Resident Evil Netflix Review: Wesker Steals A Show That Lacks Bite – Feature

Resident Evil Netflix Review: Wesker Steals A Show That Lacks Bite – Feature
resident evil dog
Image: Netflix

Live-action adaptations of the demonic resident The franchise has had a very bad time, huh? Paul W.S. Anderson’s six-movie take on the series, while commercially successful, was widely criticized by game fans and critics alike for straying too far from the tone and scope of Capcom’s source (plus, some of them they were just direct). bad), and the 2021 restart, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon CityIt didn’t fare much better. Despite being significantly more faithful to the games, the Johannes Roberts film was criticized for its writing and its attempts to pack as much fan-service into a single film as possible.

When Netflix announced its own take on Resident Evil via an eight-episode series, fans were understandably skeptical that the streaming giant could pull off what Anderson and Roberts couldn’t. Not only that, but the initial details of the series immediately set off alarm bells: a series centered on the daughters of Albert Wesker? What? It didn’t sound promising, particularly when the showrunners were later promising that the series would tie into game series canon.

RE Licker
Image: Netflix

After having seen the complete series (in almost one session, Phew), we can now confirm that Resident Evil on Netflix is ​​not the disaster many feared it would be. But it’s not good either, not at all. It’s a commendable attempt to break away from the game series’ core narrative in a way that makes sense to newcomers (mainly), but at the same time desperately trying to please longtime fans of the franchise and ultimately failing to nail down its target audience.

In a nutshell, the series takes place over two separate time periods: 2022 and 2036. In 2022, Albert Wesker and his two daughters, Jade and Billie, arrive in New Raccoon City to start a new life. Of course, the evil Umbrella Corporation, led by the delightfully creepy Evelyn Marcus, rules over the city, and sure enough, chaos soon ensues, plunging Jade, Billie, and yes, even Albert, into grave danger. Meanwhile, in 2036, the world has fallen to the deadly T-Virus and monsters roam the land. Jade, separated from her sister Billie, desperately tries to find a cure for the virus and protect her daughter, Bea.

RE Wesker
Image: Netflix

The core premise here is certainly pretty good, especially if you mentally disconnect from the game’s franchise narrative. There’s enough here, in theory, to entice newcomers and keep longtime fans entertained, but unfortunately this Resident Evil squanders much of its potential and proves to be a convoluted mess that focuses too much on the family drama that it does. surrounds the Weskers and not enough on the franchise staple: the monsters. Yes, we know that Wesker has done some things. We are talking about carnivores.

In fact, for much of its runtime, Resident Evil feels very much like a young adult drama wrapped in the visual style of Capcom’s classic franchise. It’s a shame, because there are some great moments and callbacks sprinkled everywhere: Billie playing ‘Moonlight Sonata’ on the piano, a mercenary proclaiming himself the “Unlocking Master”, video footage from 1998 that show the tragic figure of Lisa Trevor. . It’s all done pretty well scene-by-scene, but since the show spends so much time with its main leads’ teenage angst, these moments lose any potential impact and create an awkward juxtaposition with the overall tone of the series. .

RE Jade
Image: Netflix

However, perhaps the worst sin committed by Resident Evil is the simple fact that some of the franchise’s most iconic monsters simply don’t get a chance to shine. Zombies (known as ‘Zeroes’ here) understandably play a prominent role throughout, and we also get to see Zombie Dogs, Lickers, Giant Tarantulas, Dr. Salvador, and even a Tyrant. The problem, however, is that none of them have significant screen time. The Lickers come and go in the blink of an eye, and it’s obvious that Netflix is ​​saving the Tyrant for season two (if it continues at all). It’s frustrating, because they’ve done a tremendous job of making the monsters look true to their video game counterparts, but we don’t get to see them enough.

On the other hand, we have to give credit to Lance Reddick, who wonderfully plays Albert Wesker from start to finish. Just as you start to side with him and root for him, he shifts and displays an intensity that could only be reserved for Resident Evil’s most iconic villain. His presence, given the apparent tie-in to gaming canon, is confusing at first, but the explanation provided midway through was enough to convince us of his validity, even if it’s a bit corny.

Ultimately, Netflix’s Resident Evil is yet another flop in the world of live-action adaptations. Trying to please newcomers and longtime fans alike, it just doesn’t quite land at all. Callbacks to iconic gaming moments are certainly great for veterans, but they accomplish little more than muddy the waters for newcomers to the franchise. On the other hand, the show’s insistence on breaking away from the games’ overarching narrative means that veterans will come away from this feeling crestfallen and, frankly, confused.

It might be time to throw in the towel and accept that we’re never going to have a really great live-action Resident Evil.

Have you seen Resident Evil on Netflix yet? What do you make of it? Let us know with a comment!

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