Resident Evil Movie Order

The greatest worst franchise ever.

by Gabriel Rodrigues

Resident Evil is one of the most popular videogame franchises ever, but the movies didn’t have the same luck. To say the least, they are awful, but that’s what makes them so good. The franchise has seven live actions and three animated movies filled to the brim with clumsy storytelling, WTF moments, continuity errors, and the funniest scenes you will ever see.

Live Action Movies

They are composed of 6 films from the original series, mostly directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, and a recent 2021 remake directed by Johannes Roberts.

Resident Evil (2002)

The most decent movie in the franchise, Resident Evil follows a new character, Alice, who has no memories and is suddenly tasked with stopping a virus outbreak. Her team only has three hours to deal with it and the rogue AI Red Queen (who has villainous and remarkable lines like “I’ve been a bad, bad girl”).

The movie has some good action scenes and mostly avoids the confusing continuity errors and storyline that are a staple of the other movies. Also, it has the memorable mortal laser scene; if you haven’t seen it yet, you’re just wrong.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

One of the only movies in the original series that Paul W. S. Anderson didn’t direct, Apocalypse is the most fun movie on the list. Alexander Witt, the new director, puts Alice, Jill Valentine, and other characters through a wild mission of rescuing the daughter of the mutating T-virus creator. The movie is a lesson on camp; everything is so over the top and nonsensical that you can’t contain your excitement and laughs.

But the icing on the cake is Nemesis. Your favorite giant zombie with a rocket launcher has every proportion wrong and a terrible background story that isn’t as dramatic as the director expected it would be. (Please, realize everything bad being said here is actually good in a weird way). The monster has an unreal fistfight with Alice that only fails to be the best boss fight in the series because Afterlife abuses its slow-motion effects and soundtrack.

Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

Yes, Russell Mulcahy, the director of Highlander, made a Resident Evil movie. And look at his filmography, the man likes his desert setting. We can’t blame him for trying to bring that to Extinction. This one is probably the wildest of the franchise. The movie starts with a captured Alice remembering her past and trying to escape a facility, but then she dies, and we find out Umbrella Corporation is making hundreds of clones of her.

After the catastrophe in Racoon City in the second movie, the world turns into a giant desert, and Alice and the other characters have to find a way to defeat Umbrella. You won’t be able to hold your laugh when you realize it completely ignores the ending of the second movie; seriously, it doesn’t even try to quickly explain what happened. But, if you thought clones were overkill, Alice also starts developing psychic powers.

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

Alice, Chris, and Claire Redfield are in Los Angeles trying to survive the undead and find a safe haven. Paul W. S. Anderson is back and practically buries the clone plot in the first ten minutes; that way, he can deal with more “down to earth” (if that truly exists in the franchise) situations.

Afterlife features two of the most incredible boss fights put into a movie. Alice and Claire’s fight against the Axeman seems to come straight out of a video game. The memory of it will get etched in your brain. But we couldn’t leave off the battle against demonic Wesker and zombie dogs; it’s a work of art. It manages to be campier than the whole second movie.

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)

It never dies out, but obviously, the series would get a bit less fun with time. As always the T-virus is ravaging Earth, and Umbrella Corp is messing things up. Alice is put in a simulation and meets past friends and allies, not to mention she fights Axeman again. It marks the return of Jill Valentine (but she doesn’t look like Jill at all, so it’ll take a while for you to actually care it’s her) and the first appearance of Ada Wong.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016)

Alice is one of the only survivors in the world full of undead and has to gather forces with new and familiar faces to stop Umbrella Corp and Wesker for good. Milla Jovovich’s last appearance in the franchise is full of the best continuity errors, bad dialogues, and death scenes. The movie should be called Resident Evil: Final Destination; it’s obligatory you watch this, even if only for the deaths (there’s even someone cut in pieces by a giant fan). Slasher fans, this might be your thing.

And don’t worry, the ending is just as bad and nonsensical as you could expect.

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (2021)

Finally, the 2021 remake. Welcome to Raccoon City tries to correct the mistakes (successes?) of the other movies by bringing all the beloved characters and settings. But they still fail at that. Claire, with the help of her brother Chris and other police officers, investigates an orphanage and a lab run by Umbrella Corp while fighting against the horde of zombies infesting Raccoon City.

It has a very different feel from the other movies, but it still has many surreal situations, and the character treatment is really funny, mainly Leon’s. He’s not like in the games at all, but weirdly, he’s all he needed to be. Of course, if you watch these movies expecting to see what you love in the games, you’ll get angry, but as a movie franchise, it does the worst thing in the best way possible.

Animated Movies

The franchise also has three Japanese animated movies. Though most of them aren’t as fun as the live actions, they are still worth a watch.

Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008)

If you had to choose one to not watch, you should pick this one. Unlike the others, it just isn’t even bad enough to be good. Leon and Claire deal with a rogue team seeking revenge; the movie attempts to make you care about all of their background and sob stories, but they are as weak as the whole story. The trilogy started as bad as it could and never reached the campiness level the live action franchise had, but it does get better.

Resident Evil: Damnation (2012)

Leon investigates biological weapons used in a European civil war. If you love your Resident Evil bosses and still haven’t recovered from what the franchise did to Nemesis, Leon fights Tyrants in this and is GREAT. The action mixes itself with the really exaggerated situation, and it gets way more fun. This is also the only movie that attempts to criticize something and have a message; even if it’s not done incredibly well, you gotta love it for trying.

They all have different unrelated stories, so you can watch whichever you want. This is probably the best one.

Resident Evil: Vendetta (2017)

Watch it for the Breaking Bad joke. It doesn’t matter that it only lasts for 40 seconds. The latest animated movie of the series brings Chris Redfield as a protagonist for the first time. The action is well done enough, and the drama isn’t awful (although it isn’t great, as things should be in this franchise). As mentioned before, these animated movies are definitely weaker than the live action series, but they are still worth a watch. If you appreciate the franchise to the point of considering watching these, you’ll like them.

Resident Evil also has two Netflix shows, an animated adaptation called Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness and a live action version released in 2022.

- This article was updated on January 19th, 2023

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