The Resident Evil franchise has been beloved ever since it started. No longer was gaming just a past-time for kids. Games could be something for an older generation of gamers who had already worked their way through the mostly kid-centric catalog of the NES. Resident Evil was a herald of a new era for gaming.

Despite the fact that it had some really, really bad voice acting and might be just a little bit dated, the gameplay was solid, and the atmosphere was incredible, not to mention it was one of the first entries into the survival horror genre. There have also been tons of movies that have built off of the plots of the games of varying quality. With the videogame movie curse in full effect for a few of them, it’s easy to assume that they’re awful. However, there are few things that the Resident Evil movies got right.

Including Ada Wong And Leon

Ada Wong is one of the most important characters in the franchise, even though we never really know what she’s up to… but neither does Leon! Both of these characters were introduced in Resident Evil 2, which took place in the cityscape of Raccoon City after the outbreak of the T-virus.

Even though Ada is definitely an anti-hero type of character since she works along with Umbrella Corp, she’s constantly helping Leon out in a way that keeps us interested in what her motives are. Both of these characters were also featured in the Resident Evil 2 remake, which is highly recommended.

Claire Redfield Is Great

One of the coolest things about Resident Evil 2’s Claire Redfield is that she’s a civilian. She doesn’t really have any reason for getting into the war between those who value order and safety in the world and Umbrella Corp for any reason other than personal ones.

She’s looking for her brother Chris after the outbreak and really isn’t too sure whether he’s alive or dead. In the films, she has a similar goal. She’s doing her best to lead a convoy of survivors up to what she assumes is a safe-haven in Alaska.

Adapting The Horror Into Action

The thing about the Resident Evil film universe that made it so successful isn’t that it did a great job adapting the games. It also isn’t because the critics loved it or because fans of the series were particularly thrilled with the adaptations. It may not even have been Milla Jovovich as controversial as that may be to say.

She surely had a large part in the success, but she’s intrinsically linked to what made the movies so popular. The films adapted the careful, slow, and usually subtle survival horror into something that could work on the big screen with explosions, giant set pieces, and a whole lot of gunplay. There’s just something about scrounging for ammo for 90 minutes that wouldn’t work in film.

Maintaining Atmosphere

While the films other than the first one are definitely more geared to be action than horror, they all do a great job of providing a certain ambiance. Even when you’ve just made it (barely) through a scrap alive in the games, you never know if you just might be about to end up in a boss room only to realize you have absolutely no ammo.

The films keep this feeling going by making sure that wherever the characters are, you know that they’re desperate, and there’s most likely another life-threatening scrape with death just around the corner. While the zombie animals might not be as effective as Paul W.S. Anderson thinks they are, they could definitely end the whole movie with the main characters being mauled by them if they really wanted to, and it would make sense for the world they’re living in.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse As A Whole

2004’s Resident Evil: Apocalypse is a glorious second part to follow up on the events of the first film, and with Paul W.S. Anderson involved but not in the director’s chair, we’re much less preoccupied with what’s happening to his character Alice.

This gives us time to focus on what else but giant horror setpieces! One of the things these movies do well, and probably the reason the first film holds up as well as it ever did, is that they truly know how to make a grizzly and macabre landscape.

The Pure Evil That Is Umbrella Corp

In the films, Umbrella Corp. is a greedy and wealthy corporate conglomerate that realistically seems like it owns pretty much everything in-universe.

They also purposely started the zombie apocalypse so that they could hit the reset button on humanity, which seems like as good a reason as any when it comes to the half-baked stories in this franchise.

Adapting Video Games To Film

Although Paul W.S. Anderson had already directed a Mortal Kombat film that might not have been very good but was still a lot of fun, there really weren’t many video game films on the market.

Aside from helping to create this trend with the other successful work from the director, it was right at the beginning of the zombie revival of the early 2000s that ran basically into the 2010s.

Straying Away From Video Game Canon

If the film series followed the video game lore too closely, not only would fans would have been annoyed at any slight deviation and casting decision they disagreed with, but we also probably wouldn’t have gotten a film that was nearly this exciting. By creating new characters and plot points, the Resident Evil film franchise becomes something all its own.

Cranking Up The Absurdity

Resident Evil as a film franchise isn’t famous for its subtlety, and that’s probably not a bad thing. It has all the subtlety of like six Michael Bay movies crammed into one. This works to its advantage though.

Why shoot one pistol at a zombie when you could fire 2? Why have a big hulking monolith of a zombie wield just one giant ax? The logic as far as we’re concerned is sound.

None Of The Characters Know What’s Happening

Just like us, when we’re thrown into a Resident Evil game, the characters in these films have absolutely no clue how to tell a zombie from a dog. Sometimes there’s no difference in the films, but that’s beside the point.

The movies mimic the games in that the lore is incredibly confusing, doesn’t really fit together well, and we really don’t remember anyone’s name either. That’s why it’s actually surprisingly helpful to constantly have your characters asking “Ummm… Who is Carlos again?”.