Resident Evil began in 1996 as a hit video game, but the 2002 original movie kicked off a pop-culture phenomenon fueled by Milla Jovovich's zombie-killing bad-assery that continues to spur spinoffs and sequels to this day.
Enter Netflix, which is taking the franchise back to its gaming roots with a four-episode CGI-animated miniseries that largely ignores the movies and draws from famous gaming characters such as Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield. Lots of eyes are on this one, especially because Netflix is in post-production on its upcoming Resident Evil live-action series expected to premiere in early 2022.
While everyone has high hopes for the live-action series, fan and critic reactions on Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness have been mixed, to say the least, with complaints ranging from a lack of originality to the sidelining of female characters. PC Gamer compared the series to "a terrible cutscene you can't skip." Ouch.
Consider this a rundown of what went wrong. Vote up the most problematic elements.
- Photo: Netflix522 VOTES
Jason as the The Heat Miser Hulk King
It's really hard to create crazily heightened, monstrously "scarier than the usual zombies" creatures for the climactic endings of zombie stories in which we've already seen zombie rats that get their kicks by chewing through the innards... of other zombies.
But when Jason purposefully forgoes the inhibitor antidote to become his true zombie self, the result is a cheesily rendered CGI disaster that feels like what would happen if you mixed the genes of the Hulk, the Heat Miser, Shrek and maybe a bit of the Night King from Game of Thrones.Missed the mark?
- Photo: Netflix637 VOTES
Too Many Flashbacks
Look. We're all smart. We can follow complicated storylines.
But most mortal humans will spend the first half of this series confused about whether we're in the present day (2006, in this case), the past (around 2000 during the civil war in the fictional Panamstan bordering China) or somewhere in between.
Eventually, the flashbacks start to follow a pattern, and it all becomes clear what's going on. But the disorienting nature of the storytelling is almost as off-putting as the zombies themselves.Missed the mark?
- Photo: Netflix731 VOTES
Leon Refuses to Expose the Conspiracy
Let's recap: Leon and Claire almost die to expose an evil conspiracy to infect the world with a zombie virus in order to profit by selling the inhibitor drug to the desperate masses.
But after saving us all and collecting the evidence that could bring down the pharmaceutical company that's really behind it all, Leon decides to just keep the evidence to himself.
Claire can't convince him otherwise, and walks away in a huff (probably fed up with yet again being sidelined).
Of course, Leon is probably just protecting the U.S.-China relationship as part of his geopolitical duty. Or something.Missed the mark?
- Photo: Netflix820 VOTES
Too Many Familiar Beats
Fans and reviewers have pointed out that not only does Infinite Darkness bear remarkable similarities to previous animated feature Resident Evil: Degeneration, but the general storytelling was somewhat lazy and predictable.
Sure, the political component adds a bit of a Tom Clancy/David Baldacci vibe - but in the end the conspiracy tropes proliferate, complete with an inside job by a high-ranking government official who runs a secret government lab that exists so the heroes can save the day by destroying it.
It's all fine. It works. But it has also all been done before.Missed the mark?