Resident Evil Infinite Darkness on Netflix Review

What If Resident Evil had a really long and boring cutscene you couldn't skip that was divided up into four episodes?

Resident Evil Infinite Darkness is a Netflix 'Original Anime' Series which has just landed on ermmm Netflix. Is CG technically anime? Anyway, the series which nobody asked for and, having now watched it, I can confirm absolutely nobody needed surprised us. We like Resident Evil. We have a soft spot for Leon and Claire. Maybe, this could be good? SPOILERS ahoy so if you insist on suffering through it first, time to leave us now and come back. 

This isn't our first rodeo with disappointing CG resident evil fare and although Netflix lists this as "Season 1" the 20 minute or so 4 episodes could just has easily have been a feature length film a la disappointing Resident Evil Degeneration, Resident Evil Damnation and Resident evil Vendetta. Each of those films left us asking why, anybody made them and to say they're formulaic is an understatement. 

Will Resident Evil Infinite Darkness be any different or will it introduce a host of generic side characters who will be dead by the end credits, trundle along through a series of dark interiors and have a weak plot about some pulp government conspiracy bullshit culminating in a final showdown against someone who has turned into a tyrant in a giant underground blast chamber type situation? 

Classic Leon banter

Across the four short episodes, Resident Evil Infinite Darkness  introduces a host of generic side characters who are all dead by the end credits, trundles along through a series of dark interiors and has a weak plot about some pulp government conspiracy bullshit that culminates in a final showdown against someone who has turned into a tyrant in a giant underground blast chamber. Oh well. 

Infinite Darkness is set in 2006 so to situate this within the Resident Evil timeline, it's eight years after the Raccoon City incident, and the events of Code Veronica, two years after the events of Resident Evil 4 and a year after the Terragrigia incident from Resident Evil Revelations and the events of Resident Evil Degeneration (the one with Claire, Leon and the plane). Claire is working with TerraSave on humanitarian work in the Madeupistan of this jolly, Penamastan and Leon is still an unspecified government agent working under President Graham (Ashley's Dad). 

Some of the previous events from films and games are referred to but I can't help but feel that Claire gets a little bit shafted in this series having endured Raccoon City, Rockfort Island and Harvardville she's a true badass but here very much plays a supporting role as an NGO busybody in a few scenes, amateur detective and then damsel in distress (literally tied to a chair). Leon gets the lion's share of the screen time and action here fighting zombies in the White House, zombies on a submarine and finally the final boss tyrant thing. 

Much like Resident Evil Degeneration what disappoints the most here is the lack of interaction between Claire and Leon. Here's the warm welcome Claire gets when she bumps into Leon early on in the film, sorry series. 

Is it too much to hope for a hug? 

Short plot summary because it's really not worth a longer one, we're told through the generic side characters and flashbacks that a Civil War in Panamstan six years ago was actually a bioweapons test by shady characters in the military with a not so healthy side line in bioweapons testing and manufacture. Two characters caught up in the mysterious incident, Asian Women One whose brother was a test soldier and Military Meathead One, whose unit contract the virus and are forced into shadow ops servitude for an inhibitor which keeps the development of the virus at bay (seriously it feels like every one of these movies has these exact two characters in it), want to expose the cover up. They're both now government agents like Leon though and there's a little bit of double and triple crossing that goes on. Very much in the background, Claire is digging into the mystery around the civil war, including printing out newspapers clippings and cutting them out to stick to a classic red string wall.

Claire, you found all this stuff on the Internet how did you end up with printed out news headlines? Or did you nip down to the library and get prints or photo copies from microfiche? This trope makes no sense anymore.

The only reason she is doing this, by the way, is to get her into the same room as Leon and the boss monster for the finale. Turns out the then Major during the Panamstan incident is now the Defense Secretary and via the Military Meathead is trying to frame China for virtual and bioweapon attacks on America including a virus outbreak in the Whitehouse and the destruction of an American submarine on its way to China with Leon, Fake Ada and Military man on board. 

Once again we're treated to the same story beats in every one of these drudging films, sorry series. Here's the "what are you moment"

I dunno, Non Specific Government Agency Agents just don't get the training these days. Didn't you read the briefs on the Raccoon City, Terragrigia, Las Plagas or Harvardville incidents? It's a zombie. Headshots only. Jeez. Can't get the staff. 

I don't understand how these keep getting made. It's like Capcom keep commissioning a super fan of Resident Evil who has absolutely no imagination whatsoever to keep writing scripts for these things and that super fan has picked up the following idea from a "Screen writing for Dummies" self-help book:


Of all the angles that could be taken on this rich universe of characters and plot points and of the many many examples out there that sees cross-media projects lift the main series they're based on and we keep getting these deathly dull conspiracy guff pieces set in between the games we know and love. Capcom/Netflix/Sony Pictures or whoever else ends up making these, if you're listening, here's eight free better ideas than the stuff you keep making:

1) Resident Evil What If? The ghost survivor stories in the Resident Evil 2 remake touched on this idea and it's brilliant. What If Jill did end up as a sandwich? What If Sherry didn't get the vaccine in time? What if Leon and Claire actually just fucking bumped uglies so we didn't have to get any more of these dire films, sorry series. 

2) The Day Before. Tells a bunch of slice of life stories from various citizens from small town America, that small town it turns out is Raccoon City, the day before the outbreak. 

3) Resident Evil Babies. Like Muppet babies but for all your favourite Resident Evil characters. 

4) Resianimatrixlegends. The Animatrix and Halo Legends idea but for Resident Evil. 

5) Brad Ran Away. What was Brad up to in between dropping off Chris and Jill and chucking down the rocket launcher? Find out in this mini documentary. 

6) Where Are They Now? Series of vignettes following the rare characters that got away from it all. Where is Billy Coen? How does Ada get herself out of these things and how are Lott and Lily Klein these days? 

7) Lab Rats. A will they/won't they love story between two scientists working in the same lab together for a rather eccentric employer in the strange Spencer Mansion where they work and live. Just as their relationship blossoms there's an incident at work...

8) LeonXClaire. Leon and Claire just sat in a bar together and talking about how the Raccoon City incident has affected them, like grown-up ass adults. In 48 parts. Each one a tear jerker. 

Anyway back to the film, I mean series... no I'm not done yet. Maybe it's something that's lost in translation or a deliberate style choice but it feels like Claire and Leon are wasted in these things. I'd love to see a little bit more of each of these characters and how they interact with each other and not just when fighting zombies. Aside from their sheer ability to survive these things, you could swap out Claire and Leon with new protagonists and it would make little difference. They have all this history together and character quirks and the wonderful thing about jumping around the timeline like these films do is that we, they viewers know what they'll be going on to next and this just isn't played with at all. Leon gruffly leans about every non-action scene he is in like he really, really wants to tell someone something but never does and Claire is a very shallow do-gooder type here. I'm not even joking but the scene at the gate at the back of the police station in the Resident Evil 2 remake between them both has way more chemistry and character than we see between or from either of them here. 

Anyway, plot happens and we find ourselves in a large underground cylindrical facility with blast doors, acid floor and rocket launchers. You guessed it, it's tyrant-type final showdown time and who would have known it, the character hell bent on revenge is now a thorny freak with an obvious exposed glowing heart. How will this ever end I wonder?

Don't be deceived, this line is delivered in such a way that it's clear this isn't in any way flirting

There are two 'stinger' scenes after the boss fight which are mildly interesting. Leon and Claire part ways under slightly sour circumstances and in the Resident Evil timeline this is the last moment the two have had together. Claire goes on to get kidnapped in Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Leon goes on to at least three apocalypse level outbreaks in Resident Evil 6, Damnation and Vendetta. It's not entirely clear what Leon's motives are here either and how the decision he makes plays out. 

Lastly and it's barely worth pointing out but we find that the mysterious pharmaceutical company propping up the Secretary of Defense's exploits in bioweapon soldiers and antagonising China is Tricell! Dun-dun-dun. How's that for a teaser for a teaser for an eleven year old game? 

Overall, we're still wondering why these exist and from other online reviews there're not really many out there who are here for this kind of thing. They're perhaps not as bad as I've made out here but when you think about what could be, the potential of an animated Resident Evil series or film and it's hard to understand why they continue in this same wash-rinse-repeat formula. Maybe this format is really popular in Japan or Mexico or somewhere else but for us, we don't get it. 

This is season 1. Will there be a season 2? We hope not but if there is and if they do drag Leon and Claire's character models out for them. Please Capcom just have them kiss already. I can't deal with one light flirt between them every seven years. At this point they may end up going on a date sometime when they're in their mid 60s. 

Oh, don't get me wrong, they totally fuck in this film, sorry series, but it's just pure lust between them and neither shows their true inner feelings so it doesn't count and isn't what we want for them.. 

Until then, same acid floored underground chamber time, same acid floored underground chamber place. 

Cunzy1 1


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