Now with the highly anticipated final installment in the Resident Evil film franchise coming soon, I have to write an article about the overall series and my impressions. The Resident Evil film series is one of those series that it could be considered a guilty pleasure of mine. Despite the high deviation from the source material (which I don’t mind) and the wide array of mistakes the movies contain I cannot deny that I’ve really enjoyed the series as a whole.
I am a fan of the Resident Evil video games and even though the films and games couldn’t be further apart I feel as though the films do tell an alternate story that does work (again despite the films’ many short comings). I’ve come up with a list of areas in which the Resident Evil series does flat as well as some areas where the films do work. Despite the deviation fans cannot deny that there are some really interesting and original ideas when it comes to the films.
What Resident Evil Did Wrong
1. Poorly Written Scripts And Empty Plots
One of the most pronounced aspects of the film is how poorly written the story is. True, every movie has an interesting story, but every movie also have a butt load of plotholes that should’ve been ironed out. For example, in Resident Evil: Afterlife, Alice and Claire happen upon a group of survivors who are stuck in a prison, surrounded by an army of zombies. An interesting idea right. How do zombies infiltrate the prison? Well, the film presents this in one of two ways. First, the Axeman (executioner if you ask me) knocks down the gate and the zombies come marching in. Okay, fine. The other one is the more ridiculous. The infected ones (not dead zombies but people infected with parasites similar to the ones in Resident Evil 5) burrow through the ground, through concrete, to infiltrate the prison.
Not only does the story not support any ability of them to burrow in such a way but the story doesn’t even explain what the parasite infected are, where they come from, how they’re created, or if they’re an evolution of the virus. Really the only people who’ll even have a remote idea is probably fans who’ve played the game but the film still doesn’t support them. Also, in The Final Chapter. The story establishes that Alice is a clone of an older Alice and that the virus was created by Umbrella to stop her enhanced aging which immediately contradicts what Apocalypse establishes that Dr. Ashford invented the virus to help his sick daughter, Angela. The script didn’t even try to bridge these two thoughts.
2. Lackluster, Cardboard Characters
Now I’m more than confident that if I sent out a poll to a thousand people who’ve watched the films that they’d all agree that, for the exception of Alice and probably Jill and Claire, that most of the characters freakin’ suck. And what is crazy is that the series actually have likable characters, characters fans would like to connect with and route for. Ironically enough, most of the likable characters are the original characters for the films.
Check out my Top 10 Characters in Resident Evil Film Series. Now when I say that the characters suck, I mean that they don’t have any standout moments; no moments where audiences would be like “man, that character kicked some tail”. Let’s take Alice for example. In nearly every movie she has a sequence in which she either takes on an opponent that is stronger than herself and overcomes it, or she takes on multiple opponents with uncontrollable badassery (as well as great choreography). Jill has her moment in Resident Evil: Retribution in which she takes on Alice in an epic battle in the snow and actually beats her. Claire has her moment in Resident Evil: Afterlife where she takes on the Axeman and actually defeats him. This also leads into the next subject. But probably the most disappointing are the characters in The Final Chapter. They have no important moments, no development, and nothing really special about them.
3. Too Much Focus On Alice, Not Much On Other Characters
I’m a huge fan of Milla Jovovich, and quite frankly love the woman. She is one of my all time favorite actresses and her personification of Alice has definitely won me over. However, for as much as I enjoy Alice, I will admit that the films put too much of a emphasis on her character. Not only does this affect the story in a bad way but also takes away from the other characters. For some fans, Alice affects the story to the point that the poor writing will always see her ahead regardless of the situation (and there are a lot of ridiculous and implausible situations) or by doing something small that could’ve been done at any time. Nothing wrong with her saving the day but it kind of reminds me of those old television shows where the main character is in an impossible situation and at the end of the episode, say the character is tied up in a pond filled with crocodiles and there’s no way of escape. Then the next episode you find out they escaped but they don’t say how. Like that.
Also, in the way she draws away from other characters makes all of them seem useless. In Resident Evil: Apocalypse, the church scene, Jill, Peyton, and Terri are barely fighting off a trio of Lickers when Alice comes in and kills are three within like…thirty seconds. Instead of the film focusing on their moment of triumph it was easily snatched away effectively making them all damsels-in-distress. In Resident Evil: Retribution, Leon and Luther take on an parasite enhanced Rain and despite a prolonged battle, Luther is killed and Leon is injured. Alice, after having been beaten by Jill, takes her out in like…thirty seconds by shooting out the ice at her feet. Why do I say that this is bad? Because Jill had the gun and she could’ve easily shot out the ice herself. And my final example is when Claire takes on the Axeman. After an epic battle in which she defeats the creature, it rises once more only to have Alice blow its head off. It is a great scene and it does fit but Claire should’ve finished it off, then went over to help Alice. Even in Resident Evil: Extinction, the group of survivors are attacked by infected Crows in one scene as well as “super” zombies in the next and if it weren’t for Alice they’d all have died.
4. Way Too Much Action, Way Too Less Horror
Now I’m all for a good action film but sometimes too much of a good thing isn’t always good. In all the movies there is one big action sequence that either fits or doesn’t fit. Resident Evil: Retribution, and for as cool as the action sequences were, they didn’t feel necessary. Examples of this are the fight with the Las Plagas in the Russian area, the gunfight in which Barry is killed, and the gunfight between Jill and Ada against Jill, Rain, and the soldiers. All of these sequences feel unnecessary. The big battle at the end of Resident Evil: Apocalypse is decent because of the survival horror theme that the majority of the movie presents.
The films would work better if there wasn’t this over-the-top action in every movie. In Resident Evil: Extinction, Alice is ambushed by survivors and has to fend off attacks by infected dogs. This is a great scene, as she has to use skill and her wits to survive. There wasn’t any explosions, no gunfire, no fights, no fast paced car chases; just pure tension. The first film, we have heavily armed commandos on the scene and for that film the gunfights do make sense. If the films would tone it down with all the action and just focus on suspense and survival horror, the films would feel more Resident Evilisk.
5. Hit-And-Miss Casting Choices For Certain Characters
While character interpretations are a highly important factor, simply picking people that look like they’re video game counterparts isn’t enough. There are several characters that are features in the series including: Jill Valentine, Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield, Claire Redfield, Albert Wesker, Barry Burton, and Ada Wong. Honestly, as stated above, Claire, Jill, Wesker, and Barry were actually cast really well. The guy who they cast as Leon, Johann urb, looked like Leon. But he sure didn’t have much presence. Li Bingbing is a hit-and-miss as Ada. She looks like Ada, sort of, but at the same time doesn’t. Ada looks more like a mix of Asian and something else (most likely Caucasian) and Bingbing is straight Asain. Also, she doesn’t actually feel like the character. Wentworth Miller is probably the worst cast. He doesn’t look like Chris (shave some white guy’s head who happens to have a big head), doesn’t act like Chris, possesses literally no attributes of the character. Sure, the actor doesn’t necessarily have to look like the character but come on. Miller, really?
There are a whole host of problems with the series. Thanks for checking out the post and in the comment section below let us know what your thoughts are concerning the Resident Evil film series.