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Resident Evil, Netflix TV Series

  • jamesyfx
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Resident Evil, the Netflix series.. Reviewed.


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Before I start with the meat of the review, I'll start by saying that (obviously) this review should be taken with a huge pinch of salt, you should watch the show yourself and form your own opinions about it if you're at least curious - simply watching the trailer won't be enough. In fact, a lot of the things in the show don't actually unfold until the final episode!

This will also be a mostly spoiler-free review, I'll keep the review kind of short just to mitigate having to talk about story beats and such.

If you want to watch the show, it's available on Netflix in 8 episodes that are all roughly 50 minutes in length each. The show takes place in both the near-future and the not-too-distant past. There are also other occasions where the show goes back to 1998. It generally follows a woman named Jade Wesker, a survivor who is on a mission to figure out exactly what makes the zeroes (aka Zombies) tick, and if anything can be done to control them. In the present, she is portrayed as a hardened fighter and scientist. We also get to see her past, when she was 14 - this is where we learn about how she came to New Raccoon City with her sister Billie, and father Albert. I'd say it's about half and half the amount of present day and 'in the past' stuff we see.

The world has been overrun by the zeroes, Umbrella are attempting to assert control over the population and are being as secretive as ever about everything. There are pockets of resistance (known as the Brotherhood) that are fighting actively against Umbrella. The Mansion Incident has already occurred by this point and the original Raccoon City has already been destroyed in a nuclear blast (like in the games). The company are now working on a new drug called Joy which is meant to be a one-stop cure-all for depression, anxiety and pain relief. However, it is based on the t-Virus and can cause... well, you know... in large doses. Things happen which causes somebody to get bitten by an infected animal and the story sets in motion from there...

I'll just say this right here, Jade is not a good protagonist. She's selfish, her backstory isn't really that interesting and she seems rather unimportant in the grand scheme of things. What stole the show for me was the portrayal of Albert Wesker by Lance Reddick - his performance is pretty incredible. The way he delivers his lines is so sharp, and I generally think this is one of the most interesting versions of the character we all know and love (to hate). Richard Baxter, a new character played by Turlough Convery also plays an amusing Umbrella grunt is another highlight.

So, how close to the source material is it? I would say it's about 30% of the way - there are references to the series here and there but it's mostly all new stuff. For a lot of critics, this is a detractor but personally I found it to be welcome - we all know the story Capcom wrote by now, something new will allow us to retain that element of surprise and suspense!

Sound and music in the show is good - they make pretty good use of licensed music, we hear stuff from the likes of Billie Eilish and deadmau5 and it all works well. Sound effects are nice and sharp, but meaty and gloopy where it needs to be.

Cinematography is top-notch. The scenes filmed in the clinical Umbrella-owned locations is filled with perfect geometric shapes and the cameras tend to be placed in ways where all of the angles look super sharp. The lighting and effects definitely help for those scenes. Things are a bit less interesting in the 'normal' or 'ravaged' looking locations unfortunately. Overall, it's exactly how I expected it to look.

Would I recommend a watch? If you like the series, yes. With a disclaimer: Don't expect to see anything pulled from the games in any meaningful way. All the references are kind of throwaway, and even the major monsters are kind of shown in a way that if you blink, they're gone. It's still worth around 8 hours of your time. It does pull on some really deep Resident Evil lore and twists them in interesting ways, but if you don't know about that.. well...

It might be worth giving it a miss.

I'll give the show a 6/10. It has some genuinely good moments and its well shot.
 

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