Review: Resident Evil: Return to Raccoon City

So, Resident Evil: Return to Raccoon City is a 2021 reboot of the Resident Evil franchise based off the popular video game series of the same name. It’s not surprising that a reboot would be attempted as any IP seems to be dragged on, resurrected, and “Frankensteined” to make a buck all the time. What is surprising is that this version had a lower budget, yet somehow ended up being a more coherent story, had overall a more talented cast, possessed dialogue that didn’t want me to claw my ears out, and remained truer to the original work. Perhaps even more astonishing is that even with all those positives, this film was less memorable and enjoyable.

It does seem odd that a film could have better elements than a similar film but ultimately be a lesser product. I think the primary reason is simply due to the 2021 reboot attempting to be a more faithful adaptation which has never really worked for a video game film. The joy and enjoyment of a video game comes from the interactivity of the medium along the art, music, narrative, etc. But if you cannot play the game, the cutscenes have far less appeal, a truth for most electronic entertainment. In essence, Return to Raccoon City is all the cutscenes from the games pasted together into one long film with a few minor additions to make a cohesive story. While entertaining enough to watch, not nearly memorable enough to recall or discuss after viewing for most audiences.

Talented, attractive cast. Just not much to work with.

If you come across this one on a streaming service for free or cheap, would recommend watching it when you have a few hours to kill. Otherwise, there really isn’t enough here to justify the expense of a full rental or buy. Like I stated earlier, this one is honestly a better film, but will end up being less remembered, less seen, and eventually have less of a following or audience than its predecessor. Still a decent watch if you have the time and inclination.

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