Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness – masterful thrills and missed opportunities
Eiichiro Hasumi’s Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is a missed opportunity. While it masterfully delivered the thrills expected of the franchise, it rushed through what might have been an exciting ongoing plot and failed to capture the personality and dynamics of well-established characters.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is the latest addition to the Resident Evil franchise, seeing the return of beloved characters Leon S Kennedy and Claire Redfield.
The animated mini-series, recently added to Netflix, comes just two months after developer Capcom released the eighth game in the saga, Resident Evil: Village.
While hopeful that the animation would capitalise on the best parts of the highly successful gaming series—intriguing plots and already well-developed characters—it, unfortunately, felt like Infinite Darkness barely scratched the surface of its potential.
Intended to build on from the games, Infinite Darkness instead seemed more like a side plot, afterthought or boring cutscene.
Netflix’s animated series sees the return of Leon S Kennedy, a titular character of the franchise.
The series takes place after the events of Resident Evil 4, explaining what Leon and Claire are now doing a few years after they survived Raccoon City.
Sadly, the characters were flat and lacked personality and depth. The brief and rare scenes where they were together barely showed any acknowledgment of the connection formed between the two in the previous games.
After realising they have become entangled within a web of lies and corruption, the characters merely exchange a “what are you doing here?” before parting ways.
Granted, it is only a mini-series, with a handful of short episodes, but the series could’ve done a lot more in that time if they had used it wisely.
The plot barely presented any real danger or threat compared to the two characters past experiences, and any conflict resolved itself before there was even time to speculate.
Unlike other additions to the franchise, there was no underlying evil corporation or organisation (no mention of our good friends at Umbrella), instead intending for audiences to be afraid of an average corrupt politician with an average blackmail plot.
Likewise, the short run time made it hard to feel as connected to the new characters.
Leon teams up with an ex-navy officer and federal agent, who’ve both suffered tremendously and have serious motives that understandably lead to their later behaviour. Unfortunately, the audience disconnect makes it hard to feel any empathy towards these characters.
Mutant zombified rats were the highlight of Infinite Darkness.
Fans have come to expect the most grotesque and truly horrifying creatures, villains and enemies from Resident Evil. However, Infinite Darkness is heavy on politics and conspiracy and light on monsters.
Except for one mutated individual later in the series, the series was lacklustre.
The bioweapon mutant rats that appeared on the submarine could have been the enemy of an engaging plot all of their own. They were gross, small targets that were hard to attack.
Stuck underwater in a submarine also meant most weapons capable of eliminating such a threat were useless. This scene lasted no more than 10 minutes but easily could’ve been the focus of an entire film.
Milla Jovovich stars in the original Resident Evil films.
A live-action Resident Evil movie is also due for release on November 24, 2021. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, directed by Johannes Roberts (47 metres down), will be a “reboot” of the Resident Evil film series from the 2000s that starred Milla Jovovich.
The original film series introduced many new people to the franchise and only concluded in 2016 with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. With the games also continuing to draw in more fans each year, there doesn’t seem to be a need to “reboot” the franchise for newer audiences when there is already a hugely dedicated fanbase.
The move from digitally animated characters to live-action film could potentially waste years of establishing and developing story through the games.