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Movie Review: ‘Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City’

NEW YORK (CNS) — In 2002, director Paul W. S. Anderson presided over the first big-screen adaptation of the zombie-themed videogame series “Resident Evil.”

Five sequels followed and, while the tone of the movies may have softened over time, the subtitle of the last follow-up “The Final Chapter” (2017) will nonetheless have come as a relief to many.

Alas, it was not to be. Instead, Johannes Roberts has written and helmed a reboot, “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” (Screen Gems). In it, he returns to the explicit cannibalism and mutilation that characterized the early films in the franchise.

The sketchy plot proposes that a corrupt pharmaceuticals conglomerate, the Umbrella Corporation, has poisoned the water supply of the titular factory town. The tainted H2O is rapidly transforming most of Raccoon City’s inhabitants into undead fanciers of human flesh.

Among the targets of these crazed fiends are police officer Chris Redfield (Robbie Amell), his estranged sister Claire (Kaya Scodelario) and three of his colleagues: Detective Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen), Capt. Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper) and rookie Leon S. Kennedy (Avan Jogia). All are equally forgettable figures.

Watching them fight for survival over the course of a single rainy night makes for a drab ordeal. The initially somewhat-restrained bloodletting, moreover, eventually turns into a foul flood, a deluge that easily overwhelms the picture’s ineffectual and hackneyed message about corporate wrongdoing.

Those unwise enough to succumb to the friendly greeting of the subtitle will soon be itching to get out of Dodge.

The film contains excessive gory violence, gruesome images, numerous uses of profanity, about a half-dozen milder oaths as well as pervasive rough and much crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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