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: Netflix118 VOTES
Brutally Drawn and Quartered
Let's be honest: At under 2 hours in running time, this is just a movie split into four slices that are essentially Act 1, Act 2A, Act 2B and Act 3.
Why Netflix felt it needed to draw and quarter a perfectly legit film and call it a series is unclear, especially since it already has a live-action series in the works.
This could have just as well just been a movie. We all know it. And we didn't need to sit there skipping recaps every twenty-something minutes.
- Photo: Netflix215 VOTES
Let's give credit where it's due and admit that some of the CGI animation was pretty cool. Some of the battlefield scenes were especially well done, and we almost forgot we weren't in a live-action environment.
But wow, was it inconsistent.
One second, we're completely engrossed in the action, the next we're watching shaky CGI people walk awkwardly down hallways or speak words that don't match their lip movements (perhaps because of language overdubbing from Japanese to English).
Explanation or not, it would have been nice to see every frame get the same attention.
- Photo: Netflix330 VOTES
Leon and Claire Are Barely Together
Fans of the Resident Evil video games were more than ecstatic when it became clear that Infinite Darkness would bring together Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield in one animated miniseries to battle the zombies as one cohesive fighting force.
Of course, they're hardly ever together the entire series - until the climactic battle with Jason the Superzombie as he leaps from rafter to rafter trying to destroy the lab and expose the conspiracy.
As Leon fights him, Claire mostly shrieks and runs for her life until they land on top of each other and...
Is this a rom com now? If you were going to go there, then go there. But don't wait until the end of the series.
- Photo: Netflix419 VOTES
Claire Gets Sidelined Early On
Claire Redfield is a beloved character from the Capcom video game series, and she deserves to be more than a seldom-on-screen incidental character who occasionally finds a clue or chases down the Defense Secretary in a hallway--but mostly wanders around aimlessly as Leon does all the fun stuff (like electrocute zombie rats in soon-to-explode submarines).
And then in the climactic ending, she finally steps up... oh wait, no. Actually she's duct taped to a chair and quite literally a damsel in distress.
- Photo: Netflix515 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.
- Photo: Netflix614 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.