Combustible Celluloid
With: Kaya Scodelario, Hannah John-Kamen, Robbie Amell, Tom Hopper, Avan Jogia, Donal Logue, Neal McDonough
Written by: Johannes Roberts
Directed by: Johannes Roberts
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and gore, and language throughout
Running Time: 107
Date: 11/24/2021

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (2021)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Trash Pander

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This seventh, totally unnecessary movie in the zombie franchise has some impressive set and monster designs, and scary audio FX, but it forgets to build interesting characters or any kind of story.

Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario) travels to the small town of Raccoon City, where she once lived in an orphanage. The town is dying, since the Umbrella Corporation — which controlled the economy — has pulled up stakes and moved elsewhere, leaving only a handful of souls behind. Claire hopes to see her estranged brother, Chris (Robbie Amell), who is on the local police force.

On the way there, the truck she's riding in crashes into a figure on the dark road, who then gets up and walks away. Before long, it becomes apparent that there's a zombie outbreak. Claire, Chris, and a handful of other police officers must find a way out of town before 6 a.m., when the entire city is to be blown to bits.

The movie is peppered with mysterious flashbacks to Claire and Chris's youth in the orphanage, visited by a strange intruder, and threatened by director William Birkin (Neal McDonough), all of which leads to nothing. The main story of Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City takes place in 1998, as Claire hitches a ride to the titular city, with seemingly no reason other than to see her brother after five years of silence; this — coincidentally — happens on the very day that the Umbrella Corporation plans to destroy the city.

The movie also attempts to employ 1998 technology, such as a Palm Pilot, but forgets that streaming video did not yet exist. And why on earth do our cops keep shooting zombies in the chest? Have they not seen any movies?

Silly lapses of logic like these aside, the movie consists of not much more than police officers stalking down dark corridors, and trying to shoot at, or fight off, zombies that suddenly lunge at them. There are some attempts at character development. One is a rookie cop who doesn't seem to know anything, not even how to load a gun, one is revealed as a traitor, etc. But mostly it's a race to see just how cool everyone is.

Living up to its title, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City has gone out of its way to build amazing sets, from the police station, to the orphanage, to a sinister, abandoned mansion, and the monster designs are truly impressive, but when it all comes down to mindless, meaningless attacks, who really cares?

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