With all the attention that’s been paid to Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City it’s easy to forget that there’s a second reboot of the franchise, Netflix four-part animated series, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness. That shouldn’t really be a surprise though, the franchise’s three animated films were overshadowed by the live-action ones to the point many people still don’t know they existed.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness opens with a US Army chopper being shot down over the fictional country of Penamstan. Defying orders a special forces unit attempts to rescue them, only to get a very unpleasant surprise. Their Captain (Ray Chase, Malignant, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train) leads them to safety, but at a terrible cost.
Six years later, in 2006., Claire Redfield (Stephanie Panisello, Altered Carbon: Resleeved) is in Penamstan .working for the humanitarian organizationTerraSave when a young boy gives her a drawing that triggers her memories of Raccoon City.
Back in the USA Leon S.Kennedy (Nick Apostolides, The House Across the Street, Among Them) is called to the White House in response to a cyberattack on a server holding top-secret documents. He ends up walking into an attempt to use zombies to assassinate the President.
Director Eiichirô Hasumi (Assassination Classroom: The Graduation, Samurai Code) co-wrote Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness with Shôgo Mutô (Kamen Rider Build: Be the One, Crows Zero) and Hiroyuki Kobayashi. It’s set between the fourth and fifth games in the series, at which point they were focused as much on espionage as horror. Not being much of a gamer that was a bit of a surprise to me.
There’s still enough zombie and monster action in Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness that it won’t be mistaken for a James Bond film, but don’t expect any massive scenes of zombie mayhem. Instead, they’re worked into a complex plot that ties together all three stories into a tale of revenge, a Chinese bioweapons facility, government corruption, corporate skullduggery and a plan to start a war between the US and China for personal profit.
Spread across four twenty-six-minute episodes that make for some dense plotting at times and mean you’ll need to pay attention to catch everything that’s going on. While it’s hardly high drama Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is a lot more involved than the live-action films. It’s more in line with the other animated films, especially the most recent one, Resident Evil: Vendetta in that regard.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is also a lot bloodier than the live-action films. While the focus is on the series’ action elements, when things get messy they’re not afraid to show it. And since it was shot for Netflix, they didn’t have to worry about a rating. This is most apparent during the second episode as a submarine is turned into a deep-sea charnel house. That said, the final monster is a bit of a letdown, looking more like a cross between Groot and The Hulk than something horrifying.
Speaking of disappointing, the way Claire’s character is treated here leaves much to be desired. She’s given very little screen time and her purpose mostly seems to be to help Leon out in the final episode. She could, and probably should, have been replaced with some new, generic character that Leon can rescue. Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is his show and they may as well have kept the spotlight exclusively on him rather than add in a half-assed subplot.
In the end, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is a fast-paced and fun limited series that can be binge-watched in the same amount of time as most movies. It is a bit light on the horror and it does have a few plot issues it gets more than enough right to deliver a good time.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is available to stream on Netflix. It’s also available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Sony Home Entertainment.