“Remaining loyal and steadfast.” “True to the facts or the original.” These, in the simplest of forms, define what it means to be faithful. Faithful, a word that must mean quite the opposite to writer, and director Johannes Roberts when it comes to Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. You can’t blame the guy, though, considering how we now live in a topsy turvy world that literally has two opposing definitions. That said, I do blame Roberts for making one hell of an imbalanced, improper film that felt like a literal slight against Resident Evil fans. And yes, I mean literal in the only way it should be defined.
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City extends its faithfulness in name only, as nearly every character by design steers so far away from their defining traits and attributes that none can be recognized by their videogame counterparts. The same could be said about the film’s plot, which was so clumsily put together that it felt as if Johannes Roberts read the Wikipedia summary for the first two Resident Evil games and felt as if that was enough research to make a 107-minute movie based on the source material. Then again, Roberts claims to have played the games, which could still be true, as he never said how long he played them either. He also said the movie would be faithful and ‘scary as hell’, which also turned out to be untrue so…
RE: WtRC completely tears apart any resemblance to the source material by altering the plot significantly, re-imagining the characters in appearance and personality, and somehow tapes it all together like a monkey with wooden appendages (which is a sad thought).
The changes to the plot are abundant and loud, especially to fans of the games who will likely be scratching their heads from start to finish. And much of this is due to the significant and poorly-written changes to the characters. Albert Wesker, played by Tom Hopper for some reason, is turned into a frat boy turned dirty cop rather than a mastermind and key figure in the Umbrella Corp., while Leon… my poor, poor, Leon… We need to dedicate a separate paragraph to cover just a quarter of all the cinematic war crimes committed against Leon S. Kenny.
“What’s the “S.” stand for? Stupid?”
(actual quote from the movie)
Leon S. Kennedy is a charming, handsome, by-the-books rookie police officer with a strong sense of right and wrong and an even stronger sense of getting the job done efficiently and effectively all without ever experiencing a bad hair day. Or, at least that is the character in the videogames and the least of what we should have seen from his on-screen counterpart. However, the Leon S. Kennedy we got in the movies, played by Avian Jogia, was written to be a bumbling f*ck-up and a total loser who shot his partner in the ass before being sent to Raccoon City to be someone else’s problem. Despite looking nothing like the character from the games (which he could have if they got rid of the facial hair and styled his hair with a middle-part), the portrayal of this cinematic version is one of the most poorly translated character designs from one medium to another that I have ever seen. So much, in fact, that I would declare this a state of cinematic emergency and call for Johannes Roberts’ immediate arrest and be tried by the Hollywood Tribunal under the many, many charges of being a cinematic terrorist.
At no point in Leon’s screen-time is he shown to be the comedic relief while being so bogged down by incompetence that it makes you wonder just why Roberts felt the need to make the character so insufferable and incapable. His constant blundering about makes him the butt of the precinct and constantly shit on by his peers. Eventually, after getting partnered with Claire Redfield, she even constantly berates him for being a useless dolt and takes a shotgun away from him after he demonstrates not knowing how to use one in fear that he might shoot her by mistake. While the biggest issue for me, Leon’s character designs weren’t the only atrocities in this movie.
Chris Redfield, played by Robbie Amell, was the least irritating character in the movie. Amell can’t be blamed for much considering he is the weakest of the Amell family and probably wants work where he can get it. Plus, he kind of looks like the original PS1 version of Chris Redfield anyway.
The problem with Chris and Claire is mostly their story. The two of them are depicted as growing up in the Raccoon City Orphanage (funded by Umbrella in the games and in the movie) and thus illustrates their dedication to Raccoon City. What makes this worse is that Claire is shown to be friends with Lisa Trevor, who is also here in the orphanage at the same time only to establish a relationship with Claire for the sole purpose of having Lisa save Claire from a Licker later on in the movie. Yes, Lisa Trevor saves Claire (and by extension, Leon) from a Licker attack. Which is executed just as stupidly in the movie as you would expect. Not to mention the poor CGI of the Licker, and everything else.
While Chris is the least offensive thing in the movie, it is hard not to take this film as a personal attack on intelligence and fandom as a whole. Johannes Roberts has a very small resume that couldn’t possibly boast the necessary qualifications to make this movie and it shows, badly. What should have been a popcorn flick that easily could have been leagues better than the Paul Anderson films turns out to be a colossal failure of writing, directing, story-telling, and everything in between. And not in an “it’s so bad it’s fun” type of way. It’s more like “this is so bad I feel depressed and should probably schedule a therapy session with Dr. Levine this week” type of way.
There is just so much wrong with this movie. Between altering Wesker to be a frat boy douchebag, turning Leon into a f*cking moron for no reason, removing the air of mystery and intrigue around the Spencer mansion, and also just not being scary in any way shape or form, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is a juggernaut of failure from start to finish. If nothing else, Johannes Roberts has demonstrated such a wild misunderstanding of the source material and everything therein, that what we have here is nothing more than a YouTube fan film made by a rank amateur that somehow snuck its way into theaters just to insult fans and audiences worldwide.