Andre DeSousa’s Review of ‘Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City’


Andre DeSousa, Staff Writer

Cast & Crew:

Kaya Scodelario (Claire Redfield), Avan Jogia (Leon Kennedy), Hannah John-Kamen (Jill Valentine), Robbie Amell (Chris Redfield), Tom Hopper (Albert Wesker). 

(This article contains spoilers for the first two Resident Evil games and minor spoilers for Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City)


Ranking as Capcom’s best-selling video-game series of all time, it doesn’t come off as a surprise that Resident Evil has had a few movie installments in the past. While debatable amongst most fans of the series, Jovovich’s Resident Evil movies were mixed in terms of reviews. These movies were high budget and were mainly action-packed; however, were hit or miss in terms of accuracy to the original games. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City was a movie with a budget of 25 million compared to Resident Evil: Retribution which had a budget of 65 million. That being said, the film was relatively low budget compared to its predecessors which is impressive considering the film has good CGI and lots of practical effects. Famous for his work on 47 Meters Down, Johannes Roberts made his attempt at the Resident Evil franchise with Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. 

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City takes place during the events of the first two Resident Evil games and follows the story of Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario) and Leon Kennedy (Avan Jogia) as they investigate the infection that spreads throughout Raccoon City. The movie changes the order of events and acts as if Resident Evil and Resident Evil: 2 are happening simultaneously. 

It also changes the order in which events happen in the game. The investigation of the Spencer mansion from the first Resident Evil game happens after Leon and Claire meet in Raccoon City in the movie. The order in which events occur is not only moved closer, but they are out of order as well. The writers’ decision to move these events could be to make it easier to understand for an audience that is just diving into the story of Resident Evil, but it also changes the original source material for the fans themselves. 

Both Chris and Clarie Redfield are also orphans in the movie and both of them grew up inside Raccoon City which never happened in the games. One of the major flaws of this movie is that because it chooses to include both the story of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2, the events of Resident Evil 3 are completely forgotten since Resident Evil 3’s story takes place concurrently with Resident Evil 2. The film also forgot to include one of the major aspects of the second and third game which is the tyrants that follow the main characters throughout the story of the second and third game. 

The film has no mention or reference to Mr. X or Nemesis which were the tyrants from Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 which was disappointing to some of the hardcore fans of the game. The movie also forgot to include some side and main characters that should’ve been in the film or they should’ve appeared earlier like Ada Wong, who only appeared at the end of the film whereas she should’ve appeared earlier as she has a connection to Leon’s story in the second game. 

One of my favorite characters, Hunk, who was a part of the Umbrella Corporation in the second game, was never referenced or mentioned in the movie. 

“I felt they cut too much out like the mutation forms for William Birkin, and Chief Irons. Mr. X was missing in the movie,” said Katelyn Dimino, a longtime fan of the Resident Evil games and movies. 

“I felt Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City was a one-time watch. I don’t think it was a good origin story at all. I thought the CGI was good for a lower-budget film. Some parts were corny. The actors were ok at acting, not amazing acting.” I agreed as the events and their overall accuracy towards the game did not match up. 

The performances made by Tom Hopper and Hannah John-Kamen were not believable for the characters they were playing. The overall personality of both Albert Wesker and Jill Valentine were not portrayed as well as they should’ve been in the movie. I didn’t like the performances made by both Kaya Scodelario (Claire Redfield) and Avan Jogia (Leon Kennedy) as they did not meet what I, and most fans of the series, felt the characters should’ve been. The acting in the film makes it difficult to believe that their characters are who they are and the actors themselves have a hard time portraying the beloved characters of the Resident Evil franchise. The only character who didn’t completely fall into this category was Robbie Amell who played Chris Redfield. Robbie Amell, while not having a major role in the film, was the only actor that I felt was portraying Chris Redfield to the best of his ability. 

“The characters’ outfits and hairstyles were not accurate to the game(Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2). Ada only had a tiny part when she was an important character in the story for Leon,” said Katelyn. This is an important part of the games as it helps to develop Leon’s character since both Leon and Ada develop a relationship over time throughout the games. If Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is supposed to be a continuous movie franchise in the future then I believe it is important to include Ada in Leon’s story. The choice to not include Ada will only hurt the accuracy of the next film if they decide to include the relationship between Ada and Leon. Considering Resident Evil is a horror movie/game, “[it] was not scary.” I believe that the film was mediocre, it could’ve been better in terms of accuracy to the games, but it still had some enjoyable scenes and references to the games.

 “I felt overall it was an ok movie, I liked the older Resident Evil movies much more, and the games are far better for the story,” said Katelyn.

While many of these flaws are present throughout the film, the directors did have some help from Capcom to create the infamous Spencer Mansion from the first game. The overall design of the mansion is nearly spot on to the mansion from the first Resident Evil game. One of the best scenes happens in the mansion when Chris Redfield gets surrounded and fights off multiple zombies in the dark inside of the mansion. Some fan-favorite scenes like the player’s first encounter with one of the zombies shows up while Chris is trying to investigate the Spencer Mansion. This fan-favorite moment is ruined, however, due to the fact that the investigation of the Spencer Mansion happens after Leon and Claire enter Raccoon City, which completely ruins the suspense of the audience’s first encounter with a zombie. I would’ve liked to see this scene either redone inside Raccoon City or like what most people were expecting, having the investigation of the Spencer Mansion happening before Claire and Leon enter Raccoon City. 

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is certainly entertaining for a first-time watch and has good CGI considering the budget of the film. The film implements the use of practical effects or props more than it does CGI and it works surprisingly well in the film. Most of the props are believable and realistic. The movie overall is enjoyable to those first diving into the Resident Evil Franchise, but if you are a longtime fan of the series, it will be difficult to enjoy the movie knowing how the events actually play out in the game and the overall accuracy of the first two games and how they compare to the movie. The movie also forgets to include a few other main characters and their stories like Ada Wong who only appears briefly at the end of the movie, Hunk who never appears at all, as well as the other mutations for William Birkin, Chief Irons who never mutated, and the tyrant from Resident Evil 2 Mr. X.

 If you aren’t a longtime fan of the series or if you haven’t played any of the games then you will most likely enjoy the movie as it is fun to watch not knowing much about the franchise. However, keeping this in mind, if you aren’t a fan of the series but want to get involved in the world of Resident Evil then I would personally recommend playing Resident Evil, and the remake for Resident Evil 2 as they are both what the film was primarily based around.