Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness review
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness proves it’s possible to make a Resident Evil movie that feels completely authentic to the video game experience — provided it’s an animated project instead of a live action one.
Unlike previous full length films Resident Evil: Damnation and Resident Evil: Degeneration, Infinite Darkness is chopped up into episodes as more of a serial presentation.
That’s not a bad approach considering some Resident Evil game stories have lengthy stories that can play out a little longer than 90 minutes while offering enough time for some wholesale slaughter of zombies. The problem with Infinite Darkness is it’s only four episodes so the series winds down just as it starts getting into the meaty part of the story.
Leon S. Kennedy (Nick Apostolides, Resident Evil 2) is called to join a special task force assembling at the White House, just as a zombie outbreak occurs. This is one of the series’ more exhilarating sequences as Leon and new characters Jason (Ray Chase), Shen May (Jona Xiao) team up to stop the zombies from killing the president.
This attack is all the Secretary of Defense needs to urge the president into sending Leon and company into China via submarine in hopes of preventing a war.
Leon’s former Raccoon City survivor, Claire Redfield (Stephanie Panisello), works for an NGO in the fictional nation of Penamstan, trying to provide aid for a land devastated by a previous outbreak. Jason and Shen May both have ties to Penamstan, with Jason being hailed The Hero of Penamstan for his efforts in getting his men back to safety after a plane crash.
In Resident Evil 2, Claire arguably has the stronger storyline as she’s the one who learns the true scope of the T-virus. Infinite Darkness gives Claire the more cerebral subplot again although it doesn’t have the same impact since Leon eventually learns everything.
If nothing else, a little teamwork and communication with Claire and Leon would have been nice. At times the writers make their relationship more antagonistic, which feels wrong since they would likely be tight after surviving Raccoon City’s outbreak together.
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Infinite Darkness uses the same video game cinematics style as the previous films so the graphics remain consistent with the games. Visuals have definitely improved since 2008’s Degeneration — dust particles are prevalent, flashlights pierce through the darkness and hair strands are highly detailed.
Leon’s submarine trip features one of the best action sequences in the franchise as he encounters some uninvited guests intent on devouring him. It’s scary, edge of your seat unnerving and is probably too early in the series for the high water mark. There’s some other action scenes, but none have that same sense of terror and spiked adrenaline rush as episode 2.
The rush to complete the series mostly hinders the final episode. The writers also bizarrely take a page from one of the worst aspects of the live-action series. Leon survives an encounter that kills another character much in the same way Alice shrugged off a death blow in Resident Evil: Retribution that immediately kills a fan favorite.
Claire is cheated out of having any heroic moments throughout, which is fine since her role doesn’t put her in the thick of the action until the finale. At that point, her big contribution is raising and lowering platforms while Leon fights the final boss. That’s a waste of Claire, who if nothing else, should have been fighting the boss monster alongside Leon instead of observing from the sidelines.
It was also puzzling how Leon figured out an escape route after surviving the big boss without Claire’s help.
Watching Infinite Darkness play out draws the live action Milla Jovovich films couldn’t get the smallest aspects of Resident Evil down. Maybe the excessive slow-motion was meant to compensate for missing the basic tropes of the series.
That’s not an issue with Infinite Darkness as the sound effects of people walking sounds just like the game, camera angles provide the same herky jerky movement of fleeing from zombies and there’s a stronger sense of suspense.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness could have used a few more episodes to flesh out the story better and give Claire her own action showcase scenes, but it should satisfy fans waiting on the live-action reboot.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Photo Credit: Netflix