I’ve been slowly making my means by means of the entire principal Resident Evil video games over the previous couple of years—all I’ve left to deal with at this level is Resident Evil 3, after which I’ll lastly be capable of get to Village—and one thing I’ve discovered fascinating is how the tone of the franchise has shifted so wildly as its universe continuously expands. It’s a degree that many followers have made in regards to the sequence, together with a few of my favourite critics (Noah Gervais’ massive retrospective on YouTube has some particularly eager insights on the matter). The greatest factor that stands out for me is how, notably within the elements of the RE timeline that happen between the fourth and sixth video games, the continued adventures of the Raccoon City survivors tackle a personality that may finest be in comparison with the sorts of pulpy tomes that each middle-aged salaryman collects on their enterprise journeys to and from the airport.
If you want extra proof of this, look no additional than Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, which is CAPCOM‘s newest effort to department the sequence out into flashy CGI animation, and Netflix‘s newest try to cut up a characteristic movie right into a handful of arbitrary “episodes” and move it off as some sort of restricted occasion sequence. It can also be the obvious ploy but to remodel Leon S. Kennedy, who began life in Resident Evil 2 as a vaguely plausible rookie cop, into the Jack Ryan of the Resident Evil universe. Also, Claire Redfield is right here, presumably as a result of the film started growth proper round when the unbelievable RE 2 remake got here out, and CAPCOM needed to capitalize on its success by…releasing a film that takes place in between the Resident Evil 4 and 5 and provides completely nothing new or fascinating to the bigger canon of the video games.
To Infinite Darkness’ credit score, it is not like all of the opposite canon RE spinoffs have finished a lot so as to add to the sequence’ lore, both, besides for the way a lot they, properly, add to the lore. This is the place the comparability to low-cost airport thrillers comes into play, as a result of just like the tens of hundreds of Tom Clancy knockoffs which can be filling the worlds landfills on any given continent, Infinite Darkness is an environment friendly machine of mildly entertaining gobbledygook. For Leon, who at this level within the chronology has solely lately returned from rescuing the president’s daughter from a cult of parasite infested Spaniards in RE 4, this new-but-also-old journey is enterprise as regular. He trots across the White House along with his completely coiffed hair, glowering intensely at individuals as they exposit about authorities conspiracies, bioterrorism experiments finished on U.S. troopers, and all the opposite anticipated RE staples.
Claire, for her half, is formally working for Terra Save, the anti-bioterrorism group that crops up within the Resident Evil Revelations spinoff video games. Now, I’m really a fan of the concept there are simply so many Evil Pharmaceutical Corporations on the market within the RE world, all of them turning individuals into zombie monsters left and proper, that there would even should be an enormous counter-organization simply to handle all of it. Infinite Darkness does not do something artistic with that potential, although, and Claire’s B-plot shenanigans had been perhaps probably the most disappointing factor in regards to the present usually. She’s my favourite character from the video games, and her rapport with Leon and different main characters is usually very interesting. In Infinite Darkness, although, she is caught on the sidelines enjoying detective for almost all of the 4 episodes, and he or she solely barely stumbles into the motion within the ultimate act. There is a trace of fascinating battle that may be brewing between Leon and Claire that I might have cherished to see developed, nevertheless it actually does not come up till the ultimate scene of the sequence, and I’m fairly certain that the 2 characters have not even interacted with each other since then in another media.
The new characters that do get to take part in Leon S. Kennedy’s Globetrotting Mission to Kill Even More Zombies are Jason and Shen May, and so they’re…effective? Seeing as they’ve actually by no means been talked about or heard from once more in any of the tales that happen after Infinite Darkness, it is onerous to really feel like they’re something aside from bit gamers who’ve been elevated to the primary ensemble just because different franchise mainstays Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine could not be bothered to fly in for a cameo look. The voice actors all do their finest, and it’s admittedly good to listen to Nick Apostolides and Stephanie Panisello reprise their roles as Leon and Claire from the RE 2 remake, however the dialogue suffers from the latter-day Resident Evil video games worst instincts. It’s all exposition and one-liners, with no sign of ending, and not one of the nerve-rattling stress or heat banter from the very best RE tales that make all of that much more bearable.
“Okay,” you may be saying, “But nobody actually gets into Resident Evil looking for an amazing story. Do we get to see some zombies explode real good, or what?” And to that, hypothetical strawman, I can solely reply: “Eh? I guess.” Thankfully, we have come a good distance from the wonky CG of 2008’s Resident Evil: Degeneration, and numerous the work that TMS and Quebico have finished right here seems to be fairly good…in nonetheless frames. When the characters and zombies are shifting, although, issues get much more inconsistent. Lots of their actions lack weight and momentum, and there are a selection of scenes in every of the 4 episodes the place the character fashions do not fairly appear like they belong to the identical airplane of actuality as every little thing round them. The path from Eiichirō Hasumi is okay for probably the most half, as is the music and sound-design, however usually, I do not suppose you may be seeing something in Infinite Darkness that you simply could not additionally see in any one of many trendy video games.
Plus, the video games have the additional advantage of all that gameplay, which is what tends to make Resident Evil fascinating, thrilling, and generally even—gasp—somewhat scary. Without the good thing about attending to mess around Resident Evil’s wacky world of undead espionage for a dozen hours or so, Infinite Darkness does not have a lot to supply. It is, in the very best and worst of the way, a set of handsome videogame cutscenes which were minimize out and hung to dry on Netflix‘s content material clotheslines. Hardcore Resident Evil completionists could really feel compelled to test it out, since you possibly can binge the entire thing in beneath two hours, however everybody else would do higher to hunt out the opposite, higher zombie exhibits on the market, which undoubtedly have much more meat on their bones to chew on.