Saturday, March 25

Resident Evil Infinite Darkness Review

I watched it on: Blu-Ray
The price I paid was: £0 (Christmas Present)
Notes: N/A

Resident Evil Infinite Darkness first aired on Netflix as four separate half an hour episodes back in 2021. Despite being a prequel to two of them, it is the fourth entry into the animated RE films.  After the Resident Evil Vendetta failure, I was worried about the quality of this series. Luckily Infinite Darkness is a damned sight better than Vendetta. That’s not to say it’s amazing because it’s far from that. In terms of quality, I’d say it’s better than Degeneration but not as good as Damnation.

Like the Resident Evil 2 video game, we follow two perspectives, Leon and Claire, that occasionally overlap. This occurs 2 years after Resident Evil 4 and 1 year after Resident Evil Degeneration, and before the other CGI films. Leon’s side of the story follows him and his new team, special agents Jason, Patrick, and Shenmei. Jason and Shenmei were involved in a classified incident in 2000, which we slowly learn more about as the series continues. Claire Redfield is still working for Terrasave in the fictional country of Panamstan, helping survivors of the same classified incident with which Leon’s team members were involved. Claire learns there is more to the incident than there first appears and begins investigating. At the same time, a mole steals top-secret information from the White House. The President personally calls for Leon to help investigate as after the events of RE4, he trusts more than anyone else close to him. As Leon arrives, a BOW outbreak in the White House forces Leon and his team to protect the president. This leads to both Leon and Claire investigating what happened 6 years ago. 

The story is decent until episode 4, where it sadly takes a nosedive. Sadly, after you learn what happened in 2000, the story begins to fall apart in the final act. The main villain’s motivation changes for no real reason. It feels like the writers wanted a classic Resident Evil finale where the villain transforms into a giant monster despite how it made no sense for the plot to go in that direction. It’s a shame because if it could have stuck the landing, Infinite Darkness would have been a fantastic contribution to the broader ResiEvil lore and universe.

The pacing suffers from the episodic format. Despite the total runtime only being 103 minutes, meaning it could have easily fit into feature length, it is cut up into four episodes instead. Although most people will watch this in one go, the pacing has to allow each thirty-minute section to have a beginning, middle and a cliffhanger ending leading to the next episode. This knocks the pacing way off, and the story feels rough because of it. 

There is also no sense of space or time in this series. One moment you’re watching a character several floors below another one, and then in the next scene, they’re right next to each other. At one point, we see Leon get thrown into the air, we cut away to Claire for a moment, and then we cut back to Leon, who is now somehow hanging onto a broken railing. It feels like a scene where Leon grabs hold of the railing after hitting the floor is missing. Between episodes three and four, Leon and Shenmei instantly move from Shanghai, China, to Washington, DC, in the United States. We leave Leon in the ruins of a destroyed building in China then we cut to Claire getting captured. The episode ends on this cliffhanger. Then the next episode begins, and Leon is breaking into the underground base where Claire is being held. There is no information on how or when Leon returned to the States or how much time has transpired between then and now. This destroys any sense of space and time, leaving you feeling confused. I’ve watched this series three times, and I’m still not sure if Leon teleported to the States or if this was a day or so later, and he just hopped on the next flight home. What’s worse is that besides this terrible sense of location, the series looks stunning. The CGI has come a long way since the janky uncanny valley of Resident Evil Degeneration.

I don’t think Resident Evil Infinite Darkness is a bad series, but it still has a lot of problems. Although after Vendetta’s character assassination, it’s nice to watch a film where Leon feels like himself again. It was also nice to see President Graham, the father of Ashley from Resident Evil 4. We’ve heard lots about him in the lore, but this is the only time we’ve seen him.

Ultimately Infinite Darkness is an entertainingly flawed gem. Fans of the games will most likely enjoy this series as it’s very closely connected to the games' broader lore and overarching world. Those fans who thought that Netflix’s original live-action series was disappointing should check this mini-series out instead. Those unfamiliar with Resident Evil extended world and history will probably find this hard to follow. But speaking as a massive Resi fan, I found it to be ‘good’, not ‘great’ or ‘fantastic’, but also far from ‘bad’ or ‘terrible’. 

Recommendation Rating: 7 out of 10

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