The latest horror series offering from streaming platform Netflix is a variant of the popular 1990s video game, Resident Evil. The franchise has seen several instalments beyond the gaming platform bearing seven feature films and an animated tv series. Fans of the aroe-mentioned game may however, find that this version or re-imagining is a far cry from the platform shoot em up that they have come to love as this alternate view of the world bears little resemblance with the exception of the hidden power and evil pharmaceutical company, Umbrella Corporation.
Where loyal devotees of the franchise will grimace at the bastardisation of their beloved world is mainly through the alterations of some of the characters and the choices to place the central storyline creating a very different beast.
This all said and done, the end result is actually quite entertaining, and while the plotline makes some suspicious turns towards its cliffhanger conclusion. (Hopes of a further season left in the balance of popularity).
The premise is split between two timelines, present day (2022) and 2036. The past timeline is centred primarily on two half-twin siblings Billie (Sienna Agudong) and Jade (Tamara Smart – Are You Afraid of the Dark?), daughters of Albert Wesker. When they are relocated to New Raccoon City, they soon discover that all is not as it seems at their father’s place of work. The more they uncover, the darker their world becomes and the further they begin to stray. Can their loyalty and bloodline stand the test of time?
The future timeline in 2036 follows an older Jade (Ella Balinska), part of an underground movement studying the zombies known as zeroes following the apocalyptic humankind; now reduced to just 300 million people worldwide. The biggest big bad Umbrella Corporation are now a strong militia force and they seem hellbent in finding Jade and bringing her back with them.
There are some nice moments or flashes in the pan that elevate this series on occasion, such as Baxter (Turlough Convery) starts off as a man who is just calling the shots, but proves he’s just as badass when it comes to hand to hand combat. Lance Reddick as Albert Wesker, is stoic and commanding in his role and I’ve been an avid fan of his since The Wire.
The more impactful moments come around through older Jade’s plight in the urban wilderness as she struggles from one unfortunate event to another, in her fight to end her tour and join her family at the University.
Yes, it has its flaws and its not exactly highbrow fodder, aimed to strain the cranium to its pull potential.
What it does offer is entertainment with some notable good humoured quips along the way. When it resonates, it does so well, but needless to say, there will no doubt be an uprising from the Resident Evil faithful, looking for a more truthful adaptation. There will be rage and anger at this adaptation, but perhaps they should just assimilate to change and accept the Joy on offer.
- Saul Muerte