Video game adaptations have had it rough when it comes to both the big and the small screen. None quite more divisive than Resident Evil.
Written by Jack Ransom / July 24, 2022
The iconic survival horror franchise currently has six Milla Jovovich led live action features and a live action 2021 reboot more aesthetically faithful to the source material, starring a new cast that bombe, that still might actually be getting a sequel. Three CGI features, a CGI mini-series and most recently our topic of conversation today: a live action Netflix show.
Netflix has been under a lot of fire recently due to their rampant quantity over quality approach to content and their brazen price hikes, all the while not frequently justifying both these decisions with frequently forgettable fodder or outright poor features. This new Resident Evil series has been the definition of both. I’ll say it outright: I couldn’t and haven’t finished this series fully as it was such a struggle and honestly I think I have seen enough to justify writing this warning for those who might be intrigued or want to take the plunge into this splattery, cringe heavy melodramatic nonsense.
Firstly the most blatantly obvious aspect is that outside of the occasional logo and very occasional recognisable creature appearance this looks and feels nothing like the games. Split between generic post-apocalyptic fodder that you will have seen countless times before and truly cringe-inducing teen drama that is substantially nauseatingly written (and unfortunately makes the leads in the present day plot line thoroughly annoying). The humour and dialogue is also questionable: Zootopia porn? SpongeBob (really?) and bursts of eccentric wackiness that doesn’t fit the fact the series takes a lot of itself incredibly seriously.
This could be forgiven somewhat if the thrills, scares and action was impressive. Admittedly there are some gleefully splattery moments (the locker sequence and a cameo reference to Resident Evil 4’s infamous chainsaw boss), but they are few and far between. Mostly the action is quick cut heavy, doused in darkness and marred by patchy CGI throughout. It lacks bite and grit and barely is a scratch on the gloriously cheesy over-the-top acrobatics of the W.S. Anderson features. Performance-wise you can tell the cast are trying, however they are let down by the screenplay. The only true positive is Lance Reddick as Albert Wesker who is inspired casting.
I know it’s poor for a reviewer like myself to abandon a show, but honestly Resident Evil had sucked all energy and enthusiasm from me within the first episode. It’s baffling to me that this franchise still has not got an adaptation where the fans have universally been on board with it and 2022’s Netflix series is without a doubt the worst of the bunch.