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Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

Synopsis:
Set in 1998, this origin story explores the secrets of the mysterious Spencer Mansion and the ill-fated Raccoon City
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The popular video game series receives a rebooted adaptation with . Claire Redfield () has returned to the near-isolated town of Raccoon City to try to get help from her brother Chris () exposing the experiments of the Umbrella Corporation, headed by William Birkin (). Chris shrugs off his sister's fears as mere conspiracy theories, but he is then called to accompany the STARS Alpha police team of Jill Valentine (), Albert Wesker () and Richard Aiken (Chad Rook) to investigate strange activity at Sponsor Mansion, named after Umbrella's founder. Meanwhile, as the zombified victims of the T-virus begin to ravage Raccoon City, Claire teams up with Police Rookie Leon S. Kennedy () and Cheif Brian Irons () to find a way out of the city.

Nearly two decades after the original Resident Evil film directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, the film series receives a new reboot that is more of a direct adaptation of the games, which includes going in a more horror-oriented direction. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, written and directed by Johannes Roberts (The Strangers: Prey at Night) is loosely based on the first two games of the series, splitting the action between the mansion horror of the 1996 original and the Raccoon City locale of 1998's Resident Evil 2.

While Paul W. S. Anderson's 2002 Resident Evil film starring Milla Jovovich was successful enough to spawn no less than five sequels, it played fast and loose with the actual plot of the games, creating a new protagonist in Jovovich's and going in a much more action-oriented direction. While Paul W. S. Anderson's name remains on the film as an Executive Producer, the goal of Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is to create a much more faithful adaptation, setting the story in 1998 and featuring a few shots that are lifted directly out of the games.

However, even though Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is undoubtedly a more faithful adaptation of the games, something still feels lost in translation. Part of this comes from the casting, where most of the characters look nothing like their in-game counterparts, and part comes from the attempt to compress two games in the series into a single film narrative. The film also goes a bit overboard with 1990s nostalgia, having one character using a Palm Pilot and a scene set to Jennifer Paige's 1998 one-hit-wonder “Crush.”

While Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City also gets a lot right, particularly when it comes to the creature designs, it still feels like this is a too little, too late reboot that was only produced in the first place to cash in on a film franchise that was already sequeled to death.

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Trailer for Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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