Another T-Virus Outbreak
If you follow me on Twitter then you have seen me post this joke from time to time about Netflix. The joke goes “Netflix: Why are we losing so much money and subscribers?” followed by “Also Netflix:” which features a show or movie nobody asked for and it is guaranteed to be awful. Resident Evil the series is another fine example of Netflix wasting money.
Like the Paul W. S. Anderson movies, the Resident Evil show is basically a work of bad fan fiction with a Hollywood budget. Those films started awful, had an ok sequel, and ended with bad follow-ups. The series starts bad and makes no effort to become any better.
Welcome to New Raccoon City
Resident Evil is split between two stories, one set in 2022 and one set in 2036.
The 2022 story follows twins Billie and Jade Wesker who have moved to New Raccoon City because of their father’s job (Dr. Albert Wesker of the Umbrella Corporation). It’s here that they learn the truth about their father and the work Umbrella is doing. The 2036 story follows Jade trying to survive the aftermath of the T-Virus outbreak that has decimated the world.
The Devil You Know
I’m not expecting a faithful recreation of the games but I would like a work that is faithful to the series. Maybe a side story that is set in the same universe with a blend of new and familiar characters. Instead, all we get are some over budgeted works of awful fan fiction. Always the “masterpiece” of some hack with little experience or an IMDB resume of mediocrity or trash-tier work.
Resident Evil as a Netflix show is devoid of anything that has defined the series. It has a few easter eggs that act as a callback but that is it. Instead, it feels like a bad reboot of 28 Days Later that was rebranded as Resident Evil at the last minute. I say this because all those homages to the iconic movie are present and it feels more natural to the narrative flow.
Our main characters, Billie and Jade Wesker are not that interesting nor do I feel like rooting for them (as adults and as teenagers). As teenagers, they are generic pissy + nihilistic. I mostly attribute this to lazy writers who are probably only aware of teen culture through dated tropes. As adults, they lack any real character beyond what their purpose is in the story. Thus it’s hard to really care about what happens to them during the zombie apocalypse. Their only redeeming quality as characters is they are interesting when compared to Ethan Winters.
Finally one can’t overlook how hard it tries to build tension and act like something is at stake. The problem is when the story is divided between two radically different eras, it’s hard to build the kind of suspense it’s aiming for. Also not helping is you want to do this with characters that are actually likable.
Despite all its problems, it has one redeeming factor and that is Lance Reddick performance as Albert Wesker. This basically the shows only redeeming aspect and for a good reason. When he is on screen, he commands the moment in the little time there is. You know it and so does anyone who has to share the scene with him. It’s during these moments that you will forget what an awful show you are slogging through.
The Netflix adaptation of Resident Evil is another work of bad fan fiction with an unnecessary big budget. It brings nothing of value to the iconic series and instead attempts to mimic the Anderson films. Its only redeeming aspect is the performance of Lance Reddick as Albert Wesker.
Fans of the game should not make my mistake and suffer an entire weekend through this slog of an insult.
Disclaimer: I watched this on Netflix, which I pay for.
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