“Do you live in Raccoon City? No waygrumbles a truck driver in Johannes Roberts’ Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, the inevitable reboot of a multi-year and lucrative video game franchise. And this black grouse appears before the trucker catches up with what the bulk of the audience already knows: this crumbling company city, dominated for decades by a pharmaceutical titanium called Umbrella Corporation, has been poisoned with a toxin that zombies the population, oh, five minutes or about that.
This is familiar to fans of more than two dozen first-person shooters and six previous films. But back in 1998, Roberts’ background story serves two purposes: it justifies the absence of longtime star Milla Jovovich (whose director and husband Paul W.S. Anderson continues to serve as executive producer) and reflects such a fashionable nostalgia for the 90s. End the holograms of the future with artificial intelligence by adding a kitsch cameo from a pager.
Characters and dialogue aren’t worth more than the Discman used. (Yes, that also appears.) Orphan Claire (phlegmatic Kaia Scodelario) hopes that she and her brother Chris (Robbie Amell) can survive the night of the living dead, mutant Dobermans, and one bulging eyeball riddled with a tumor, opposed to expose the truth about his hometown. The only surprise is that Roberts avoids cheap jumping surprises in favor of well-crafted suspense scenes that play out like a three-card monte game. Contemplating the slow visual jokes of cinematographer Maxim Alexander and editor Dev Singh is a delight, especially as the slacker Avan Jogia slumbers at his desk, while a rushing tanker leaps out of the station, explodes into a fireball and ejects a tiki-transformed zombie. – the torch that finally breaks his sleep. If the film’s tedious plot could be resurrected with such confidence, then Welcome to Raccoon City would be worth delving into.
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
R grade for swearing and skull cracking. The duration of the performance is 1 hour and 47 minutes. In theaters.