Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Resident Evil Movie Reboot - Part 1


Resident Evil is a Playstation game that was released back in 1996. Its emphasis on puzzle solving and ammo management rather than being a plain shooting game popularised a new type of game genre called Survival Horror. A series of sequels and spin-offs (that progressively got more cinematic and action oriented) were released since then with the newest game, Resident Evil 6 scheduled for this October. A movie partly based on the game was released in 2002 starring Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez. Four subsequent sequels were made with the newest one scheduled to be released this September. Response from fans of the games have been mixed due to the films deviating too much from the game's storyline.

I kinda liked the first two films. The third one was crap. The fourth one was a bit of a guilty pleasure and the fifth one looks that way as well (i.e. hot kickass women with guns).

But I want Resident Evil to have a film reboot that's closer to game's storyline.

If It Was Up To Me Then Here's How I Would Do It

There are simply many Resident Evil games that have been released so to adopt every single one of them would proved to be daunting. Instead, we should look at the overall narrative structure of the game series (so far) and then break it down into several movies/chapters.

The story of Resident Evil can be divided into two major story arcs: Umbrella and Post-Umbrella.

The earlier games had Umbrella serving as the villain while the recent games had focused on various other factions that were trying to claim Umbrella's legacy (from terrorist groups to rival companies). Each arc could be done as a trilogy of films.

Thus, my proposed Resident Evil reboot film series would consist of SIX FILMS/TWO TRILOGIES not unlike the Star Wars saga.

And continuing the Star Wars analogy, the character ALBERT WESKER would be the Darth Vader figure of this series - the character with an arc that unifies the two trilogies. The first trilogy would chronicle his rise while the second trilogy would be about his fall.
Today, I will focus on the first three movies of this proposed Resident Evil film reboot. The latter three movies will be discussed in another post.

So enough 'structure' talk! Let's dive into my plot idea

You have now entered the world of Survival Horror...

The Umbrella Trilogy

'Resident Evil'

According to the games' chronology, the story starts at Resident Evil 0. But I prefer to ignore that event and just start the film reboot with the original game because it is much more iconic and the events of Resident Evil 0 can easily be inconsequentially ignored.


Largely based on the plot of the original game (and its brilliant looking Gamecube remake), a special SWAT type team called STARS (Special Tactics And Rescue Service) is deployed into the Arklay forest at the outskirts of Raccoon City to find their missing comrades when they disappeared while investigating a series of gruesome murders in the area. Not long, the team is ambushed by a pack of zombie dogs and were forced to take refuge in a mansion randomly found in the middle of the forest. The survivors (Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Barry Burton and team captain Albert Wesker) finds out that the mansion, of course, is filled with zombies and monsters.

The STARS would be separated and the movie would intercut between two storylines: Jill Valentine/Barry Burton and Chris Redfield/Rebecca Chambers. Wesker would be with Jill and Barry on the first half of the movie until something got them separated in which he then meet up with Chris for the second half of the movie. Wesker would then betray Chris and left him to fend against a BOW by himself - this is where we could lay the foundation for the personal animosity between those two characters.

Wesker would then go to the Tyrant lab and this is where he will subsequently fake his death in front of Jill and Barry. Characters like Richard, Forest and Enrico should make appearances as well. Richard would play the same self-sacrificing role from the game, Enrico would be the 'exposition man' of the movie and Forest...we need a cocky asshole type of character as an excuse for an awesome gory death scene.


A Resident Evil movie should be a classic haunted house movie where the setting is a character itself. It should take inspirations from movies like 'Alien' and 'The Shining' for the right tone and atmosphere. I also think that a Resident Evil movie should also take some cues from the recent Indonesian cult action movie, 'The Raid' in terms of the pacing - alternating between slow tensions and explosive actions. That would work well in a Resident Evil movie where 'monster battle' set pieces would be connected with intense 'what-lurks-on-the-corner-of-the-corridor' scenes.

And just like The Raid, these STARS guys should be equipped with lots of firepower in the beginning and are then forced to get their hands dirty fighting these monsters. I don't mean Chris Redfield Kung Fu-ing the, I meant that I want to see our heroes eventually use whatever object they can find in the mansion and use it as a weapon. This is of course the opposite of the games where you start with a handgun and work your way up once you start finding all these powerful weapons and ammos. That works in a game where it acts as mini rewards when you progress towards the end. It's the opposite for a movie - the more worse or desperate it gets, the higher the stakes and drama.

Bottom Line: The first movie of a Resident Evil reboot should be based on Resident Evil/REmake and takes inspiration from movies like Alien, The Shining and The Raid.

'RE: City of the Dead'

If Resident Evil is 'Alien' then the sequel should be 'Aliens'. If the first movie is a classic haunted house horror then the sequel is a post-apocalyptic survivor story featuring a diverse group of survivors. This one should be easier to get right as you can basically rip from every multi-character zombie stories from The Walking Dead to the Romero movies.


Loosely based on RE2 and RE3, there's a zombie outbreak in Raccoon City and it's up to Jill Valentine to lead a band of survivors out of the city while being pursued by a mysterious BioOrganic Weapon (BOW) called Nemesis. First half of movie will mostly set in the city where Jill tries to lead the band of survivors to the rescue choppers waiting for them. If you're familiar with the game then you'll know that Nemesis basically blows up that chopper. The second half takes our heroes underground and eventually into Umbrella's secret underground lab. Sherry's infection of the G-Virus would force our heroes to find a vaccine deep in Umbrella's lab where they will learn about Sherry's parents - Dr. William and Dr. Annette Birkin.

Yes, a G-virus William Birkin vs Nemesis would be epic.

So it's RE3-ish in the first half and RE2-ish in the second half.


Jill would be leading a band of diverse characters so getting an interesting dynamic between the characters would be important. JILL would be the leader who knows more about what's going on. LEON would be the young idealistic cop (a rookie but not his first day on the job) and act as the moral center of the group. Think Joseph Gordon Levitt's character in The Dark Knight Rises and you'll get the idea of what Leon's character would serve in this ensemble. CLAIRE would be the heart of the movie and she would have an interesting sister-like relationship with Jill and SHERRY. She would relatively be in the background during the first half but when the second half kicks in with Sherry getting infected with the G-Virus, Claire will step up and becomes one of the most heroic character in the movie.

CARLOS could serve as that pessimistic character in the vein of Hudson from 'Aliens'. But he gets a redeeming moment towards the end. Could either die or live. ADA would definitely be the mysterious wild card that occasionally butt heads with JILL. No one fully trust her but she doesn't mind because she's just joining the group as a means to an end. But she starts to open up a little when Leon actually shows genuine trust and affection for her. This makes her inevitable betrayal more heartbreaking because just as she gets humanized, the bitch stuck to her mission and hurt Leon's feelings.

We could cherry pick some characters from RE Outbreak to round up the group dynamics: Jim as the comic relief, Mark as the wise old guy and George as the everyman doctor. Alyssa the reporter and Yoko, mysterious Japanese girl with connection to Umbrella could also be featured.

Bottom line: The sequel should be a mash up of RE2/RE3 featuring Jill leading a band of survivors including fan favourites like Leon, Claire and Ada while being chased by Nemesis. What started as a simple mission to find rescue ends up being a mission to save a girl's life (Sherry) and uncover the secrets of Umbrella.

The final scene would be Ada meeting her boss....ALBERT WESKER. Would make a great cliffhanger that leads us to the third movie.

'RE: Umbrella Fall'


Loosely based on Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles and Code Veronica, it begins with Wesker being resurrected with enhanced strength at the end of the first movie. The first five to ten minutes would show his escape from the mansion.

Flashforward to an action sequence involving a raid at a secret Umbrella meeting by Leon and Claire. Claire gets captured and sent to a prison at the last Umbrella facility run by Alfred Ashford (grandson of one of the founders of Umbrella) at Siberia. CHRIS, JILL, LEON and KRAUSER an Anti-Umbrella military group raids the Siberian facility. In desperation, Umbrella releases its BOWs. In the middle of this chaos, Wesker takes the opportunity to sneak in and obtain Umbrella's data files.

So there would be three plotlines:

  • Claire and fellow prisoner Steve goes through Alfred's mansion and uncover his twisted secrets
  • Chris, Jill, Leon and Krauser in an action packed fight against BOWs
  • Albert Wesker snoops around while having occasional flashbacks of his friendship with Dr. William Birkin (Sherry's father) past with Umbrella.
Ending: Chris, Jill and Wesker defeats Alexia Ashford, Krauser is injured but meets Wesker and ally with him, Wesker gets all  Umbrella's data files, Umbrella falls.

Bottom line: The third movie that chronicles the fall of Umbrella would be an epic mashup of Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles, Code Veronica, DarkSide Chronicles, Wesker's Report.


As you can see, I believe that a film reboot of Resident Evil should follow closer (not exactly) to the plot and characters of the games. Each movie would also have different tone and scope.

The next three movies will focus on the fallout of Umbrella's fall and Wesker implementing his diabolical plan. I will talk about this in another post.

In the meantime, you can check out my casting suggestions for a Resident Evil movie back in 2007: Over Here and Here.



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