There have been many different movies, shows, projects and spin offs that have tried to adapt the world of the popular video game series “Resident Evil”. Some have been ok, while others have been flat out terrible. As a big fan of the “Resident Evil” games, I have to say, I am disappointed with this show and I believe it falls somewhere in the middle. I honestly think that this should’ve been called anything but “Resident Evil” since the show’s identity is far off from what we know of the “RE” franchise. Something about the show feels largely disconnected with the world it’s basing itself off of and I don’t think that’s a good thing. What we get is a typical, generic zombie flick that doesn’t do too much to set itself apart from other zombie shows. Sure, it has a handful of callbacks and Easter eggs that loosely connects itself to the “RE” series that fans will spot, but I just don’t think it’s enough to consider this show as part of the established world of the franchise in my opinion. The characters are dull, and the writing is rough. Now, while the “Resident Evil” games aren’t groundbreaking in their storytelling or cheesy writing, I half expected for this show to be fun, but it was worse. It was boring. The show takes itself way too seriously which doesn’t really fit the tone I think they should’ve gone for to make it work. Mild spoilers ahead.
We’re quickly introduced to a set of brand new characters to the franchise, Jade and Billie Wesker. We follow their journey as they try adjusting to a new town in which they have just moved to because of their father called Raccoon City. They moved here due to their fathers job at Umbrella’s lab. These characters are the kids of a well known “RE” character called Albert Wesker, who most fans will know from the franchise. Everything else though from a storytelling point of view, is new. While I do appreciate that they are trying to bring something new things and characters into the franchise, I just cannot say it was well done. As I mentioned before, I think that most of the liberties they took with the show fall flat and are mostly a bore. I didn’t care too much for the new characters and their dilemmas, but I did like the sisterly dynamic we got between the young counterparts of Jade and Billie Wesker. The show goes back and forth between present and future, while trying to show us the events that led to the breakout and before shit hit the fan. You know, the usual zombie schlock. The writing doesn’t do to many favors and I wish it did. They went with a straight forward and serious tone, but the writing doesn’t seem to fit this approach. I think that had it been neater, the overall series would’ve landed better for me personally. The acting is fine in those regards since I can tell that the cast are giving it their all with what they were given, which isn’t that much to begin with.
Not everything is bad though. I do think that the CGI and the zombies look good, and much better than the “Resident Evil” movie that was released last year. The pacing is ok, but again, it comes off as very boring, and since the characters are dull to me, I find it hard to really connect to them all. I enjoyed the “future” scenes more than the past ones since we already knew the inevitable would occur, and that eventually the city would be riddled with a zombie outbreak. I don’t see why there was so much leaning on this if we all know the inevitable was going to happen. With that, it kills any stakes the show has. I appreciate the build up of the Wesker sisters, but everything outside of that was just meh.
The show just teeters too much on trying to be “Resident Evil” while at the same time trying to add new things to the world which to me just do not work. The show is another generic zombie series, and if you set your expectations accordingly then you should have no trouble watching this and possibly even enjoying it. Their is quality to some of it’s action pieces so there is effort put into that aspect which I think that fans of the genre will enjoy. If you’re a huge fan of the “Resident Evil” franchise itself, then I’d say this series is a hard pass.
The Resident Evil series premieres on Netflix on July 14th, 2022.