I have a great dislike for the live-action Resident Evil movies. It already had a rocky start but, as more sequels were released, the films became far removed from the Capcom series and became more of its own thing. The last Resident Evil film I saw was Resident Evil: Afterlife, not because I really wanted to see what happened to Alice but because it was going to be on 3D and I was curious what kind of gimmicky scenes they’d put in to take advantage of the effect. I never bothered watching The Final Chapter, despite it being the last film in the series because, well, I refused to pay good money to see it.
This is why it’s strange I never watched the CG Resident Evil films for some odd reason. I was well aware of them but I’ve always put off watching them and left them on my to do list. That’s mostly because they were very difficult to find a copy of here in the Philippines. However, thanks to Netflix acquiring all of the CG films, I now have the opportunity to watch all of them. But before I dove through all of them, I decided to watch their latest product, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness.
Although Netflix has already made Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness available for around a week now, I’ll still be making this a SPOILER FREE review. So, there will be no big reveals regarding the story nor will I be delving into any plot twist this four episode miniseries has. Now, on with the review!
Infinite Darkness takes place after the events of Resident Evil 4 and, by my best guess, before Resident Evil Revelations 2. Leon Kennedy is called to the White House for a special mission to investigate a possible bioweapons attack and cyberhack by China on US soil. At around the same time, Claire Redfield, working as an aid worker for the war torn country of Penamstan, discovers clues that bioweapons may be being used, leading her to investigate the Mad Dogs squad that was deployed in the country months before. It also just so happens that the squad leader of the Mad Dogs is now Leon’s partner in investigating the attack on the White House.
You can tell that both Netflix and Capcom pooled a lot of money into the production of Infinite Darkness. The backgrounds look almost photo realistic. Some of the shots of the White House from the outside could be mistaken for actual footage at times. The lighting effects all look natural and strike objects in the way you would expect in real life. The people and the zombies also move very realistically, showing they put a lot of attention with the motion capture. They also utilize some creative camera angles during the action scenes, which is a nice touch.
However, the graphics and animations are not all flawless. While Infinite Darkness gets the backgrounds and environments right, the facial animations and, well, the human faces could have benefited from a little more attention. The face designs for Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield are good most of the time. The supporting characters… not so much. Leon’s partners, Jason and Shen May, just have very stiff facial features at times but there are some moments when they do look good. The other characters just seem to fall right in the middle of the uncanny valley.
I’m also of two minds regarding the decision to make Infinite Darkness a four episode miniseries instead of a movie. Each episode is less than half an hour and even shorter if you cut out the intro and end credits of each of them. This would mean, if you play them back-to-back, the entire series would be less than two hours long. So, why did they split them apart into four episodes? From what I’ve seen, that’s because of how disjointed the overall story is. If you binge watched all the episodes like I did, it can get confusing because the passage of time is erratic and how the characters get to wherever they are just happens. Additionally, characters, especially Leon, almost always are apathetic to whatever is going on, almost as if they knew it all along even when they shouldn’t.
It also doesn’t help that there are multiple flashbacks of Jason and Shen May, Leon’s partners, time in Penamstan. It wouldn’t be so bad if they were different scenes. But it’s basically the same scene in each episode but you just get more of the scene in the later episodes! I guess this is to make you feel more for them but it doesn’t really work as you don’t get to really feel what they’re feeling. It would have been better if we get to see these events because of Claire’s investigation into it rather than the flashbacks showing up because Jason and Shen May decide to tell Leon what they know. I felt nothing for them and, if I didn’t know who Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield are because they were in previous games, I might not have cared for them as well.
Despite the story being a choppy mess, I will have to say the action scenes in Infinite Darkness are generally good, albeit without the feeling of dread that any of the main characters are going to die. Having Leon fending off a zombie horde in the middle of the White House or while trapped hundreds of meters under water while in a submarine are fun to see. However, they’re never in extreme danger so you know they’ll survive as long as they don’t do anything stupid. There are even some scenes that harken back to Resident Evil 4 as Leon can do some crazy stunts like the quicktime events from that game.
Sadly, although Claire is in the game, she comes off more like an afterthought. She has her own story arc where she’s stumbles upon a possible conspiracy regarding how bioweapons wrecked havoc on another country and I was more down with that side of the story. Unfortunately, she’s doesn’t really do much until the very end.
I also have to comment on the decision to use the voice actors from the Resident Evil 2 Remake and how it doesn’t quite mesh with the character designs of Infinite Darkness. The way both Leon and Claire look in Infinite Darkness follows how they were designed in Resident Evil 6 (for Leon) and Resident Evil Revelations 2 (for Claire). And they don’t look like how they were in Resident Evil 2 Remake! It actually caught me off guard to hear the Claire from Infinite Darkness not sound like from the one from Revelations 2! Leon generally sounds okay but, because they used the voice actor from Resident Evil 2 Remake, he sounds a little too young and not the grizzled veteran who singlehandedly rescued the president’s daughter from the Los Illuminados cult.
Overall, I can’t really recommend Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness. Even if it is just roughly a couple of hours long if strung together, it’s too much of a jumbled mess. The characters generally lack any real personality and, while the graphics and action is impressive, it’s not enough to make up for all its flaws.
But it’s still better than the live-action films, though.
Have you seen Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!