The kindest thing one can say about the Resident Evil movies is that… they were professionally made? There were proper sets, actors, a crew, trailers, promotional events and everything else that accompanies a bonafide Hollywood production.
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City’s release is in the offing. It will hit Indian theatres early next month. Written and directed by Johannes Roberts, the film reboots the franchise that ran for six films, four of which were helmed by Paul WS Anderson.
The new movie takes a different approach. It promises a more faithful adaptation of the source video-game series. I am not holding out much hope, however, because I was burned by the original movies. The Resident Evil film series was creatively bankrupt, and it starred Milla Jovovich, an actor who would not show emotion if her life depended on it.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Many say that it is impossible to make a good Resident Evil movie because the franchise’s basic premise is just too corny. I disagree. These movies are based on Capcom’s extremely popular and long-running horror video-game series of the same name. The games tell a compelling story about common people taking on an evil pharmaceutical company called Umbrella Corporation, that *spoiler alert*, is also engaged in illegal bio-weapon research. These ‘weapons’ come in the form of almost-invulnerable mutated beings. But when an accident causes an outbreak in the fictional Raccoon City, residents are transformed into zombies.
The story and the world of Resident Evil is rich with thematic and narrative detail and if a talented team of writers and directors is handed the reins, they can certainly do something special with the material.
But Anderson was not that person. The kindest thing one can say about the original movies is that… they were professionally made? There were proper sets, actors, a crew, trailers, promotional events and everything else that accompanies a bonafide Hollywood production.
The characters in the original series, even those that weren’t played by Jovovich, were generic and thinly written. The dialogue was even worse. It was like Anderson was evolving in reverse as a creative person. Just watch Monster Hunter if you don’t believe me.
Defenders of these movies might point to the spectacle that they offered. But the visual effects were pretty bad, too. They might have been expensive, but just throwing money at things does not always work. Justice League (2017) was one of the most expensive movies ever made, but I think we can all agree it looked quite cheap.
Sure, we expect video-game movies to suck. Most do. The genre seems cursed. But even by these standards, the Resident Evil movies were terrible.
Welcome to Raccoon City, the upcoming reboot, has one thing going for it. It has the lowest bar to cross.
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