The story of RE: Infinite Darkness is the filmic equivalent of choosing vanilla ice cream at an award-winning gelataria; still ok but the experience could have been more; much much more.

In a frustrating choice of story and style, ‘RE: Infinite Darkness’ takes the shambling and brainless, repeatedly regurgitated espionage themes of Resident Evil 5 and 6 as its backdrop, rather than the tense, brutal and more horror-centric themes of the more effective entries in the gaming franchise.

Infinite Darkness opens in the fictional state of Panamstan where US operatives get trapped behind enemy lines without realising that (shock horror) the government are actually using the conflict to test out their newest bioweapon virus. Recognising the truth, and with tensions between China and the USA reaching fever pitch, its up to the heroes to uncover the plot, find the man responsible and of course save the day.

Admittedly the story does have some minor twists and turns, but the new characters introduced to deliver them are almost instantly forgettable, and not a patch on classic character we’ve come to know over the years.

Speaking of which, even the included franchise favourites (Claire and Leon) don’t escape the films ‘bland-filter’, as we see their future selves partaking in roles about as predicable and engaging as this films plot.

Low hanging fruit indeed, and what’s even more frustrating is that the film doesn’t really build on anything that the games already told ten times over. The four animated episodes cover an ever escalating, linear and predicable story of a plot line which has been used, RE-used and then ceremoniously replaced by what most people agree is a franchise returning to form.

For me Resident Evil never worked outside the claustrophobic confines of its horror-troped locations; and for all the reasons presented here – there are just too many continuity issues with the premise of the virus out in the wild.

To ‘Infinite Darkness’ credit, the animation is pretty cool, and indeed in keeping with art style and direction of the polished cutscenes found in the modern games, with some decent amounts of gore and violence to ensure each 20odd minute episode continues to engage. In particular the first episode, which features plenty of zombie action, and the last, which essentially feels like the ending level of any of the games being set in a facility, with big OTT boss battles, and even a nod to some of the character actions as our protagonists deal with the predicable tyrant variant, we’ve all come to love and loathe in equal measure.

Still despite the visuals looking the part, the story is just so generic anyone that isn’t a die-hard fan is going to have a hard time investing in it. Franchise veterans have likely had their fill of the corrupt government cliché, and equally I think new fans will just find the whole, overly dramatized one dimension affair a little too trite when compared to thriller series which offer far more depth.

It’s a shame really, because, as the games continue to show, there is clearly some creative scope left in what appears to be an old franchise, newly rejuvenated.

Overall, ‘Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness’ didn’t really strike a chord with me, and much like Resident Evil 6 in particular, the miniseries just trots out RE:Default_Story.exe, and it’s disappointing; albeit not entirely unenjoyable. Gaming wise I’d say the franchise is at a peak not seen since the original trilogy, cinema-wise, between this and ‘Welcome to Racoon City’ I’d choose controller over TV remote any day.  

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