Have you seen the most recent Resident Evil flick? No? Good. I gave up on this movie franchise years and movies ago. Hell I am nearly done with the damn game series that started it all. It truly pains me to be honest like that because I love the Resident Evil story. The characters, enemies, weapons, plots and twists that were contained within each game were amazing and spawned a lot of great games outside of the RE franchise (think Silent Hill, Dino Crisis). There comes a point though where you do too much, you dig too deep and essentially try too hard. That is what we have seen with the entire Resident Evil movie series and the recent installations of the game series. It pains me, but they need to stop. They need to let this franchise end temporarily and here’s why.
Let us take a small trip back in time first, back to when Resident Evil really hit the big time. Resident Evil 2 is by far (to me) the best RE game to this day still. Screw graphics of today, the characters and storyline of RE2 was beyond its own time. The depth it created was immense and a real connection to the characters happened not just with them, but with you. You wanted Leon and Claire to survive. Leon and Claire have been staples of this series and hell the genre as a whole, they are the faces of the franchise. This was 1998, a Golden Age for gaming too.
Between 1999-2002 a lush 7 Resident Evil titles were released ranging from the Playstation to the Game Boy Color to the Dreamcast. Most of these were very forgettable and no one took over the franchise like Claire Redfield and Leon S. Kennedy. Jill Valentine does to a degree get credit because she is both in the original game and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.
Then in 2002 the first film of Resident Evil was released. I remember being stoked despite only being 14 I was anticipating the movie. I had played the games and was (still kinda am) obsessed with zombie and monster movies/games/everything. From everything I saw in promos, it looked true to the story of the original game. Big mansion, underground facility, zombies and a hot chick. I figured that Chris Redfield would be in there, but even if not I didn’t care. Hell you were given the option of Chris or Jill at the beginning of the game anyway.
However, when I sat down in the theater with coke and popcorn in hand and possibly peanut M&M’s, I quickly realized a mere 15 minutes into the film that it was going to disappoint me. The zombies and their make up was really well done, don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the brutality, but the characters and the story were absolutely terrible. Neither Jill Valentine nor Chris Redfield are even sniffed in this movie. Instead we get Rain Ocampo and Alice, both characters that were created specifically for the movie, neither had any RE roots.
This is where it all went down hill. Casting Milla Jovovich wasn’t a terrible idea, she was becoming a bigger name and had a perfect look. The problem is what they have DONE since then. They started
basically doing the movie based on Resident Evil without the original characters, then created characters and made some ass-backwards storyline to cover itself. The big enemy in this movie is a licker?… Seriously? An enemy that I can take out with a few rounds is the big baddie boss you have decided to create your bumblef–k story with. That, even at 14 having no film or writing experience yet, pissed me off to a degree that was only equaled out by my bitch of an ex-fiance 7 years later.
They jumbled several ideas together and decided to make the most recognizable RE enemy, the licker, as its main opposition. They had several other options, though as grandiose as those ideas may have been, I would rather watch someone go for gold and fail instead of settling for bronze immediately. In fact, none of the original characters of the game made any appearance at all. Albert Wesker, Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Barry Burton and Rebecca Chambers, all who made appearances in various other installments of the series. 5 characters, none in this movie.
Continuously throughout the movie franchise they have just randomly thrown characters into the seam and just hoped it would stick. Look no further than Resident
Evil: Apocalypse and what they did. They went ahead and used the Nemesis storyline, threw in Jill Valentine and used essentially the story landscape of pre-Resident Evil 2 into Resident Evil 2. This movie was absolutely awful. It only got worse though. Ali Larter was thrown into Resident Evil: Extinction and Resident Evil: Afterlife as Claire Redfield OUT OF NOWHERE and the story began to make less and less sense. Alice somehow copes with exposure to the T-virus and gains telekinesis because what do ya know, she’s a clone or something. Resident Evil: Extinction even introduces super zombies! Oh my! How terrifying! What does it do, shuffle faster?
To make things worse all the characters I mentioned earlier? Barry, Leon and Wesker? Yeah they magically appear in the final movie (Wesker is in the last 2). To make it worse AGAIN, they introduced Las Plagas into the mix and Chris Redfield is played by a British actor that looks Hispanic… sorry, but Chris Redfield is about as white American as you can get. The movies, the writing and everything is about as off base as you can get. It doesn’t just avoid following the storyline, it takes it, destroys it, remakes it and calls it something created, yet they went about everything in about the most incorrect way possible.
The games have not done much better in recent time. Resident Evil 5 was enjoyed, but had several problems, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City was an absolute flop and awful and Resident Evil 6 was sliced and diced by many reviewers and after playing it myself, I agree that it at best is a $15 dollar game.
On each front it hasn’t gone well since the breakout of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The movie franchise is a trainwreck (it makes money, but so does Twilight), the games have lost their touch and fear to better survival horror games like the Dead Space franchise and their best characters all were put on the back burner at each turn. Resident Evil 4, while a very good game was the lead on to the destruction of the series.
The creation of the Las Plagas virus, which was used to change things in the RE world, backfired in the long run. We want zombies… shuffling, biting, scratching, infecting moaning zombies. We don’t want octopus mouthed semi-human “infected” enemies that can use weapons. The whole point is for them to strike fear into me, to cause me to deal with and fight against my fear of surviving a zombie apocalypse. The isolation of survival and worry of becoming edible were suppose to be the key fear factors, but instead you jumped ship and rolled into the station with a new Spanish named virus. Until you return to your roots with shuffling dead and terrifying Tyrant bios I don’t feel afraid of picking up a Resident Evil title again, Dead Space on the other hand, will make me literally s–t myself. If you want to get on their level again, redux Resident Evil 2 because at this point, we are out of storyline interest.