Spoilers for the season ahead.
It’s fitting that the last film I reviewed and described as complete shitass is Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City, and I can’t help but think that if I had seen the Netflix series before I watched that movie, that I might have given it a slightly higher score. A C+ even. Resident Evil films don’t get high reviews here at How About Notflix, not least of which being that I’ve only reviewed two of them and gave them a C- and a D respectively. If I had reviewed the Paul WS Anderson films those might all fall into the C- and D rating. Most of the animated movies would receive a D- to an F.
The Netflix Resident Evil series is complete shitass, and what really drove it over the edge for me is that it was a full season TV show. Had this been a mere 90-120 minute film it might be just a subpar horror movie wearing the thinly veiled flesh of Resident Evil. But at eight hours of boredom torture, it really makes you wonder how this season made it all the way from concept to completion with nobody stepping in and realizing what a pile of trash it is. It’s probably all the incompetent nitwits Netflix hires to produce their shows. And to top it off, the show doesn’t even have the integrity to wrap up the season in a way that comes close to appreciable. I hope this show doesn’t get a second season. In fact I’d be fine if Andrew Dabb slammed his writing hand in a heavy dresser drawer.
Resident Evil comes to us from Andrew Dabb, a guy whose television experience includes the last four seasons of Supernatural and nothing else. This explains a lot. Andrew’s job is to perpetuate the Netflix meme of hiring a bearded white guy in glasses to oversee production of a soulless, cynical adaptation that gives the middle finger to the franchise’s fans, pays lip service to the idea of diversity, inserts tons of original characters nobody cares about, and only carries vestigial relations to the property it’s supposed to be based off of. Oh and to insert a lot of diverse characters for the sake of diversity, because when the talentless writer’s talentless writing gets criticized they can always fall back on just calling critics racist. The white people at the top get their paychecks, the primarily not-white actors generally get all the harassment, and they move on to the next dumpster fire.
The talk about Resident Evil when it was first revealed centered around two things; how the CG monsters looked pretty good and that Albert Wesker was now black and the show would center primarily around his daughters. And yeah, I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that there are some racist people upset about black Wesker for racist reasons. But the majority of people upset about the decision saw it for what it was; the standard cynical MO of Netflix. Netflix executives don’t personally care about diversity, they just leverage it hoping it’ll make them maximum income. If Netflix existed in 1940s Germany the same executives would be happily pumping out Nazi propaganda films to generate revenue. If you don’t believe me, look at how very quickly Netflix went scorched earth on so called “woke” creators at the company and the specific productions they targeted after that awful earnings report. I figure we’re constantly less than two weeks away from having it leaked how much CEO Reed Hastings says the n-word behind closed doors.
For me, the fact that Lance Reddick was cast as Albert Wesker softened the blow to an extent. It’s like hearing that your Burger King burger got burned to a crisp, but they’re going to cook you a wagyu burger someone found shoved in the back of the freezer as a replacement. And if you assumed Reddick would steal the show, well you’re right. He absolutely does. To the extent that I really don’t want to talk too deeply about the acting of the rest of the cast because it’d be like rating the dishes of a Mongolian Buffet but one that inexplicably had fresh lobster tail as one of the items. I just got so numb at one point that the acting chops of the other actors stopped being important.
Enough food analogies. Resident Evil is an eight episode season that splits the show between two timelines. The 2022 timeline takes place before the fall of civilization where Billie (Siena Agudong) and Jade (Tamara Smart) Wesker do stupid teen shit. You know the deal; they argue with dad, they deal with bullies at school, sneak out of the house to go to a party, they break into a top secret research facility because Billie is vegan, and Billie gets savaged by a zombie dog. All the normal stuff teens deal with. So Billie gets bitten and much of the plot is the two learning about dad’s secret life, what Umbrella is up to with its upcoming drug Joy (it’s the T-Virus) and whether or not Billie will succumb to the virus. Spoiler; she don’t.
One thing the show does solidify is that everyone in the Resident Evil universe is dumber than a sack of diapers. Dumber than a DVD rewinder. Dumber than Jaden Smith with a concussion. At one point during the season the show starts making direct references to Raccoon City, the original city that Resident Evil 2 and 3 took place in. Those events actually happened in this canon, where the zombie outbreak happened and everyone died. In the video game, Raccoon City is nuked with the full story covered up as a different disease. The incident does lead to Umbrella going bankrupt and the president who helped cover up the incident resigning. In the show, the very nuking of the city is somehow covered up and explained as the result of a gas leak. Nah, bruh. There’s a lot of things you can cover up. A city being nuked, something that would’ve been very visible to people in neighboring cities, is not one of them.
The other half of the story fixates primarily on adult Jade (Ella Balinska) being a zombie movie stupid moron researching zombies to try to find a cure. The show introduces an idea that zombies, while being mostly blind now, are hypersensitive to blood. Jade gives a rabbit a single cut and it draws out about a hundred zombies from within a closed off building in mere minutes. Jade observes the pack from about 50 feet away in plain sight, having absolutely no cover to speak of, defensive position in case anything goes wrong, or real plan of escape in case anything goes wrong. She cuts herself standing up, leading to the dumbest chase and culminating in her setting off a trap that incinerates all the zombies. “Six months of research down the toilet!” she screams, like an absolute moron, before presumably going to eat her rations of Elmer’s Glue.
It’s hard to care about adult Jade because she is quite possibly the stupidest person alive in this future even by zombie movie standards. It’s really impressive how much her stupidity gets people killed, and her daughter Bea inherits her mother’s traits of being a blithering dumbass and in her only real scene of importance also gets someone killed. She is constantly doing stupid stuff that gets her knocked out, only for things to work out in the end. A convenient car, zombies attacking one at a time instead of swarming like normal, an explosion that conveniently liquifies all the zombies, a group of bandits that show up just as her knocked-out ass is going to be eaten, etc. We get that blurry stunned vision moment so many times that it loses all tension by the fourth or fifth go through.
For what it’s worth, the CG monsters of the show look pretty impressive. The show does cock tease us by showing off the Tyrant and then never using him, clearly setting him up for a season 2 debut.
Only occasionally does Resident Evil remind us that it’s a Resident Evil thing, outside of the constant references to Umbrella and New Raccoon City. The series main antagonist is Dr. Evelyn Marcus, daughter of James Marcus, the guy we met in Resident Evil 0 who never had a child until now. Billie and Jade play Moonlight Sonata on the piano at one point to solve a puzzle. Yeah, at one point they find that their dad had a contingency plan in case he was killed and Umbrella came after Billie, which involved a series of riddles in the house that they’d have to figure out before the cops showed up in the closed community to arrest them. Jesus Christ. Umbrella guy Richard Baxter (Turlough Convery) calls himself the master of unlocking and at one point wields the Red 9 from RE4.
The chainsaw guy from Resident Evil 4 also shows up as another cynical reference, sticking out like a stupid sore thumb. The whole area is dressed like bandits with jeans and shawls and stuff, and here’s a guy dressed like a rural Spanish farmer with a cloth sack over his head who sacrifices zombies to the alpha zombie with the convoluted process of a chainsaw. Complete idiocy. At the end of the series we get name dropped Ada Wong.
The flashback scenes ruin the pacing and the flow of the show, especially given how much of the show they take up. So much of Resident Evil is dedicated to The CW teen drama, with Jade falling for the cute guy who is also a nerd that can hack anything because he can including giving real-time in-depth explanation of what’s on Albert Wesker’s laptop as he’s hacking it. The Umbrella facility has no security despite their previous issues. Yet another zombie incident is kicked off by a vegan trying to play investigative activist. There is some dog-ass level writing for character dialogue, with references to Zootopia porn and Lululemon being dropped at the dumbest points and ensuring this show only gets more ridicule.
Resident Evil is two stories running concurrently, neither of whom have characters you care about or a plot that feels like it had any creativity or thought put into it. It flashes back and forth so many times that it’s impossible to get what little grip you might have had on either thread or for a minute maybe give a crap.
My favorite character scene involves Richard Baxter in the prison during the zombie outbreak where the dude just goes full sicko mode and pulls off what might be the greatest action scene in this show. Baxter has been given the nickname John Thicc by the internet because he’s a tubby guy who kinda looks like Jack Black but suddenly goes into John Wick mode and pulls off a ridiculous killing spree against the zombies. He later gets killed because he’s too fat to pull himself up a ladder, but for a brief moment Resident Evil falls into that sort of good schlock, watching Baxter drop all pretense of reality, grab a zombie and break its neck over his shoulder, dual wield pistols with unrealistic amounts of ammo in a clip, while basically dancing, and just wiping out zombies and bandits without breaking a sweat and having the time of his life doing it.
Resident Evil on Netflix is dumb, stupid, garbage pants shitass with no redeeming qualities that wastes an astonishing eight hours of your life. It has nothing to do with the Resident Evil games and was clearly not made by a person who cares about the series or its fans. If you do watch it, I guarantee you’ll be bored out of it by the end of the first or second episode.