Just when we thought the Resident Evil had ended with the 2016 release in the series aptly titled The Final Chapter, now comes a prequel of sorts to the series. Welcome to Raccoon City takes place in 1998 in Raccoon City and attempts to reboot the series again, by taking us back to where the apocalyptic zombies infection first started, We are first introduced to a young sister and brother team who were subjected to some kind of weird experiment in the orphanage they were raised. The story then takes us years later when they have grown (played by unfamiliar faces, Kaya Scodelario and Robbie Amell) and on one particular night in Raccoon City where all hell breaks loose. The umbrella Corporation, a successful pharmaceutical company had abandoned the town where they had first started their business and plans to destroy the entire town (together with its infected populace) on that faithful night. How the siblings managed to survive their tender years to grow up as adults is never explained. Perhaps that would be covered in another prequel to the prequel.
Since I do not play the computer game in which this series has taken its inspiration from, I am unable to comment on how closely associated this adaptation is. What I can compare this to is the original series with Milla Jovovich which were mostly directed by her husband Paul W.S. Anderson. Sans the impeccable combination of Jovovich and Anderson, Raccoon City pales in comparison. The budget here seems to be very low and the whole scale of the plot reduced to paper thin. There are no big scale zombies attack, or elaborately choreographed fight sequences which we have become accustomed to in the series.
It have a bunch of semi interesting characters most of whom would invariably not make it through the night. You know the type well, characters who are one dimensional and cliched. We have the fiesty heroine, the guy with the dark secret, a bubbling rookie cop who somehow survives, the female cop who is a sharp shooter etc. What makes Raccoon City more watchable and enjoyable than it should be is some cool zombies attacks sequences, an avoidance of cheesy dialouge, and a heart pounding music score reminescent of John Carpenter’s style. Raccoon City can still be a form of guilty pleasure for zombies fan when we don’t make the comparison with its franchise roots. It becomes more enjoyable when seen as an independent low budget entry to the admittedly crowded zombies apocalypse genre. It’s biggest mistake is to associate itself with such a major franchise as Resident Evil.