2006 year. Leon Kennedy, a former police officer and now a special agent in the service of the United States, returned from Spain two years ago, where he rescued the president’s daughter. Now he (and three other special agents) shoulders a new task: someone hacked into the White House servers, and the work obviously took place from the inside – all computers are located only on the local network. Interestingly, his paths again intersect with Claire Redfield – the girl with whom Leon lived side by side with a nightmare in Raccoon City. The latter arrives in America after a short visit to Penamstan (a fictional country not far from China), where she seems to have discovered traces of the presence of zombies. Leon found the carnivorous dead literally at his side: during the search for the intruder, the invasion of the undead happened in the White House itself. It seems that the heroes will again have to work together and understand what is really happening and how seemingly completely different events are connected.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is not the franchise’s first foray into animation. True, unlike the previous three attempts (Degeneration, Damnation and Vendetta), this time the creators released it in the format of a mini-series of four episodes of 25 minutes. At the same time, the essence remains the same: unlike the series of films by Paul W. S. Anderson with Milla Jovovich in the title role, animation is intended to close gaps in the history of the game series, and not to show its own version of the events of the original.
The action of “Endless Darkness” takes place between the fourth and fifth parts of the franchise, and in the center of the plot, as mentioned above, are the main characters of Resident Evil 2 – Leon and Claire. It is true that nearly ten years have passed since the events of 1998 here, so the duo managed to get pretty good at fighting zombies and became a confidant of the President of the United States, and Claire works for TerraSave, an organization that neutralizes biological and chemical disasters. all over the world. The past left its mark on both of them, from which they now have nowhere to escape.
Despite the fact that “Endless Darkness” shows a new plot, it, in fact, does not have a global impact on the story and is something of a small celebration for fans of the franchise. The series seems to cope with the task of filling in the gaps, but there is no serious effect – neither new important information, nor details changing the idea of the global plot should be expected. But there are plenty of jokes “for their own” and references to the events of other parts (fans of the fifth, for example, will be happy to see some information about the background of the game).
The show goes so far that even, unlike most video game adaptations, it clearly follows the structure of the original: the initial intrigue systematically goes to the finale on a secret base with a giant boss, whose heart traditionally sticks out and asks for a grenade launcher shot. The latter, of course, also falls into the hands of Leon – all this is so familiar that even a spoiler cannot be called a spoiler. Animation, however, has never been shy about its roots in play, and similar “boss fights” were in each of the cartoons.
A departure from tradition is noticeable only in flashbacks of events in Penamstan: here the authors were clearly inspired by stories in the spirit of the “Black Hawk Down”. Which, however, is not surprising: the developers of the fifth and sixth parts of Resident Evil were also inspired by the war film by Ridley Scott, and “Endless Darkness” in its spirit most of all resembles the most action-oriented games in the franchise. The central conflict goes somewhere in the territory of politics: at some moments of the show acts as a kind of spy thriller of category B. It should be noted that the approach for the series is quite organic.
You can find fault with the plot – naive, stupid and in places frankly ridiculous, but, as they say, it is not necessary: Resident Evil has never claimed the title of a serious work. Just for trying to maintain a more serious tone, and I want to scold the series. Remembering legendary cobblestone scene from the finale of the “five”, from the show, diligently mowing under the same aesthetics, you want something just as crazy – but alas. The series is moderately stupid, especially in the dialogue part, but still does not slide into self-parody. More absurdity, to be honest, would only do good, as can be seen from the same Village with its robotic dead and the central quest in the spirit of “buy four shawarma and collect a kitten.”
The series also introduces several new characters to the franchise, the most notable of which are agents Jason and Sheng Mei, who play an important role in the series. However, both remain local: in the end, the further history has long been planned, and therefore it would be strange to expect that they will be able to exert some influence on the global plot. At the same time, they cope with their task, setting intrigue and deepening the local central conflict – thanks already.
The biggest drawback here can be considered the relegation of Claire to the “lady in trouble”. The show, billed as the story of Claire and Leon, ends up being a celebration for the latter’s fans, while Chris’s sister plays little role here. She does not participate in any of the battles directly (which is undoubtedly very strange given the events of Code Veronica), and most of the story remains somewhere off-screen just to re-emerge almost in the very final, where Leon will have her save. Some of the frames will clearly become the reason for the next jokes about the “continuation of the Redfield family.”
But what I really want to praise is the graphics. In comparison with previous film adaptations, the last of which was released in 2017, the show has taken a big step forward: the detail has increased significantly, and in some scenes the graphics are approaching photorealism. The characters, however, are traditionally more “cartoony” in the spirit of three-dimensional Japanese animation. This is more of a plus than a minus: the approach avoids the unnecessary “sinister valley” effect. The action, however, has become simpler than in “Vendetta”, and its number has decreased markedly – which, however, is not so bad.
As a result, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness does not go beyond the bounds of such fanfiction – okay and lovingly tailored, but not at all globally necessary. As entertainment for the evening for those who miss the madness of the “second wave” of RE (parts 4-6), it is better not to think of anything better, but for not particularly interested viewers, perhaps it is better to pass by and while away the time for something else … Fortunately, the same Netflix offers many other shows based on video games.