The first “Resident Evil” live-action movie, based on the zombie video game, hit theatres in 2002. Despite the fact that Milla Jovovich starred in filmmaker Paul W.S. Anderson’s adaptation, which was entertaining enough to inspire a sequel (and many others after that), the movie barely touched the original plot and underwhelmed both gamers and critics. After 20 years, seven live-action films, and around 12 video games, Netflix’s “Resident Evil” series is back to let down the series’ jaded fans once more.
This new eight-episode Netflix series, which was created by Andrew Dabb (“Supernatural”), centres on fraternal twins Jade and Billie Wesker, who are the children of scientist and Umbrella Corporation scientist Albert Wesker. Action-horror spectacles were seen in previous movies, including the recent in “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City.”
However, the “Resident Evil” series has the impression of a YA time-traveling mystery playing out over two timelines.
Both halves of the plot take place in the “past” of 2022, just a few years after Umbrella Corporation devastated the original Raccoon City, and in 2036, during a second zombie outbreak. A desperate attempt to stop the spread of the Tyrant Virus (T-Virus), a hazardous medicine for treating dead cells that has been turned into a bioweapon.
No matter how much or how little you are familiar with “Resident Evil” lore, the series suffers from a meandering storyline, gaping plot holes, and confused execution.
The series begins in 2036 and centres on adult Jade (Ella Balinska), a young mother and researcher who works for The University, a group committed to preserving human history in the face of potential extinction. She gathers information and analyzes T-virus mutations while being away from her family for weeks at a time. In order to avoid being detected by Zeroes (the undead of the “RE” world), Jade periodically sprays herself with pheromone dampener. She accidently cuts herself, though, before finishing her field notes, which draws the quickly moving undead toward her.
The action fast-forwards to 14-year-old fraternal twins Young Jade and Young Billie (Tamara Smart and Siena Agudong), who are sitting in their father Albert Wesker’s car as he drives them to their new home in “New Raccoon City” close to Capetown, South Africa. The bold and rebellious young Jade is strongly devoted to and protective of her sister. Young Billie, in contrast, conceals her uneasiness beneath a nervous smile and a kind attitude. They both possess the extraordinary skill of playing Albert like a piano.
We spend so much time in the past that you nearly forget that future Jade passed out while evading the Zeroes after being struck by a huge zombie caterpillar.
Back in the present, she is rescued by people from a stronghold who recognise her as a “survivor” of the pre-apocalyptic world. They try to give Jade up to Umbrella in return for a safe haven in New Raccoon City, but she is ultimately forced to flee. She runs away for the majority of the season as we hopscotch back and forth to her younger self, who is still discovering Umbrella’s real motives the hard way.
When one side of the story takes place at a certain point in time while the other offers a better grasp of the primary plot, nonlinear storytelling is at its most effective. Unfortunately, “Resident Evil” progressively moves both timelines closer to one another without actually arriving there.
For this, we are left wondering how Jade became a survivor and ended up in the dystopian future, why Billie joined Umbrella, and whether “Joy” is to blame for the current state of the world.
Additionally, the writing compels the characters to continuously make poor choices in order to advance the story. One day, little Billie discovers live rabbits at her father’s workplace. Outraged, she persuades young Jade to help her break into Umbrella Corp (which they do far too easily) in order to rescue the test animals. A decision that has the exact result that you anticipate. Additionally, when Jade in the future bizarrely decides to test a T-Virus antidote on a real zombie in a neighbourhood, this also ends in disaster.
Netflix’s “Resident Evil” series feels contrived and exhausting in contrast to the campy, gruesome Anderson films, which knew exactly what they were.
Resident Evil – Final Verdict
Anime sci-fi thriller Resident Evil Infinite Darkness is a standalone four-part series. Infinite Darkness is a step in the right direction for the upcoming Resident Evil live-action series that Netflix is working on and the live-action film reboot series by Sony Pictures, despite predictability regarding who would serve as an antagonist, the poor performance and animation by certain minor characters, and the imbalance of importance and screen time for our two protagonists.