albert wesker, avon jogia, chris redfield, claire redfield, hannah john-kamen, jill valentine, johannes roberts, Kaya Scodelario, leon s. kennedy, resident evil, robbie amell, sony pictures, survival horror, tom hopper, umbrella corporation
Having recently delved back into the hive with Paul W. S. Anderson’s Resident Evil imaginings, a total of six films to date either in the director’s chair or serving as an Executive Producer, I began to wonder if the Milla Jovovich’s Alice character had potentially killed the film screen franchise. Don’t get me wrong, when the original feature was released back in 2002, I was hooked by both her and the film’s appeal. Time however has not been kind and the feature suffers a little with age, pushing it into watchable terrain, rather than a don’t miss out classic. It doesn’t help that the five films that would follow (which at first leant weight to the premise) has been dampened by the twists and turns, and creative license taken in order to keep the franchise alive. In their progress to elevate the franchise, the creative team had inadvertently… infected it… ahem…
So, rather than put a band aid over it, and march on regardless, the only choice left was to give it the dreaded reboot. But will this be for good or ill?
Without Anderson at the creative helm, the Director’s chair is left vacant for someone to breathe new life into the survival action horror that coined the term. In many ways the successor, Johannes Roberts was the perfect choice having an uncanny knack of tapping into the nostalgic vein, especially with The Strangers: Prey At Night. At least when it comes to invoking the music and creating some wicked soundtracks along the way. Here is no exception as Roberts presents a film that satisfies that old feeling that was conjured up for those who lived the original experiences. Roberts is also a master at creating atmosphere, again witnessed in his 47 Meters Down film series.
The soundtrack from the game that Resident Evil is based upon hums nicely in the background to help scintillate those senses. Combined with the characters and the setting of Raccoon City that made the game such a household hit. These characters from their kernel structure is a welcome sight with Special Tactics And Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S) playable characters Chris Redfield (Robbie Amell) and Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen); double agent Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper); rookie Leon Kennedy (Avon Jogia); Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario), who serves as our main protagonist returning to Raccoon City to face olde demons and getting more than she bargained for; and a host of other cameos along the way including a sneaky one at the end so make sure you stick around for that.
While it was cool to have these moments of yesteryear created on the big screen, with a notable stand out scene from rampaging zombies inside a darkened Spencer Mansion, lit up by gunfire… a nice touch. The problem though and behind the rose-tinted glasses is another case of style over substance. The characters are present, but there’s not enough development beneath the surface as they tick off their action sequences before moving onto the next one. And while there is the odd atmospheric moment, it doesn’t go much beyond the chords of Moonlight Sonata.
It’s strangely odd that despite six installments, this reboot had to retread old ground to find its feet again, and in doing so becomes a bit of a misbeat. It entertains enough but falls short of making a significant mark.
- Saul Muerte