Resident Evil – Welcome to Racoon City

Being a nostalgic tragic of the 90’s, I recall the main things I cared about back then were video games, girls, music, cars and more video games, usually in that order.

Having various gaming consoles, I found myself in 1996 purchasing the first Sony Play Station for the sole purpose of playing Capcom’s Resident Evil. Hours of game time had me searching rooms for keys, ammo, weapons and shooting my way through Human and K9 Zombies, experimental abominations just to survive and advance to the next level.

The film introduces us to lead characters Claire (Kaya Scodelario) & Chris (Robbie Amell) Redfield as children who are in a creepy Orphanage in the heart of Racoon City. It is run by William Birkin (Neal McDonough) who secretly is conducting experiments for The Umbrella Corporation on the children.

During their time at the Orphanage, Claire is visited by a somewhat ghoulish looking girl name Lisa Trevor (Marina Mazepa). Lisa who took a liking to Claire is one of the failed experiments that Birkin was responsible for.

Something had happened at Umbrella Corporation & as the roots of the game have it, the town’s population starts getting ill & transforming into the undead. Umbrella decides to close the city down, trap everyone and kill them all to isolate the spread of the virus (wait, that sounds awfully familiar!!)

After a long absence, Claire is returning to Racoon City with a warning about something very alarming is happening there when a chain reaction of bloody events occur and she find herself fighting for her life and facing her darkest fears.

After a brief encounter with her brother Chris, he leaves her at his home and heads to RPD where he is called out via helicopter to the scene of an accident with his team including Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen) Albert Wesker (Robbie Amell), Rookie Leon S. Kennedy (Avan Jogia).

There are two locations that we find our characters at. There is the Orphanage where Claire & Leon have arrived at with the help of an RPD Sherriff who eventually falls victim to one of the notorious Zombie dogs. Claire’s connection with Lisa Trevor at an early age proves to be vital to their survival. Then there is the familiar Spencer Mansion which if you played the game, you would know this location is where it all began.

The action scenes and their adventures have echoed the game so well, that I was finding myself wishing I had a controller in my hand to help them fight off the onslaught of attacks by the now zombified who consisted of Umbrella personnel that have somehow been exposed to the T Virus.

I was in very familiar surroundings and references to so many characters & locations made it that much more enjoyable.

Each room location had something for them to do in order to find their way out of the city. The time period perfect sets included old computer monitors & dot matrix printers, along with a soundtrack of hits from that era such as Heartbreak by Bonnie Tyler and Crush by Jennifer Paige. There was even tech reference to 90’s chat rooms and Nokia’s phones Snake game.

I don’t think that this was intended to be a horror film. It certainly had the shock factors moments along with a barrage of action with plenty of shooting and biting.

Directed by Johannes Roberts, I feel he has captured nostalgia and treated the fans to an overall entertaining movie that although there could have been deeper exploitation of the characters & more complex story line and plot, I was truly satisfied with how the story was presented. Simple and easy to follow. Zombies, cops, corporate control, experimental failures all wrapped up in a town that was doomed. How could you not be entertained?

Without question I am writing this review from a game fan’s perspective, sighting so many Easter eggs, hat tips and I know that first time viewers may see this just as another Zombie film. I award this film a 4-star rating and add an extra star as it exceeded all my expectations.

Movie Review By Peter Pap

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