately, not all are joys visually, as it is true that Roberts has a certain concern to give the set a certain elegance without ever renouncing the fact that he is promoting his horror film side of series b, with John carpenter as the main reference, but the tight budget – barely 25 million dollars – limits it at certain times, both in terms of visual effects, despite this much more solvent than expected, and in the planning and execution of certain scenes , where sometimes it gives the sensation of being forced to resort to the more closed planes or a treatment of the more conventional startles than is desirable.
That is something that becomes more evident as the minutes go bys and the threat gets out of control, since when everything works much better when the danger is something more concrete and localized. Not only visually, since its weight as a threat also feels greater as it has a more successful impact capacity, since it is also usually associated with revealing more details about what is happening in Raccoon City.
All of that is seasoned with a forceful approach to violence that makes Roberts’ origins and the motive for him at the helm of the film very clear. Also, a fairly correct cast but perhaps a bit overloaded. Here it would surely have worked better to introduce fewer characters taken from the video game so that they could breathe more, since the presentation of all of them is more than solvent, but then the development is very scarce, perhaps with the exception of a convincing Kaya scodelario as Claire Redfield.
However, in the end it all comes down to a matter of personal preference, since I admit that I missed that the original saga paid more attention to terror beyond the first installment, while here everything is oriented in that direction. It will solve it with greater or lesser fortune, but it is a consequential bet that simply needed a little more money to finish polishing its virtues. That said, delighted fI’ll check if a second installment ends up, something little less than forced after the end of ‘Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City’.