Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City feels like a love letter to the long-running game series with a story that adapts the first two elements of a movie. Along with a post-credit cameo from a classic character, the film also refers to elements from the game’s 25-year history, as iconic heroes flee a city doomed by Umbrella Corporation’s biological experiments.
Director Johannes Roberts has managed to cram a huge amount of Easter eggs into this film, so let’s take a look at some of the more involved ones I can remember after one screening.
A sandwich worth SPOILERS is below.
A STARS sandwich
An early scene with STARS police unit Jill Valentine, Albert Wesker and Chris Redfield sees the trio hang out in a dining room before hell breaks out in Raccoon City. Jill grabs Wesker’s food and takes a bite.
“You slumber, you lose,” she says. “It’s Jill’s sandwich now.
This alludes to one of the most beloved lines in video game history. Early in the original 1996 game, Jill is almost crushed by a trap where she is locked inside a room and the ceiling begins to drop. She is rescued by her colleague Barry Burton (who is disappointingly absent in the film), and he utters the iconic words.
“It was too close, you were almost a Jill sandwich,” he says.
Words to live by.
Classic boss monsters
Another one from Jill. She asks her other STARS members if they prefer to be “swallowed whole by a snake or eaten alive by a white shark.” This is a reference to two of the bosses encountered in the original Resident Evil and its 2002 remake.
You run into the snake several times in the mansion while the shark attacks in the basement of the mansion’s dormitory. In the remake, depending on what character you play as, STARS member Richard Aiken suffers exactly the fates that Jill has described.
The words of the undead
Shortly after Claire Redfield arrives in Raccoon City, she sees a family succumbing to the effects of Umbrella’s gradual infection of the population. Shortly before she attacks Claire, the zombified mother writes “ITCHY TASTY” on the window in blood.
This is a reference to the cool Keeper’s Diary in the original game, where a worker at the umbrella-owned mansion talks about his last days after being infected with the T-Virus. His mental state gradually worsens until he kills and eats one of his colleagues.
“4. Itchy. Tasty,” reads the last post.
During her investigations into the orphanage’s secret laboratory, Claire encounters a projector showing blonde twins pulling the wings of a jeweler and staring into each other’s eyes. It’s more than a little disturbing and seems to have little to do with the rest of the film.
These children are Alexia and Alfred Ashford, and this projected film is almost identical to one seen in 2000’s Resident Evil: Code Veronica. They are members of one of the families that helped found Umbrella, and their story is one of the most complex in the series.
Alexia and Alfred were genetically engineered from the DNA of Veronica Ashford, the late family founder. Alexia turned out to be a supergenius and infected herself with the T-Veronica virus, which would give her superpowers, but only after being in cryostasis for 15 years (which gave her body time to adapt to the virus).
While Alexia was frozen, a grieving Alfred led the family and became mentally unbalanced. He started dressing up as Alexia and talking to her voice so that the twins were reunited in his mind.
During the events of Code Veronica, Alfred is mortally wounded in a confrontation with Claire Redfield. Alexia wakes up just before her death.
With her new virus-induced powers, Alexia fights Chris Redfield and eventually mutates into a yucky goldsmith monster. Chris blows her up in the air with an energy weapon, completes the Ashford line and makes the 15-year-old cryostasis seem like a total waste of time.
Johannes Roberts apparently told SFX Magazine that he is interested in adapting elements of Code Veronica to a sequel.
The G-virus mutated William Birkin seems unstoppable as he attacks the train as our heroes escape the city. Their problem is solved when Leon happens to find a rocket launcher “on first class” and they blow Birkin away for the last time.
This alludes to the Resident Evil tradition of letting you finish its last bosses with a rocket in your face. It is possible that the film’s first – class passengers had an emergency rocket launcher in the event of an eruption. (I accept that it’s a pretty thin rationalization, but this film clearly revel in its own stupidity.)
We have a separate article looking at, but the post-credit scene’s opening image of him sitting upright in his body bag. The premise, camera angle, and lighting reflect the eerie scene that plays out when you load Resident Evil’s 2002 remake.