I’m going to be straight with you. I’ve seen all of the Milla Jovovich Resident Evil movies, and even some of the animated stuff, but none of them are all that great. So, when Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City was announced as a sort of reboot to the property, I was cautiously optimistic.
But guess what! That one isn’t great either. Before you get out the rocket launcher, just listen. I don’t go to a video game movie to watch something great. I go to watch something fun. And, from what I’ve seen over the years, most of the Resident Evil movies were at least fun, in a campy, so-bad-it’s-good sort of way.
Now, I wouldn’t say that any of the movies truly capture the spooky spirit of the video games, but I will say this—I do think that most of them are enjoyable. But which ones are the most enjoyable? Well, you’re about to find out.
Oh, and some spoilers up ahead.
7. Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
Starring Milla Jovovich (obviously), Sienna Guillory and Oded Fehr, as Alice, and video game series mainstays Jill Valentine and Carlos Olivera, respectively, Resident Evil: Apocalypse is a complete and utter mess. It should be cool, since it introduces Nemesis, but he looks and moves like something straight out of Battlefield Earth. What the hell happened here?
Immediately following the events of the first movie, the outbreak in Apocalypse has leaked out into Raccoon City, and Alice has to clean up the mess with the help of some new players. There’s a whole lot of explosions, and a whole lot of action, but it’s all bland and unappealing. And don’t get me started on what they did with Nemesis’s origin. How are you going to make one of the most intimidating characters in the entire franchise, and then swerve into that silly reveal? No. Resident Evil: Apocalypse is not so-bad-it’s good. It’s just bad, and there’s nothing fun about it.
6. Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
A lot of people associate the Resident Evil movies with director, Paul W.S. Anderson, which is understandable since he did direct 4 out of the 7 movies. But he actually stepped away from the director’s seat after the first movie, and returned for the fourth entry, which, unfortunately, wasn’t the best return after number 3, which I’ll get to later. Starring Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Wentworth Miller, amongst others, Resident Evil: Afterlife was in 3D, and man does it abuse it, as there’s just so much stuff flying toward the screen.
Resident Evil: Afterlife is pretty popular with the fans since it introduces Chris Redfield (played by Wentworth Miller), and his sister Claire (Ali Larter), and also has them battling against series mainstay antagonist, Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), but it’s just a bit too overblown and confused for its own good.
It definitely leans more into the horror side of things, but with people doing back flips and slicing zombies with swords, it loses whatever horror it was trying to build up. It’s fun, I’ll give it that, but it just feels a bit confused about whether it wants to be more fun or scary. In the end, it doesn’t really succeed on either end.
5. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016)
You don’t have to like Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, but I think you need to respect it. It manages to be the most visually appealing film in the franchise, looking like something that wasn’t specifically filmed to go straight to TV, and it all connects back to the original movie with the Red Queen and the Hive. It even has that cool laser tunnel in the first movie, with Alice (Milla Jovovich) being highly adept at handling it now. Plus, Iain Glen as Dr. Isaacs does a pretty good job of being a mastermind bad guy, wiping out pretty much all of humanity.
So, why is it so low on this list? Well, because of missed potential, that’s why. While it does tie up loose ends, it also leaves some loose ends open, like where the hell was Jill? Where was Leon? There’s also the ending, which pulls a Super Mario Bros. and makes you think there might be a sequel that’s never coming. So, it’s fun, but it’s also frustrating.
4. Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
Resident Evil: Retribution, which stars Li Bingbing, Johann Urb, and Michelle Rodriguez, as video game series favorites, Ada Wong, Leon Kennedy, and in the original movie series, Rain Ocampo (or, at least her clones), respectively, is not as offensive with the 3D as Afterlife was. It might just be because it’s better, story-wise. This one features Alice having to escape the Umbrella Corporation with a little help from her new friends.
This one is really fun. From the suburban aspect early on, to the clones, to the constantly being chased aspect of the film, to the White House stuff, Retribution was always a high point in the cinematic series, and definitely the best of the Paul W.S. Anderson sequels.
3. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (2021)
Directed by Johannes Roberts, and starring Kaya Scodelario, Robbie Amell, and Tom Hopper, among others, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is the closest movie we’ve gotten to the games, but that’s not saying much given the other six films. The story takes place in the '90s, like the first two games, and really leans into it, so that’s appreciated. I also really like the many similarities to the game, like the mansion from the first RE, and the police station from the second.
But… well, it’s the differences that matter. Like Leon Kennedy, played by Avan Jogia. He’s a huge problem, since he doesn’t feel like the cocksure Leon at all (Johann Urb in Retribution was a much better representation). The movie is also really silly at parts when it should be scary. That said, it is fun, and it’s surprisingly funny, which overshadows its cringy moments. I could go for a sequel in this universe, why not?
2. Resident Evil (2002)
The first film in the series, Resident Evil, starring Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez, planted its flag as a totally different beast from the video games early on, featuring laser corridors, kicking dogs in the face, and a brand-new character in Alice. This first film is lean and mean, having the characters break into a facility called the Hive during an outbreak within the lab.
And like I said up top, the film isn’t great, but it is very enjoyable in the same way that the first Mortal Kombat movie was enjoyable. The pacing is brisk, and once you get over the fact that it’s very different from the games, it makes for an enjoyable action horror romp. I would say it’s the best in the series if not for one other entry.
1. Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
Here it is. The crème-de-la-crème of Resident Evil movies. Directed by Russell Mulcahy and starring Milla Jovovich, Mike Epps, Ashanti, and a slew of others, as I mentioned up top, none of the Resident Evil movies are great, but Resident Evil: Extinction is a whole lot of fun. This one finds Alice and her new friends trying to get to Alaska through the desert, but they’re met by a slew of zombies, crows, and monsters along the way. And all of it is enjoyable.
Much like the first movie, Resident Evil: Extinction knows exactly what it is, with this one being a zombified Mad Max. Alice is cool with her new super abilities, and the movie never slows down. It even revels in its silly story, and it never gets bogged down by the Umbrella stuff like some of the other films. Resident Evil: Extinction gets the top spot since it’s the most enjoyable film in the franchise. Simple as that.
But what did you think? Are your favorites in this order? For information on other 2021 movies besides Welcome to Raccoon City, make sure to stop by here often.
Lover of Avatar (The Last Airbender, not the blue people), video games, and anything 90s, he will talk your ear off about Godzilla, so don't get him started.
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