The GBHBL Definitive Ranking of the Live-Action Resident Evil Movies

The Resident Evil live-action movie franchise… what a mess it is. A money-making mess. Yes, for reasons that make little sense, the Resident Evil live-action movie franchise has made a lot of money over the years. We’re not just talking about the Paul W.S. Anderson/Milla Jovovich series either. 2021’s Welcome to Racoon City made a lot of money too.

It appears the public can’t get enough live-action Resident Evil even if most of the movies are panned both by critics and audiences.

There have been 7 live-action Resident Evil movies to date. The Anderson/Jovovich saga starting with Resident Evil in 2002 and ending with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter in 2016. Before 2021’s Welcome to Racoon City attempt to reboot the franchise.

Are they all terrible? Is there a Resident Evil movie that we thought was good? This is our definitive ranking of the live-action series. As always, ranked by the original score we gave it back when it was reviewed. If two movies scored the same, the ranking will reflect which movie we’d rather watch again.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

7. Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
Reviewed in 2014 – read the full review here
Our Score: 3/10

The first sequel stumbles from one over the top set piece to another with rushed sequences, pointless references to the games & some god-awful acting. All elements of horror were dropped in favour of action…Alice is now the ultimate ass-kicker & the church/Licker scene is laughable. That isn’t even the worst bit, no, the worst bit is when Alice has a Karate fight with the Nemesis at the end & it loses.

Combining elements of Resident Evil 2 & 3 made sense but it’s done poorly. It’s confusing because it seems like Apocalypse was made with fans in mind more than the first & you’re really left wondering who the target audience for this movie is.

The total lack of zombies is unforgivable & a poor interpretation of the Nemesis does the film a lot of harm. The ending is confusing & sets up the next film in the series poorly. A very bad Resident Evil movie.

6. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016)
Reviewed in 2017 – read the full review here
Our Score: 4/10

If you thought previous entries in the franchise were fast paced with few if any moments to breathe, you haven’t seen anything yet! It’s immediately apparent that Resident Evil: The Final Chapter moves at such a quick rate in an attempt to hastily wrap up a story that has become quite a mess.

Another aspect that the pace affects heavily is the newly introduced characters. None of them are developed in the slightest. When each new addition inevitably dies, you’ll realise that was their entire purpose.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is one of the worst movie in the entire franchise. Yes, it is entertaining in the same way that the others were before it. The problem is that it has far too many problems in practically every other department. The characters are worse than ever. The story is predictable yet hard to follow and laughably convenient. The action may be impressive but it just feels so over the top, unrealistic & unnecessary. The biggest crime that it commits is that it does indeed leave it wide open for a future instalment.

5. Welcome to Racoon City (2021)
Reviewed in 2021 – read the full review here
Our Score: 4/10

Taking characters, plot points, locations and story beats from the video game franchise, Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City is the most ‘video-gamey’ Resident Evil adaption you will ever see.

It’s a very busy movie. Trying to jam in 2 whole games’ worth of characters and detail while also giving nods to Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, the 2001 Resident Evil Remake and Resident Evil: Code Veronica. Yet, for all this content, the movie shockingly drags far more than you’d expect. It quickly establishes that it isn’t going to waste its time with characters, seemingly deciding that if you’ve played the game, that’s enough.

Which would be a lazy but fair point if these were actually that recognisable as the characters you know and love/hate.

Fans of the game series will get a kick out of seeing so much put on the big screen but even the most ardent of fans will find themselves muttering ‘steady-on’ as the film goes on. To call it ham-fisted at times, is to overlook just how eye-rolling it is.

They wanted to make a film of Resident Evil that stayed true to the game but forgot that it’s got to be watchable for all audiences too. That’s often the bane of video-game movie adaptions as they try to cater to all. Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City went too far with fan-service while trying to tell a coherent story for those who know nothing of the franchise. It fails at both and can rightfully be called one of the most disappointing video-game movie adaptions in some time.

4. Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
Reviewed in 2014 – read the full review here
Our Score: 5/10

Ask any person who has seen Afterlife what they remember about it & they will likely say two things. The slow-motion shower fight scene & the final battle against Wesker. Both are frustratingly slow & filled with stupid moments that are designed for the 3D audience.

Now as a player of the games this Wesker is pretty true to the version we see in Resident Evil 5 & props have to be given to the actor portraying him but with little backstory given to him, non-game players must have been pretty confused about his role. It’s strange as these movies were originally never made for fans of the game series but seem to be transitioning back towards them now. Just who is Resident Evil made for?

Visually Afterlife is very easy on the eyes with plenty of action but little else to enjoy. The acting is fine throughout except for Chris who is awful, but the movie is suffering from Alice overkill. No-one gets a chance to develop as Alice takes up most of the screen time. A final credit scene does little to inspire the next movie in the franchise either.

3. Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
Reviewed in 2014 – read the full review here
Our Score: 6/10

This instalment of Resident Evil manages to blur the lines between the movies & games even more than previous movies have. Plot wise & setting there is next to no resemblance, yet they keep shoehorning in as many references as they can. It is a very confused film…is it for action movie fans or Resident Evil fans?

It’s almost like they knew themselves that this movie was taking it so far away from the Resident Evil games that they needed to give something that might make a fan watch. The film suffers because of the increase in cast as it still heavily focuses on Alice.

Like the movies before it, Resident Evil is a movie of moments that tries to fit far too much in & as always ends on a cliff-hanger/sequel set-up. It does a lot right but tries far too hard to offer some connection to the games with characters that were extremely un-necessary.

2. Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
Reviewed in 2014 – read the full review here
Our Score: 6/10

The third Resident Evil movie deviates so far from the games it is barely recognisable unless you count zombies, Umbrella & a few other names dropped. Yet it is a vast improvement over the previous film as it makes a welcome return to being more of a zombie flick.

Sure, we have Claire Redfield & Ali Larter does a good portrayal of her but she takes a backseat to Milla’s Alice. The films have made her into a god-like character & any threat to her just seems unbelievable now. She never seems in danger even when fighting the bloody tyrant.

The film has little semblance of horror but does has moments of greatness & visually it can be very easy on the eyes. Zombies look great & the make-up for the Tyrant is excellent. The acting has improved & the story concludes with an interesting sequel set-up.

1. Resident Evil (2002)
Reviewed in 2014 – read the full review here
Our Score: 7/10

The Alice saga begins. Those hoping for something that reflected the video games were left sorely disappointed. Even if it’s a decent movie. The problem lies with the amount of focus given to the character of Alice. She is the star & there is no forgetting that.

That’s not to say there isn’t subtle references & nods to fans of the series if you look hard enough. Obviously, things like zombies, Umbrella, Raccoon City are easy to spot but some of the more subtle ones include a train reference to Code Veronica & newspapers articles that are similar to the ones in the opening of the first game.

The first Resident Evil is a film that wasn’t made with fans in mind. As zombie action movies go, it doesn’t do badly in the end. It’s thrilling enough to keep your attention and holds up well compared to the many of the sequels.




The GBHBL Definitive Ranking of the Live-Action Resident Evil Movies
  • Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) - 3/10
    3/10
  • Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016) - 4/10
    4/10
  • Welcome to Racoon City (2021) - 4/10
    4/10
  • Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010) - 5/10
    5/10
  • Resident Evil: Retribution (2012) - 6/10
    6/10
  • Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) - 6/10
    6/10
  • Resident Evil (2002) - 7/10
    7/10
5/10
User Review
  • Sending
    Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
  • Sending
    Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016)
  • Sending
    Welcome to Racoon City (2021)
  • Sending
    Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
  • Sending
    Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
  • Sending
    Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
  • Sending
    Resident Evil (2002)