Resident Evil Adaptations Just Don’t Work

Why is it so hard for Resident Evil adaptations to follow the plot?

There is a new Resident Evil Netflix show coming. Guess what? It doesn’t follow the games. Does this come as a surprise? No. Resident Evil, with its vast success in the gaming industry, refuses to follow its own plots in live action media. It’s a universal truth. It boggles us how audiences ate up a whole decade of these non-canonical zombie flicks, and will now eat up this new Netflix venture.

Resident Evil Adaptations Neglect Awesome Ideas

An image of the entryway and staircase of the Spencer Mansion in Resident Evil
The Spencer Mansion would have served for a perfect film setting. (image credit: Capcom)

In the first Resident Evil, the two main characters are Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield. They explore a castle (as you do in a Resident Evil game) and stumble upon waves of zombies and mutants. This sounds pretty awesome from a theoretical standpoint.

Resident Evil 2: a new cop tries to escape a small town in the middle of a zombie epidemic. Sounds amazing. In the third entry, we see Jill return again to battle a super mutant with a badass lip job and cool face staples.

Resident Evil 4: the previous cop finds an infected cult in Europe. Following 4, Resident Evil 5: Chris and newcomer Sheva take down zombies in african villages and kill giant sea creatures offshore. 

Where all of these important and already revered plots? Why do filmmakers refuse to acknowledge lore in favor of cash grab, run of the mill zombie stories? “Cash grab” is the key phrase here. Marketing to audiences stuck in the Romero zombie mindset is tough. While Romero’s work was amazing, it did set expectations for all future zombie flicks to come. Resident Evil games just don’t fit that mold.

Milla Jovovich: Wasted Potential

Milla Jovovich holding two guns up in a white room in one of the resident evil adaptations.
A clip of Alice from one of the many many Resident Evil adaptations. (image credit: Sony)

Talented, attractive, and befitting the role of Jill Valentine, the director cast Milla Jovovich as a non-canonical lab experiment because…reasons? An actress that looks and acts like Jill Valentine is placed in a completely new and unneeded role. Jovovich became a Hollywood action hero stereotype.

While she performs well as Alice, which isn’t saying much, having Jovovich play Jill Valentine would have been perfect. It’s like the director took the concept of Jill Valentine and decided she needed more sex appeal and mutant blood. On top of all this, the filmmakers threw Jill in there anyway. What was the point?

Critical Panning, but Big Bucks

While the Resident Evil live action films were panned by critics, they were a box office hit. In fact, the series is the most successful game-to-film adaptation of all time. These films garnered 600 million dollars worldwide. People like badass women killing zombies, even if the plot is nonexistent and the acting subpar. 

New Netflix Beginnings for Resident Evil Adaptations

A man and woman stand with scared faces, one in a red jacket and one in a PD uniform.
A clip from the Netflix show that looks like Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy, but probably isn’t. (image credit: Netflix)

We have now arrived in the present, where this new Netflix series plans to further break the Resident Evil canon for shits and giggles. Wesker’s kids (which makes zero sense) will be investigating the Umbrella Corporation, Scooby-Doo style. Remember that this is also a Netflix show. Therefore, it will reek of forced teen drama and that’s exactly what Resident Evil fans want, right?

Either way, it’s unknown how well this terrible sounding series is going to perform. If the films are anything to go off of, it will unfortunately thrive. Netflix confirmed the Resident Evil series is in production for a 2021 release. We can and will wait to see it.

By John Castro

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