“Living in Raccoon City?” No manner”Growls a truck driver in“ Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City ”by Johannes Roberts, an inevitable reboot of the long-running high-profit franchise based on a video game. And this grouse arrives before the trucker catches up with what most of the public already knows: this crumbling industrial city, dominated for decades by a pharmaceutical titan called the Umbrella Corporation, has been poisoned by a toxin that will zombify the population, oh, about five minutes.
It’s a tradition familiar to fans of the two dozen first-person shooters and the previous six films. But going back to 1998, Roberts’ original tale accomplishes two things: it excuses the absence of longtime star Milla Jovovich (whose director and husband Paul WS Anderson continues as executive producer) and he embraces the So trendy nostalgia for the 90s. No more forward-looking AI holograms with a kitsch cameo from a beeper.
The characters and dialogue are no more than a used Discman. (Yes, that also makes an appearance.) Orphan Claire (a silly Kaya Scodelario) hopes that she and her brother, Chris (Robbie Amell), can survive a night of undead, mutant Dobermans and Dobermans. a bulbous eyeball riddled with tumors expose the truth about their hometown. The only surprise is that Roberts eschews surprises for fear of cheap jumps in favor of well-crafted thriller scenes that play out like a three-card riding game. There is fun in the slow visual gags of cinematographer Maxime Alexandre and editor Dev Singh, especially a bit when Avan Jogia’s lazy cop dozes off at his desk as a tanker speeds up to outside the station, explodes into a fireball and ejects a zombie transformed into a tiki-torch which finally disrupts his nap. If the film’s weary plot could have been relaunched with such confidence, “Welcome to Raccoon City” would be worth sinking into it to the fullest.
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Rated R for curse and cracking of the skull. Duration: 1 hour 47 minutes. In theaters.