Anyone who knows me or has been following my blogs knows that I don’t favor the live-action Resident Evil movies starring Milla Jovovich. What I despise most about this six-film series is the shoddy storytelling, blatantly bad continuity, and the fact that all the established characters from the games play second-fiddle to an all-original character portrayed by Jovovich.
When I first heard that a new Resident Evil movie was in the works that would start from scratch and be truer to the source material, I welcomed the second chance for a stellar cinematic experience. But the more I learned about the movie’s plot and characters, the more wary I became. While I didn’t think it was a good idea to compact the stories from the first two games into one film or change the personalities or appearances of the franchise’s beloved heroes, I vowed to keep an open mind and give it a chance.
After I settled into my seat at the theatre and viewed several trailers for other films of interest (Moonfall, Matrix 4, Spider-Man: No Way Home), I ironically found myself thinking during the first few seconds of the Resident Evil movie, Wait, what did I come to see? It didn’t take me long to reorient myself and kick back for the ride.
I have to give the filmmakers credit for recreating the iconic locations seen in the first two games (the Spencer Mansion and the Raccoon City PD respectively) and for overlapping the unrelated stories in a creative way. Overall, I liked the narrative and thought it showed promise for the very probable, teased sequel. There were also some very suspenseful scenes sprinkled throughout the movie that I genuinely enjoyed; I’m glad that the filmmakers changed the narrative to the extent that it generated some truly frightening moments.
On the other hand, my view of the characters themselves is a mixed bag. While Albert Wesker is far from the emotionless, sunglasses-toting villain that fans know and love, his big-screen counterpart still betrays his team for personal, monetary gain. I’m open to the idea of Wesker evolving from a more personable character to a badass, superpowered villain—no problem there. What’s harder to ignore is a pair of psychotic characters (the monstrous Lisa Trevor and police chief Brian Irons) from the first two games being transformed into protagonists\saviors.
I definitely feel that the film’s runtime could have been longer with more emphasis put on character development. For instance, it’s said through dialogue early in the film that Jill has a crush on Wesker; it would have been nice to see evidence of this sprinkled throughout the story. One of the film’s main faults is that it does too much telling, not enough showing. It would be nice to see an extended cut for the home video release that will make up for this, but I won’t set my hopes too high.
In either case, the new Resident Evil film is still a big step up from the Milla Jovovich-centric saga.