Resident Evil: The Final Chapter marks the end of the current franchise, so to celebrate such an event join Dan and Rich as they rank all Resident Evil films to date; live-action and animated.
8. Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
Dan: Where the first film in the franchise decided to do something a little different from source material, Resident Evil: Apocalypse absolutely butchered it. Nemesis, one of the game series best villains, is reduced to a joke of a character that doesn’t elicit anywhere near the same fear as he did the first time we saw it. Mix the complete disregard for the source material with some unwatchable shaky direction and you have yourself the worst entry in the Resident Evil franchise. Compounding these issues is that with a setting of Raccoon City, and a villain like Nemesis, it should have been a good horror film. Unfortunately it’s just a horror of a film.
Rich: This film took all the best bits of the early Resident Evil games and decided to mash them all together and take a massive dump on all of it. Nemesis was meant to be a threatening and intimidating presence, instead they gave him a conscience and some form of will power. They tried to introduce characters such as Jill Valentine who looked and played like a fan girl in cosplay and then they decided to ruin Raccoon City by setting this mess of a film within it’s walls. I have a lot of time for this franchise and after the relative success of the first film it was very hard to see how messed this up so much.
7. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)
Dan: What a joke of an entry into the films franchise, but thankfully it’s the last (fingers crossed). Maybe I missed something but it completely rewrites the story of Retribution which is kind of unforgivable if you aren’t going to disregard it as an entry into the series. It proceeds to go bonkers with the clone element introduced in previous instalments, and continues to throw in unknown actors into vanilla roles simply to be picked off one at a time to the tune of who cares. The action is barely watchable, and the whole story is just bollocks. If there was always an antivirus why didn’t the Red Queen just unleash that in the first film rather than kill everything? Why does the laser corridor no longer do the impossible to survive grid whilst Milla Jovovich and Iain Glen fight? Why is one of Iain Glen’s clones a religious zealot? Where the feck are Chris Redfield, Ada Wong, K-Mart, and Leon Kennedy? Didn’t Wesker and Dr. Isaacs have a feud during Resident Evil: Extinction? Did they just forget everything that came before this sixth film? This should probably be bottom, but I’m such a fan of the games what they did in Apocalypse was unforgivable.
6. Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
Dan: Rarely do you see a film open with such slick direction and promise that then falls apart faster than a rotting decrepit corpse. Guilty of the same shameless use of characters from the source material as Resident Evil: Apocalypse, this fifth entry in the series is a barrel scrapping story in every sense. Fan favourites Leon Kennedy, Barry Burton, and Ada Wong are chucked into a nonexistent story that also retreads old ground with characters from the first film. In other words it’s a mess of a story held together by bullets and explosions that plays like an overlong music video. Admittedly it can be a fun to watch overlong music video at times thanks to some good fight choreography. Thought had it not been for some decent action and glossy effects, or the release of The Final Chapter this would have been lower.
5. Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
Dan: There are many an issue with Afterlife, it’s fundamentally flawed, predictable and has a bunch of characters who you couldn’t give a damn about. I’ve got no idea what they were trying to do with Chris Redfield, or why they thought it was a good idea for him to be imprisoned but they did it. Not to mention the random inclusion of monsters from the games without any explanation. That being said, if you checked your brain at the door the 3D and shiny action made it all bearable.
Rich: Obviously Paul W.S Anderson saw how well Resident Evil 5 (videogame) had sold and decided now was a good time to inject random enemies from the game into the film. The game was set in Africa… no explanation. So how the enemies ended up in Los Angeles is beyond me. Like Dan said they attempt to force another fan favourite in, that being Chris Redfield, to minimum excitement and they make him seem like a bit of a dick. One thing I can praise the film on is trying to make a story line of the main villain in the series Albert Wesker and the choice to cast Shawn Roberts to play him was excellent. Not the best in the series, but not the worst.
4. Resident Evil: Damnation (2012)
Rich: Following on from what Degeneration started we follow Leon S. Kennedy who sneaks into a Eastern European country following a rumour of Bio-Organic Weapons (B.O.W.s) being used in war. Determined to learn the truth, Leon ignores orders from the U.S government and enters the battlefield to end the chain of atrocities caused by the B.O.W.s. I honestly love this animated universe as it creates it’s own original stories whilst sticking to characters we know and love without absolutely destroying the years of backstory created. As Dan says, these animated films are so good because they play out just like a the game. I’m really not sure what these films would look like in live action but if I had to guess, they would be a whole lot better than the current film franchise. It’s smart, creepy and well-written and certainly lives up to the prestigious Resident Evil name.
3. Resident Evil (2002)
Rich: The film that started it whole. The Resident Evil franchise started on such a high and you can clearly see Paul W.S Anderson did his research on this. The slow lumbering zombies, the single setting of the research facility, the cheesy characters and story and the use and build up of the big bad licker enemies. The basic premise is that a military unit enters a underground research facility to investigate the outbreak of a virus, things start to go downhill pretty quickly with nasty deaths, a quirky mystery and a whole load of Milla Jovovich. The movie does a lot of things right and doesn’t have to be a literal translation of the game. When the film first released this was a bright look at what the franchise could become, sadly what we got was a bit of roller coaster over the next 15 years.
2. Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008)
Dan: Like Resident Evil: Damnation this CG animated feature takes place within the same universe as the games, and not the film adaptations. Degeneration is the first and best of the animated ventures, kick starting sequels Damnation and the impending Vendetta. In the film, Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield find themselves scrambling to save survivors in an airport where an outbreak of the T-virus has occurred. After picking up the pieces Leon and Claire head to WilPharma (the company who bought out Umbrella) to get more vaccines only to find a more sinister plot unravelling. Even if the animation has dated slightly, what makes Degeneration so good is that it plays out like a Resident Evil game, just with a few less scares.
Rich: With the huge success of the Resident Evil 4 (the video-game) in 2005. The universe seemed revitalized and hot on it’s coat tails were a bunch of planned animated features, Degeneration being the first and currently best one. It’s evident that The character model of Leon S. Kennedy is the same as in the game, Capcom and Sony obviously saw and opportunity, ran with it and it totally paid off. Setting itself away from the live action movie franchise and making a mark of its own which stayed true to its roots. Absolutely brilliant.
1. Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
Dan: The third film in the franchise had a big mountain to climb following the calamity of it’s predecessor (I never watched this at the cinema because of how torn I was after Apocalypse), but it succeeded in keeping the series relevant with a reasonably fun film. Highlander director Russell Mulcahy took the reigns of the franchise and did a great job of visually keeping it interesting. Paul W.S. Anderson’s script takes the series into a new setting, a sun soaked adventure through the Nevada desert. In addition to the brighter setting the story expands the franchises mythology, making it less about the T-virus and zombies and more about Project Alice and her superhuman abilities. The influences of Romero’s Day of the Dead are clear for all to see, underground military facilities and assimilating the undead (there can only be one Bub though) play a part in the films story. It’s predictable fare but fun nonetheless. That is if you can see past the shameless Sony product placement in a post apocalyptic world. At least we have a Tyrant though.
So there we have it, all Resident Evil films (so far) ranked. It’d be weird if you didn’t disagree with some of these, if not all, so why not tell us how wrong we got it? Or be kind and tell us which one is your favourite. We don’t mind.