The Resident Evil movies are dreadful. Let's just get that out of the way up-front, because
this scene is one of the best examples of both the flagrant lack of respect for the
source material, and the general ineptitude of this godawful franchise. For the uninitiated,
Paul W. S. Anderson's Resident Evil movies are a series of inaccurate, inconsistent multi-million
dollar self-insert fanfics dedicated to his wife, who starred in the six films and gave
less and less of a shit about actually acting as they went on.
Starring possibly the definitive movie Mary Sue, Alice, the films only draw on the games
for material as a cheap ploy to trick fans into thinking the filmmakers give a single,
solitary shit about the source material: character names and appearances stapled onto characters
whose personalities are nothing like them, enemies thrown in with no consideration for
their origins, and the occasional plot element twisted and mutated beyond recognition.
The closest the films came to being an actual adaptation was the second film, Apocalypse,
which is loosely based on Resi 3. The problem is, the films half-arse even the scant details
they do include, as seen with this brief comparison between the game and film versions of Jill
Valentine being saved in Raccoon City:
Game Jill: "No!"
Game Jill: "That's some good shooting."
Movie Jill: "Who the fuck are you?"
Aside from being an uncharacteristic prick here, Jill was relegated to useless side character
in an adaptation of her own fucking game! The first Resident Evil character to star
in their own game, and she's demoted and made utterly redundant by Alice at every step.
If Jill tries something, it fails and Alice has to fix it. If she does succeed, Alice
has to one-up her because Paul wanted to make his fucking waifu look good. This continued
into the fifth film, where a slightly dazed Jill would defeat Super Saiyan Michelle Rodriguez
by throwing a gun to Alice after the latter had had her fucking heart stopped!
But it's not just Jill they butchered in these films. Let's take a look at the titular character
of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. In the game, Nemesis is the ultimate evolution of the tyrant,
first seen in Resi 1 as an incomplete mindless killing machine. Resi 2 gave us Mr. X, a more
intelligent, more durable version that could be programmed to hunt a specific target. The
trilogy was capped off with an enhanced Mr. X - Nemesis - which is tasked with hunting
down the surviving S.T.A.R.S. members, zeroing in on Jill after disposing of Brad.
Nemesis hounds Jill, showing up at random to attack her over the course of the game,
relentlessly hounding her, constantly repeating that one word - "S.T.A.R.S." - as a representation
of its single-minded obsession. It keeps coming, no matter how much damage she deals to it,
going through two mutations until it's a giant mass of flesh. Jill has to shoot it open with
a rail gun and empty a magnum into its brain to get it to stop, and even then, we don't
know for sure that it died from that before the nuke went off.
In the movie, Nemesis is Matt from the previous film, transformed and directly controlled
via a computer, which really takes away a lot of the intimidation. This humanises the
creature, makes him a victim and more of a puppet than a deranged, obsessed stalker.
Plus, he's never shown to be capable of running here, which doesn't help. Even the haunting
"S.T.A.R.S." is only used the one time when he specifically engages the unit itself. And
as for how he dies? Alice beats him in hand-to-hand, gets through to Matt and he shoots down a
chopper that crashes into him and kills him. I mean, at least the novelisation supposedly
depicts him as surviving until the nuke drops to let him retain some dignity.
As utterly fantastic as the costume was, they failed to translate what made Nemesis such
an iconic, memorable creature that people still want to see in spin-off media. Ultimately,
though, nowhere was this flagrant lack of care, and general ineptitude,more clear than
with the fourth movie, Resident Evil: Afterlife.
Releasing 18 months after Resident Evil 5, the movie takes a lot of elements from the
game, but doesn't consider any of the surrounding context. It includes enemies from the game,
which are Las Plagas-infected Africans, not the series' staple T-Virus-infected Americans,
but the movie doesn't explain that and leaves us to assume that this is an evolution of
the T-Virus (yes, the sequel did mention plagas, but that was likely just in response to complaints
from fans and came far too late).
But the most infamous thing they stole (the word "adapted" isn't nearly earned by these
films) is Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar's fight with Albert Wesker. The movie switches
out Sheva for Chris' younger sister, Claire, but the choreography is almost beat-for-beat
the same. And that just highlights how inept this entire enterprise truly was. Let's break
The fight opens with the two approaching Wesker from behind. The film also has Alice watching
from the sidelines. Wesker says to the duo:
Game Wesker: "You've really become... quite an inconvenience for me."
Movie Wesker: "You've really become quite an inconvenience for me."
In the game, this scene comes at the tail-end of an eight hour campaign, taking place over
multiple days, where Chris and Sheva have been hounding Wesker and eliminating his followers.
It's also the culmination of the decade-long feud Wesker and Chris have had since RE1,
where Wesker betrayed the S.T.A.R.S. unit and got most of them killed. They've had a
few encounters since then, which include a time Wesker threatened Chris' sister, and
one where Chris' partner, Jill, seemingly sacrificed her own life to save his. This
fight leads into the final battle, where Chris and Sheva put down Wesker for good.
In the movie, there's... nothing. Wesker has no connection to either Chris or S.T.A.R.S.
Chris is just some arsehole Alice finds in a prison cell in this movie. The only connection
Wesker has to the Redfields is that Claire knows Alice from the previous film and that
by helping Wesker's nemesis, she's technically also his enemy, even though she was just trying
to lead her convoy to safety and didn't really care about Umbrella. And he's not talking
about just the events of this film because he's been presumed dead since the opening
scene, and all they've done to oppose him is board a ship they didn't even know he owned.
The line stood out in the game as an important acknowledgement of the conflict between protagonist
and antagonist, and highlighted Wesker's unflappable demeanour that we were about to shatter over
the course of the upcoming sequence of boss fights. In the movie, they just took it because
it's cool, without considering how little it works without the surrounding context,
highlighting this further by preceding it with the line:
Movie Wesker: "Well, isn't this one big family reunion."
...despite Wesker having met neither of the two before now. This is why this show was
going to be called "Context is King" originally; because a recurring topic for the show will
be how bad adaptations take elements from the source material, with no thought given
as to how well it works in the new context of the adaptation.
Another great example of this issue is this little exchange of blows here. Chris goes
in low, shoulder-barging Wesker's centre of mass, aiming to use his vast strength to push
his foe back. Chris has bulked up considerably since RE1, figuring that, since he can't match
Wesker's speed, he can at least be sure that if he does manage to get some hits it, they'll
be damn good ones. We see numerous feats of strength from Chris, both before and after
this, so it's quite shocking when Wesker remains rooted to the ground and is barely moved,
making a head motion as if to question if Chris really thought that would work, and
beginning his counterattack.
In the film, however, Wentworth Miller is not nearly on Chris' level, physically. If
anything, he's closest to RE1 live action Chris, i.e. random white dude who happened
to live in Japan at the time. Comparing Movie Chris to Game Chris is really like comparing...
So, not only does him attempting to shove Wesker make not nearly as much sense, but
Wesker's no-selling of the attempt has zero impact. Robert Patrick would be a lot less
imposing if he was throwing Michael Biehn around instead of Arnold, after all. I don't
blame Mr. Miller for any of this, of course. He did his best with what he was given, but
what he was given didn't take into account what made this fight work in the game.
The fight then proceeds pretty much unaltered, until Wesker throws Chris and Claire into
capsules so he can focus on Alice, acting as the culmination of the feud that started
at the end of the previous movie and then continued through two more movies before having
Wesker get killed by a door.
And while we're here, let's also quickly discuss Jill's appearance in the film's stinger to
set up the next film. In Resi 5, Jill is captured by Wesker after tackling him out the window
in the flashback. She is then brainwashed and experimented on by Wesker. Jill is Wesker's
secondary rival, also since the first game. She also has a T-Virus vaccine in her blood,
is Chris' best friend, and just fell into Wesker's lap to give him this opportunity.
Wesker has a lot to gain from brainwashing and experimenting on Jill: a skilled enforcer,
a way to fuck with Chris, and access to a vaccine that could prove useful in crafting
the Uroboros virus.
In the films, once again, there is no connection. She escaped from Raccoon City with Alice and
helped her get out of an Umbrella building in the second film; but she has no connection
to Wesker or Umbrella, was never infected with any virus, barely knows Alice, isn't
known as particularly competent after having every single feat of hers claimed by Quan
Chi, and has to be specifically sought out by Wesker to achieve this goal. At least putting
the control device on Claire made a little bit of sense, but there is absolutely no reason
for Wesker to seek out Jill here. And then, the next film has her working against Wesker
because Paul can't write a consistent story to save his fucking life, so I guess he was
the perfect choice to direct Mortal Kombat...
He's not even a good director either. Despite most of it being lifted directly from the
game, the film version of the fight is woeful, by comparison. The CGI is atrocious, the bullet
dodge effect looks terrible and the choreography is unbearable slow, though that could just
be because the film as more slow-mo than the entire Matrix trilogy combined.
Capcom has this thing they do: a kind of video storyboard where, at least for Resident Evil
and Devil May Cry, they'll film the scene in live action, usually with Japanese stuntmen,
and use that as reference material for the cutscene staff. Resi 5 went so far as to have
the mocap actors dress in full costume, even dyeing Reuben Langdon's hair to match Chris',
and had them perform in front of a greenscreen with the game environment or a stand-in quickly
thrown in behind them.
Imagine for a moment that the actors performed the fight scenes at a slower pace than would
be seen in the final product, as you do when you're learning the choreography, and that
the footage would then be sped up for the final video. Now, imagine taking that unaltered
slow footage, slapping in a background, and putting it in the final product. That's what
this scene looks like in the film.
The scene, ultimately, is a microcosm of the movie franchise as a whole. It's a bad adaptation
whose only interest in the source material is for cheap, shallow fanservice, that can't
even be enjoyed on its own merits because the writing and direction are totally inept.
And this film had a budget of $60 million. This, my friends, is $60 million at work.
Are you excited for Monster Hunter? Fucking don't be.
If they had just made Apocalypse with Alice in place of Jill, this could've worked. Alice
had that connection to Matt, which is a decent enough justification for him hounding her
the way game Nemesis hounds Jill. But they just couldn't resist the temptation to have
their fucking OC upstage the original core characters.