RESIDENT EVIL: WELCOME TO RACCOON CITY
Where the **** is Alice?
RELEASED OUT NOW! 15 | 107 minutes
Director Johannes Roberts
Cast Kaya Scodelario, Robbie Amell,
Avan Jogia, Hannah John-kamen
The Resident Evil films exist in that peculiar ecosphere that contains the Transformers movies, where critical pastings and the indifference of European and American audiences are immaterial in the face of a huge international appetite.
Tasked with rebooting the franchise following the six Milla
Jovovich outings, Johannes Roberts uses 1998’s Resident Evil 2 as his template. As a bioweapon turns the citizens of Raccoon City into flesh-hungry monsters, Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario) and brother Chris (Robbie Amell) try to fight their way to safety.
In the stronger first half, Roberts captures Resident Evil 2’s atmosphere of suffocating claustrophobia and horror, even recreating iconic cutscenes shot-for-shot, while ditching the superhero/sci-fi angle of the Jovovich films. Sadly, the ending is far too much like a videogame, with the final boss regenerating into ever more ridiculous forms, only to be dispatched after one character literally finds a rocket launcher lying around.
The film is careful to make sure everyone says their names slowly and clearly, so the audience knows precisely who’s who, and there’s some clumsily delivered exposition to accommodate newbies. But its greatest weakness lies in the performances; too often the characters are confronted by some nightmarish menace, to which they react with little more than gunfire. If they’re not terrified, why should anyone else be? David West
Johannes Roberts drew inspiration from Chernobyl (which was airing on TV while he was writing) for the zombies.