This review is spoiler-free.
Set between the events of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5, Federal agent Leon S. Kennedy teams up with TerraSave staff member Claire Redfield to investigate a zombie outbreak. From war-torn cities to the White House, how far does this conspiracy go?
From Capcom and TMS Entertainment comes the latest instalment in the Resident Evil animated franchise – Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness!
This limited-series has arrived on Netflix and given how off-putting the cinematic offerings of the Resident Evil franchise have been, you can always depend on the animation side of things to get it right. But does Infinite Darkness hit those highs of the previous animated offerings?
To begin with, let’s talk about the series’ structure. While we spend most of our time in 2006, it does flashback to 2000 when it wants to trickle out more of the backstory, and this switching between timeframes is very fluid and not at all jarring. As well as the different timeframes, the story follows two separate stories and characters by focusing on Leon S. Kennedy (Nick Apostolides) and Claire Redfield (Stephanie Panisello). Both Apostolides and Panisello return to their respective characters that they voiced in the recent re-mastered version of Resident Evil 2, so it was nice to have that continuation from the game series. We are used to seeing Leon and Claire working both side-by-side and separately, and this is very much reflected in this series too.
In terms of the other characters, Jason (Ray Chase) had a little more about him, much more so than your typical Resident Evil type of character. There was a lot of ‘grey’ to his motivations and that just helped make his character more enjoyable. Shen May (Jona Xiao) however, was a little more what you’d expect and we’ve seen her character type before, not only in the games but the previous animated movies. She was still a good character, she just needed something to set her apart more. All the voice cast do an outstanding job and this only helps add to the overall quality of the production.
Speaking of the production, there was a lot of high quality animation on display, with some scenes in particular looking like actual real footage! The movement and flow was just so natural. That said, it wasn’t all good, and while the action and close up work was phenomenal, the basic walking down a hallway stuff still looked a little floaty.
I think when it comes to whether or not this series was a success, you have to look at the pacing, as this really does feel like a movie chopped up into a series. I think that if it had been released in a movie format it would have helped the flow, as it didn’t need the breaks and credits in between because the story was moving along at such a pace that the breaks interrupted some of that rhythm. Now, as for the story, characters and action? These were all very positive elements that made watching this series highly enjoyable. I think if you have a basic understanding of the Resident Evil lore, you’ll be fine. Likewise if you are a die-hard fan there is plenty of little Easter eggs to sink your teeth into. As for a casual viewer with no prior knowledge, I think this self-contained story works perfectly fine as a stand-alone series, so there are no accessibility issues I don’t think.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness was an enjoyable romp through the Resident Evil universe, and while it was very much self-contained as a one-off, there is plenty of scope to revisit in future productions. The animation and action sequences are of the highest quality and these are supported by a great voice cast and thrilling story.