A Total Waste – Review of “Resident Evil (2022)”

Source: IMDB

When I heard that Netflix was producing a live-action series for the Resident Evil franchise, my hope was that it would turn out better than the last property to come out of that franchise, the animated miniseries Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness. Sadly, Resident Evil (2022) is an unmitigated disaster with a single bright spot throughout its eight-episode run time. There are a myriad of problems plaguing this series, making this one of the few times I’ve written a bad review for a show I watched.

Spoilers ahead, so here’s your obligatory warning.

Let’s get the good out of the way first. Lance Reddick has been one of my favorite actors ever since I sat down and watched HBO’s The Wire more than a decade ago. With an imposing physicality and a voice that can shift between commanding and endearing with ease, I’ve made it a point to watch most of Reddick’s work over the last ten-plus years. From his turn as Police Chief Irvin Irving in Amazon Prime’s Bosch to his recent stint in the John Wick franchise as Charon, Reddick generally brings his A-game to any project he works on and that applies to Resident Evil (2022) as well. Reddick has the task of portraying Albert Wesker, one of the preeminent villains from the Resident Evil franchise over its long history. As we learn throughout the eight episodes of this season, the Wesker we’re following is actually a clone of the original Albert Wesker. Reddick takes the time to show each incarnation of Wesker as complete individuals, with their own mannerisms, speech patterns, and physical presence. It just goes to show that even when the written script is terrible, a good actor can do a lot to make the project better.

Unfortunately, that’s where the praise for Resident Evil (2022) ends. Over the course of the season, there are two concurrent storylines being told. One is set in 2036 after the T-Virus has been unleashed and the world has gone to hell. The overwhelming majority of the world’s population have become “zeroes”, carriers of the T-Virus. Jade Wesker, one of Clone Albert’s children, is a researcher trying to see if the virus has mutated over the last decade and change while also trying to stay out of the clutches of the Umbrella Corporation, the megacorp responsible for unleashing the T-Virus in the first place. The second storyline is set in 2022, before the outbreak occurs, and it follows Clone-Albert and his two daughters, Jade and Billie.

The pacing of the series is a complete mess due to it constantly bouncing back and forth between the two story arcs. The jump from one to the other is often jarring and seemingly done for little reason. Then there are times where we spend the majority of the episode in one time period and ignore the events of the current time period, which is a terrible choice given where this break occurs. It would help if the series devoted as much energy as they could to tell a compelling story in each time period but they don’t.

Instead, we get a cliché storm of post-apocalyptic characters that are barely two-dimensional, except for Jade Wesker, who is seriously one of the least likeable TV protagonists I’ve come across in recent years. Jade is the type of character who wears the Plot Armor with Red Shirt Radiation. You know no matter what that this type of character is never going to die but everyone around them will die because of the lead character’s stupid decisions. At least when we get to the reveal that Billie, Jade’s sister, is really in charge of Umbrella in 2036, Billie is honest about being a villain. I can appreciate that, even if the adult Billie’s characterization is as thin as a wet paper towel.

The past storyline isn’t even that engaging. Instead of building to the point where the outbreak first occurs and the apocalypse starts, we get multiple episodes of teen angst and unnecessary drama. It also doesn’t help that everyone (in both time periods) picks up the Idiot Ball and smashes through everything. From Umbrella Corporation having the worst security possible (seriously, it’s a surprise Umbrella could keep a gust of wind out of their building) to Jade bringing an infected “zero” on board a ship filled with people, no one in the series does anything that a real person would do. For those who haven’t heard the term before, the “Idiot Ball” is a plot device whereby characters do incredibly stupid things simply to get the plot moving in the direction the writer wants things to go. Resident Evil (2022) is filled with Idiot Ball moments and it makes watching the show an exercise in frustration.

I wanted to go in to this and find an enjoyable experience. That didn’t happen. Resident Evil (2022) is top to bottom a complete misfire. Between the fact that the show can’t decide if it’s trying to be a teen drama or a post-apocalyptic horror story and they can’t make the lead characters even remotely likeable, it’s a slog to get through. I can’t recommend Resident Evil (2022) and would encourage you not to watch it.

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