Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is a new four-part CG series set in the video game canon, much like the three CG movies released over the last decade and a bit. In fact given the four episodes run about an hour and a half total and were all released at the same time means this is in reality just a fourth CG movie… Is it good though? Well, within the confines of being a Resident Evil property? Let’s find out!
In 2006 evidence is discovered by TerraSave activist Claire Redfield, which reveals an expansive conspiracy to cover-up the deployment of bioweapons during the US intervention in the Penamstan Civil War six years prior. Meanwhile, the White House is placed on alert after a mole steals top secret files regarding the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, followed soon-after by the use of bioweapons there. In the aftermath of the incident, now covered-up too, Army operator Leon S. Kennedy meets with Redfield and discovers the incidents in 2000 and now are linked…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
“All I want to know is this: Are you going to mutate into a massive creature with an exposed heart?”
The first thing that really jumped out at me was the CG because damn it was high quality! The scenery and lighting often looked near photo-realistic and the models still looked like the game style “slightly exaggerated with not quite realistic hairstyles” but fit in the more real surroundings well. The animations were quite smooth as well, even the usual stiff walking animations were much better. So all overall I was very happy, which is a relief due to some of Netflix’s recent CG anime have been, erm, “not that great” to put it politely.
The core plot was entertaining enough. A soldier named Jason was caught up in an armed conflict in the fictional country of Penamstan (which really sounds like it should be called “Penamistan”, but never mind…) ended up witness a zombie outbreak and getting bit, but was given a way to stave off the infection… at the cost of his silence about the incident. The man responsible for this is called Wilson, and he now serves directly under the President and is trying to frame China for a series of bio-attacks and hacking all so the two countries can go to war and he can sell a whole bunch of his unnamed company’s B.O.W.s (I say unnamed, it might be Resident Evil 5 villains TriCell, but it’s sort of left ambiguous at the end…) So Leon get caught in one of these bio-attacks when a zombie outbreak happens in the White House itself and eventually is sent to China to infiltrate a lab there alongside Jason and a female named Shen May, whose brother was caught up in the same outbreak in Penamstan and so is in on Jason’s plan. It’s a nice set up as Leon is initial against the duo, especially after being left in a zombie-rat infected submarine while they tried to escape together, but he soon at least sees her point of view and agrees to release evidence damning Wilson to the press.
“Sorry Leon, can you repeat the question?” “God damn it…”
This all leads to your bog-standard fighting a giant mutated enemy in an overly elaborate secret lab finish that so many games, and indeed the other CG movies, love to do. Jason is the one who mutates, and makes sure to infect Wilson while he’s at it. He wanted to appear in front of the world and reveal that B.O.W.s exist but is stopped and killed by Leon. I did like the end scene, where Claire (who yes was also in the series…) asked for Shen Way’s evidence so she can make it public, but Leon refuses, knowing now isn’t the right time to reveal the truth. This seemingly sours their relationship, which makes sense as the two haven’t actually met again in the game/CG film timeline (they reunited in Degeneration but that was set in 2005, the year prior to when this incident… been a busy three years for Leon when you think about it!)
Claire…. does some research on a laptop. EXCITEMENT.
So yeah, Claire. She looks into the conspiracy, tries to get some clues and evidence at a spooky house (that ends up not actually full of any kind of threat, oddly enough!) and eventually is kidnapped and brought to the lab by Wilson in the final episode. There she manages to escape and helps Leon fight off Jason but only really serves to distract the monster for a bit and then get hurt. Seems like this was written more as an extra Leon adventure but then sold on Leon and Claire meeting again after the fact.
Also as mentioned it was generally just okay. The finale was extremely similar to the end of Degeneration, right down to the tall lab with a steel folding ceiling. Very in-keeping with the Resi game timeline and everything but, I don’t know, felt a little too samey for me.
Leon rescues Claire in the hope she can join him in doing something exciting. It doesn’t work.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is a perfectly serviceable extra slice of game-canon Resi but it won’t blow you away or surprise you. In fact the super-over-the-top fight scenes and gunplay from Vendetta was also absent, making the series fit in better with the earlier era of the timeline but also meant there wasn’t anything cheesy to make you chuckle either. It was much like the earlier two CG films: it’s fine if you’re a fan, otherwise give it a miss.