RESIDENT EVIL Exposes Everything Wrong With Netflix Adaptations
Published: August 10, 2022
RESIDENT EVIL Exposes Everything Wrong With Netflix Adaptations
By Trevor Jones, Movieguide® Contributor
RESIDENT EVIL is a 2022 Netflix original action horror series that nobody asked for. It follows Jade Wesker (Ella Balinska), a tough-as-nails survivor in a zombie-infested world. At first, the Wesker Family moves into New Raccoon City, a company-operated neighborhood. Jade’s scientist father Albert Wesker helps with the company’s covert medical research. However, Jade blows the whistle on the company’s secret bioweapon, the “T-virus.” Fourteen years later, Jade struggles to cure the outbreak and her strained relationship with her father.
The live action RESIDENT EVIL show is loosely based on the Japanese horror game franchise of the same name. The series incorporates elements from the games such as zombies, an evil medical establishment, and campy B-movie action. These “connections” cannot mask the show’s subpar quality.
RESIDENT EVIL is yet another casualty of the “Netflix Adaptation” machine. It is littered with juvenile humor, excessive gore, and flat-out nonsensical writing. The show flips between amusingly bad gunfights to overdramatic teen drama. It is as if the story was AI-generated. The special monster effects and cinematography are quite impressive. Yet, they are not enough to cover its moral pitfalls. MOVIEGUIDE(R) urges teens and adults to bury this series six feet under.
The first season of RESIDENT EVIL takes place in a world ravaged by the “T-virus”. This bioweapon was created by Umbrella, a corrupt medical organization motivated by greed. The story is split into two timeframes, the pre-outbreak of 2022 and the post-apocalypse of 2036. In 2022, 14-year-old twins Jade and Billie Wesker investigate Umbrella’s illegal animal experiments. The two girls throw themselves into overdramatic high school drama while questioning their father’s involvement in Umbrella. The sisters fail to stop Umbrella from unleashing the bioweapon.
In the “present day” 2036, the T-virus turned most of humanity into bloodthirsty zombies. Jade Wesker skirts around a ravaged South Africa while finding a cure for the manufactured disease. Meanwhile, Umbrella is the dominant military force of the world. The company issues a manhunt over Jade due to her intervention in 2022. Jade fends off the authorities while reconciling her past mistakes with father and sister.
In terms of worldview, RESIDENT EVIL is nihilistic and morally lazy. The Wesker family utters multiple “F” bombs, backstabs their allies constantly, and have zero redeeming values. The zombies are shot and amputated in extremely bloody fashion. Jade uncovers inhumane animal monsters, human tissue disintegration, and gory corpses. Albert Wesker tries giving his daughters sound relationship advice, but they disobey him on numerous occasions. Albert realizes his immense guilt near the end, but that does not excuse his compliance with Umbrella.
Even the show is not consistent with holding its immoral characters accountable. In the “present” storyline, Jade conducts a “cure” experiment on a zombie. The zombie goes haywire and bites off one of her innocent crewmates. Jade’s friends are initially shocked, but one episode later, this incident is never brought up again. In the past or present, Jade “flips the bird” to her enemies. She tries to reconcile with her sister and
father, but this does not go anywhere. Other than “forced” bits of comedic relief, the show is devoid of positive behaviors.
Does RESIDENT EVIL have any redeeming factors? The biggest positive is its monster effects. The zombies are fast, deadly, and provide a credible threat. The action sequences are well choreographed and provide relief from the terrible writing. The series excels from a production front. Another saving grace is the acting. The Wesker family delivers solid performances for otherwise embarrassing lines.
RESIDENT EVIL’S biggest culprit is the bone-headed writing. Where does one begin? Firstly, Umbrella has the worst security system of all time. In the first episode, teenagers Jade and Billie sneak into the company facility with no issue. The sisters discover a cage of a deadly mutant dog. They open the cage and the dog attacks them. The sisters kill the dog and escape the building. None of the security guards noticed this incident. Umbrella is a multi-billion dollar company but has no security budget.
Half of RESIDENT EVIL’s script feels like it was generated by Netflix’s content algorithm. At certain points, the main female characters will name drop “white privilege,” the vegan lifestyle, and “consuming Zootopia porn” (this is an actual line, by the way). On one occasion, a prison guard touts himself as “the master of unlocking” (a reference to the first RE game). It is like the writers ran the script through a “Twitter buzzword” algorithm and called it a day. This approach is great for “internet memes”, but a terrible approach to making a coherent story.
The final nail to RESIDENT EVIL’S coffin is its poor balance of serious and absurdist elements. Near the end, Dr. Wesker reveals he cloned himself several times for Umbrella research. These clones lack screen time and are killed in the same nonchalant fashion. Also, one of the Albert clones rips off Wesley Snipes’ noir wardrobe from Marvel’s BLADE (1998). Whether this costume was intentional or not, it symbolizes the show’s lack of originality. In the final episode, Billie captures Jade for revenge. Billie dances to a “Dua Lipa” song for 30 seconds and then returns to her villain monologue. It is THAT jarring.
In conclusion, RESIDENT EVIL is another victim of Netflix’s lack of quality control. The show is filled with unlikeable characters, an inconsistent tone, and writing that feels like it was AI generated. It might have competent acting and great monster effects but soaks itself with extreme violence and immoral actions. Even for viewers not unfamiliar with the games, this show is an utter embarrassment. Movieguide® urges teens and adults to avoid this corpse of a series.
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