Don’t Pet the Dog

While not the wisest decision to tell a pharmaceutical-based conspiracy at this moment in time, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City leans closely to the source videogames. Certainly, there’s concentrated effort to replicate the interactive franchise in cinematic form, if also failing to address the pitfalls in that material.

Resident Evil was born of “old dark house” movies, playing to their camp value and z-grade dialog. Welcome to Raccoon City too often eschews that element for a glossy, visually appealing genre film, and only occasionally recognizing the absurdity. It’s also thinly developed, hopelessly forgettable, and mundane.

Welcome to Raccoon City’s script is confined, even imprisoned by Capcom’s lore

There’s enough horror embedded in the central theme, that of the Umbrella Corporation exploiting an orphanage’s children to run viral experiments, to carry the story. Background details like a rainbow poster telling kids Umbrella is their friend elicit chills, or rather they could if Welcome to Raccoon City ever totally engaged on those terms.

It’s nostalgic to see carefully composed callbacks to the first two videogames, which Welcome to Raccoon City uses in a split storyline. Yet the script is confined, even imprisoned by Capcom’s lore. Videogames need action, constantly. Film does not. Without settling down, Welcome to Raccoon City tosses out sloppy gunfire exchanges and zombie tropes that look wholly uneventful in this zombie-stuffed millennium. Character personalities fail to appear, further muddying the horror aspects. Neal McDonough, playing Umbrella’s corrupted, amoral scientist, at least tries. Ultimately he’s too limited in screen time to matter.

Further bogged down by dodgy CG effects, Welcome to Raccoon City tries emulating the superficial polygons from the games. A key moment finds the cast walking into the first game’s mansion hall, yet the green screen is so readily apparent, this isn’t a case of seeing the design brought into reality, it’s merely revisiting what was already digital. All of the enthusiasm for the videogames amounts to nothing when it’s akin to watching someone else play.

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City 4K UHD screen shot

Video

Welcome to Raccoon City’s digital cinematography poses challenges for this encode. Swinging between absolute clarity and noise-infested, compression falls to heavy chroma artifacts frequently. A true 4K source is potent enough to produce fidelity and detail often. Sharpness sustains a high peak, finding the facial definition in most close-ups. Darker cinematography hides environmental details, but not totally. There’s still plenty to see.

Assisting is an aggressive Dolby Vision pass, laying on thick black levels, at times crushing by way of the source. Highlights will clip too, again the design, and it’s hardly subtle. The dynamics in this master stretch both limits without apology. It’s intense, and a great test disc for any display’s abilities to render both extremes.

Saturation gives Welcome to Raccoon City a vivid appearance, teetering near a total color bleed. Orange flesh tones stick out, and there’s not a natural primary to be found anywhere in the movie. This doesn’t help the chroma noise problem either as the digitally graded tones remain at an excess.

Audio

Like the video, the Atmos track doesn’t like subtlety. Rain washes over countless scenes, filling the soundstage, heights always included. The score bounces between surrounds as it plays, keeping motion at a constant flow, even during downtime. Zombies and creatures run about, scares frequently preceded by creaking boards or snarls in positional channels. Gunfire whips past, motion smooth and accurate.

Deep low-end engages at every opportunity, whether it’s a truck’s engine or a monster snarling. Music stings hit with the same thrust.

Extras

Three featurettes on the UHD, under 25-minutes long total. The longest and best looks at the connections between the games and movie. The rest are easily skippable.

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Movie

Accurate in its attempt to replicate the videogames, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City hits a few action beats and not much else.

Overall
2
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User Review
3 (2 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 47 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: