Working Through The Queue: Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness (2021)
I guess there was darkness, but there really wasn't anything infinite about it. We should probably be thankful for that though because this series sure did a lot of nothing in four episodes.
My Resident Evil credentials are fairly slim, so I'm not sure to what degree I can have a fair opinion on this installment on the franchise. Beyond the first couple movies (I think I subconsciously know there's like six of them but I try to suppress that), I've never played the games and don't really care to as I'm less into survivor horror gameplay. I do have a fascination with the world though (more so in the games than the movies), so I end up watching playthroughs by youtubers such as Markiplier. Because of that I think it's fair to say I have a decent knowledge of some basics, but when it comes down to caring about specific characters I get a bit hazy. Like, I know in theory who a Leon or Claire Redfield are, but does it matter because gimme them zombies please.
This series takes place in the game continuity between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5, giving the characters I mentioned previously a quick political thriller side story. The short of it is that there's a hacking event at the White House followed by a bio-terrorism attack where zombies are let loose on the grounds. That in itself would have been engaging, but it's quickly resolved and blown up into a larger story involving China, fictional middle-eastern country Penamstan (which maybe borders Kreplachistan), and the totally unexpected sub-plot of political corruption connected to pharmaceutical companies.
The series treads no new ground and does everything in such an exceedingly boring way that it's frankly impressive in its limp approach to both the horror and thriller genres. In a series that is specifically about zombies there is a bare minimum of zombies, and while I get that RE usually evolves into more engaging horrors it took forever to get there and it was still anti-climatic. Seriously, the zombie rats were the best creature feature in the whole series and they didn't even get that much screen time.
I'm unsure if the woodenness of all the characters was specific to this production or a carry over from their previous appearances, but there was very little to care for in the adventures of Leon and Claire. While Leon just did his action hero thing with terrible quips, Claire felt relegated to a weak sub-plot that really didn't add much to the overall story. There's a soldier guy named Jason who's obviously going to turn bad (that's not a spoiler, seriously), and then some guy named Patrick who's there until he isn't, and then is again when something has to happen. The character of Shen May actually has some more pathos going for her than all the others, but it's just never really well handled and then it just falls flat.
As for villains, while we do have a bland corrupt old white man politician as the general mover and shaker of events, the core threat falls on the shoulders of the aforementioned Jason. Jason has the muddiest motivation that doesn't hold up under any scrutiny, leaving you to stop and question why a whole lot of events even happen in the first place or why certain characters behave the way they do. Eventually he mutates into the big monster as per usual in Resident Evil stories, and he turns into a knock-off Abomination or a rejected Swamp Thing redesign. The only entertaining aspect to the whole climax with him is the over-the-top stupidity of the location battle as it takes place in an underground bunker filling up with acid that happens to be directly under the airport the President is giving a speech at. It's so stupid it almost cycles back into brilliant absurdity, but manages to fall short there as well.
The only real positive takeaway I got from the whole thing is that there seems to be some sort of obsession with conspiracy theory cork boards among the production staffs in this franchise. Seriously, there's one in the Resident Evil 3 remake, a couple in Resident Evil Village, and a prominent one in this series. Among the 28 games that make up the series, there's probably more.
It should tell you something that I started to lose focus and started creating a fanfiction where Charlie Day brings down the Umbrella Corporation. But that's pretty much where I ended up, so I can't really say I can recommend this show. It's possible if you're more into the games and have a connection to the established characters that it's a bit more worthwhile. You might also just prefer that there were less zombies in the story and slightly more political intrigue, but I just don't think that was well handled or balanced enough to have made it worthwhile. What we ended up with was something trying to be a bunch of different things and failing across the (cork) board.
Unless you count it as being a launch pad for my Always Sunny In Philadelphia/Resident Evil crossover fanfic, then it was a rousing success.