Resident Evil is back, Jack! And this time it’s serious. Claire is heading back to Raccoon City to see her bro and look into some disturbing rumors about the Umbrella Corporation and her hometown. From there things go to shit and zombies are everywhere. Can they fend off the zombies before it’s too late? Find out in… Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City.
How?! Claire and Chris Redfield grew up in an orphanage in Raccoon City where they saw first hand some of the disturbing things going on in the town. While Chris went on to join the police force in town thanks to a mentor within the Umbrella Corporation, Claire escaped. But when she gets wind of how Umbrella poisoned everyone and then fled the town, leaving it all in ruins, she returns to uncover the truth. In a wild coincidence she arrives at the very moment that everything falls apart. People start to become zombies and her brother is sent out with a police force to check out some of the creepy goings-on at a secluded mansion. Claire makes her way to the police station where she find a rookie Leon and the cowardly police chief holed up trying to figure out what to do. The police chief had tried to escape town, but Umbrella has closed off the borders and is ready to destroy the town in order to contain the virus they have accidentally poisoned the town with (oops). They realize their only hope is to get to the police chopper and so the chief leads them to the orphanage, which is secretly connected to the mansion via a tunnel system. At the orphanage, Claire is reunited with Lisa Trevor, a girl horribly disfigured by Umbrella’s experimentation. Lisa saves Leon and Claire from a Licker (sorry cowardly police chief, you obvs had to die) and points them to the mansion. Meanwhile over at the mansion, everything has completely fallen apart. Numerous members of the police force die immediately and the chopper is destroyed. Turns out one of their team members, Wesker, is also a total traitor and he heads off to get his hands on the necessary evidence/virus materials to hand over to a mysterious organization. When he tries to kill the scientist responsible for the experiments and take the virus he is stopped by Chris. Unfortunately the scientist injects himself with a super duper virus and becomes a giant monster. Claire and Leon arrive and they team up with the good guys to escape on an underground train. They seem to be home free until the monster shows up (boo). But don’t worry, Leon has a rocket launcher. They escape just as the town is destroyed. THE END.
Why?! Survival. It’s a survival game after all. Umbrella’s motivation is corporate greed, baby. They want that sweet green while not paying to dispose of their industrial waste. Oh and also they want to make super soldiers, but can’t seem to figure it out without turning people into horrific mindless monsters. It’s funny that these super soldier mutant zombies are such a huge part of their business model that they are able to poison the whole town with its runoff. Not sure even the government needs a zombie virus at that scale.
Who?! Neal McDonough Alert! Don’t use that often enough. He’s one of the more fun parts of the second half of the film in that he turns into a giant monster which requires the CGI artists to render a giant monster that vaguely looks like Neal McDonough. Always funny looking. Like how the Hulk has to always look a little like Mark Ruffalo. Just one other oddity is that Marina Mazepa shows up here as Lisa Trevor… we just saw her as Mary in The Unholy. She’s really taking the contortionist horror corner right now.
What?! Mild product placement here and there. Pepsi seems to be the beverage of choice in Raccoon City. No wonder it’s a dying town. A-yo. I also liked the 1998 specific product placement dropped in as a wink to the audience. Like the PalmPilot that one character uses. There also was some hay made amongst fans about how Claire drove a Harley in the film… not sure why.
Where?! There has always been a bunch of theories of where Raccoon City is. In the novelization of the video game they apparently came out and said it was in Pennsylvania. Other theories placed it in Missouri. The first film series seem to place it in Michigan, or at least used Detroit as a backdrop. All this doesn’t matter as it’s a fake setting and I like precise, fake settings OK. A+ fake setting. Particularly since putting “Raccoon City” in the title of a film is ludicrous.
When?! Always a little hard to keep track of these things when you see them live in theaters, but I do believe the intertitle set this on September 30th, 1998… although can’t remember if that date was given pre-midnight and so most of the movie would have taken place on October 1st or something. All good though. Solid B+.
I was excited for this film. I thought the trailer was cool and I’m always secretly a little bit excited when there is the possibility of a new(ish) franchise on the horizon. Even that Tom Cruise Mummy film.. Give me Mummy 2! I’ll eat it up… give me more Tom Cruise as a mummy (spoiler alert Tom Cruise turns into a mummy in the film). Anyway, the beginning of Raccoon City doesn’t disappoint. I thought it was creepy and fun and brought the franchise back to its horror roots. It was also helped by the fact that it was evoking all kinds of memories about the original video game that I didn’t even know I remembered. Nostalgia fan service was working on me. But then it just kinda kept on going and going and never getting anywhere. More specifically never getting to the mansion. By the time we get there everything is going so fast with (at that point mostly unnecessary) fan service flying past that I almost wished they would have made a three hour movie rather than tried to cram everything together in 100 minutes… almost. By the time they get to the ending nothing makes sense, not least of which is their use of a Deus Ex Rocket Launcher to blow away the bad guy at point blank range while miraculously not harming any of our heroes. Nice first half, brutal second half, overall a little disappointing. Patrick?
Hello everybody! One last Omicron filled theatrical experience for old times sake? Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – Ah, the last BMT Live of the year. I was really really hoping this would qualify because it really seems like a fun throwback bad blockbuster. And conveniently, considering I’ve never seen any of the Anderson Resident Evils, it is a totla reboot. People seemed down on the trailer, but it seemed decent enough. At least very fanservice-y which can be good. What was I expecting? Well I was hoping for it to be chockablock of Resident Evil refs. Because I actually have played the first two games.
The Good – I genuinely liked the first half of the film. It was, indeed, filled with decent Resident Evil references, and the zombie stuff was cool. It just felt like they did a very good job getting the core story of Resident Evil onto the screen. The Mansion in particular looked great … although you don’t get to spend much time in it. And I can never say now to a little Neal McDonough in my life. Best Bit: The set design, basically, very much fanservice oriented.
The Bad – The back half of the film is a mess including what I think might be the worst action scene I’ve ever seen (fighting zombies viewed solely with muzzle flashes and the light from a lighter … nonsense for minutes at a time). Also the motivation eventually gets really muddled since they have to get everyone to the same place (the train) by the end, but there isn’t a very good reason for the people in the police station to know about that or to get there. And as a horror film it just falls flat. Fatal Flaw: I think combining the first two games did a lot of harm to how they were trying to tell the story.
The BMT – I didn’t totally hate this film, but it certainly suffered from the same issues as most video game adaptations: poor motivation and muddled storytelling. I really wish it was just the first game because the mansion really did look cool. But alas, we can’t always get what we want. But sometimes, we just might get what we need (a bad movie to watch in theaters at the end of the year). Did it meet my expectations? It was actually quite a bit better than I expected. Still bad because it was two movies in one, but still, better than the rating would suggest.
Roast-radamus – One of the first Planchet (Who?) in a long while, with the rookie cop who just can’t do nothing right and everyone dunks on throughout the film (he even redeems himself right at the end like all good Planchets should). Definitely some funny Product Placement (What?) for Pepsi, all from 1998 very very specifically. A great A+ Fictional Setting (Where?) for Raccoon City. Obviously no good video game can do without a sweet MacGuffin (Why?) in the form of the super secret T-Virus that everyone wants to get their hands on. I think this is closest to BMT even though I’m really tempted to call it good.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I think the best bet for the franchise at this point is thinking through it as a television Reboot. The mansion really is too large to deal with in a single film and was always going to cause problems (even if you didn’t combine it with the second film). It just feels like to get the snake and the shark and the garden (with the creepy plant people) with all of the back ground would work well for an 8 episode show. Two episodes to set up why they are going to the mansion. Two episodes of initial exploration. Two episodes of generally fleshing out the lore and building up to the penultimate episode. And then a final reveal and initial confrontation, with the final episode being the boss battle and realization that it isn’t over. Just called Resident Evil. The second season is then subtitled RCPD and it includes flashbacks to establish background on Umbrella. It always should have been a television series. They even hired television actors for the movie! NOTE: I just learned there is a television show in the works at Netflix … I wonder if it was intended to supplement this film or is going to re-adapt the mansion.BMT Live Review – Since I’m back (baby), I went to the very nice Framingham Dine-In AMC at about 12:45PM. Got 30% off for the matinee and only four other people in the theater, although two of them were ultra annoying during the previews. Just talking full volume throughout. They’re just previews, but it was still very distracting as I was getting settled into the movie. Otherwise flawless experience. The theater is really nice. I don’t love “dine in” (as I find it distracting), but for the matinee since no one was eating it was fine. Probably the last theatrical experience for the next three months at least I would venture, but we’ll see. A.