Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness (2021)—An Absolute Mess of a Netflix Series
Updated: Nov 8, 2022
After the failure of the Paul W.S. Anderson films and the CG film Resident Evil: Vendetta, many thought perhaps if Resident Evil can’t be properly done in a movie format, a Netflix series would be better right? It would give ample time to explore its characters, their motivations, the world it’s set in…nah, it’ll blow either way. And no other series can better explain this than Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness.
Claire Redfield (voiced by Stephanie Panisello) is a humanitarian worker providing aid in a fictional Middle Eastern country, Penamstan. She learns that the country was devastated by a recent war involving Biological Organic Weapons (BOWs). In the White House, Leon Kennedy (voiced by Nick Apostolides) and several other agents, Jason, Shen May and Patrick are called by President Graham to deal with a cyberattack reportedly from China. Soon, Leon’s group encounters zombies in the White House, and all hell breaks loose.
I’d like to begin by saying that this series is only four episodes long, with each episode spanning around 25 minutes. With all this added together, the whole series is just about an hour and a half long. In other words, while this may appear as a series, it’s really just a movie in series format. That being said it has the same problems as Resident Evil: Vendetta. Both films struggle to tell a coherent story and instead try to make up for it by doubling down on either the action (in Vendetta’s case) or gore and political nonsense (in Infinite Darkness’s case). I’ll skip over the nonsense of including made-up countries in conjunction with real ones, since if I did, I would ramble on till infinity. So, the Secretary of Defense, Wilson (yeah none of these characters have last names besides Leon and Claire) wants to start a war with China by using BOWs in Penamstan, since it’s between China and the West. To do this, he frames China for hacking into the U.S.’s government servers to convince President Graham to station troops in Penamstan so that he can get rich from drug sales in exchange for BOWs. How does that work? I have no idea.
Another aspect of the plot that I want to point out is that Leon’s expertise only comes in handy by sheer coincidence. He was originally called in response to the government hacking supposedly done by China. Shen May even tries to make his presence relevant by saying he rescued Ashley Graham. However, I fail to see how rescuing the president’s daughter from parasite-infected cultists is relevant to dealing with a government hacking. If it weren’t for a very sudden and convenient zombie attack, Leon would’ve been stuck at a desk job. Where’s Hunnigan? Wouldn’t she be more suited for this than Leon?
The only consistently interesting character is Claire, which isn’t a bad thing. I really liked playing as Claire in the remake of Resident Evil 2 and she has often been sidelined as a character compared to her brother, Chris. In this series, Claire is mostly a humanitarian worker who acts as a investigative journalist investigating the BOWs in Penamstan. Her efforts lead to her discovering Wilson’s schemes. All seems good here, but this is where things go south. After the climax of the final battle, Claire wants Leon to go public with Wilson’s treason, but Leon decides against it. The two leave on bad terms, yet somehow there’s triumphant music playing as the credits roll. I fail to see how this is a “win” here.
Talks of a second season have been up in the air since the show’s release. However, with every passing month, there still hasn't been any news on whether a second season will happen. Despite this, the series isn’t reported to be cancelled, so fans can still hope for a second season. And you know what? Maybe it can help with the poor performance of the first one. Several amazing shows have crappy first seasons, take Lucifer for example. And it would be nice to see Nick Apostolides and Stephanie Panisello reprise their respective roles as Leon and Claire, since they both did a great job in their portrayal.
Overall, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness offers nothing new to the popular Capcom gaming franchise. The series just feels like a bump between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5. What time it can use to develop its characters is used to explain political gibberish. If even a Netflix series format is unable to tell a decent Resident Evil story, then I don’t know what other medium could work. Recently, Netflix announced the release date of its new live action Resident Evil series, but with the track record of every non-video game form of Resident Evil media, I don’t have much faith for this new series.