The miss-matched quartet drive across the country formally known as the USA, in search of sanctuary (and something called Twinkies). They crash at a mansion in Hollywood, which leads on to an amazing cameo by Bill Murray ( City of Ember ).
This isn't tied to the standard 3-act structure of action movies. It's more like a road movie; a series of encounters on a journey the characters are making. The film is very fresh in its approach, lacking cliches (except when it re-invents them).
Six contestants are sent into a disused slaughterhouse, where they must hunt each other to the death. Worse, dozens of Fast Zombies are then released into the area.
The combination of kung-fu and zombie gore is familiar, but if you are into that kind of thing then you should love this film.
This is basically a B-movie with an overblown SPFX budget. Once infected, a zombie's face grows prosthetic splotches like something from Evil Dead , and there's a lot of CGI used when zombies are killed. The shaky camerawork doesn't really add much to the plot.
Ethan Hawke ( Gattaca ) is a scientist working on a synthetic blood substitute. He only drinks pigs blood, though nobody has thought of mass-marketing this as a substitute. Human blood is running out, and starving vamps are degrading into full-blown Sub-suckers.
What starts out as a futuristic drama like Gattaca turns into action-adventure closer to John Carpenter's Vampire$ when our reluctant protagonist meets Willem Dafoe ( Spiderman ), a cured vamp. Together they have to fight off the Vampire Army run by Sam Neill ( The Dish ), and perfect the cure.
This is a tongue-in-cheek horror, very self-knowing. Cliches are bypassed and turned around. Not a bad film.
Small-Town Sheriff Timothy Olyphant ( Die Hard 4.0 ) discovers that folks in his town are acting strangely ... then turning homicidal. The suspense is ramped up when it turns out a government plane has contaminated the water supply, and the whole town has been infected with something terrible.
When the military seals off the town, the Sheriff escapes to save his wife, Doctor Radha Mitchell . And bloodshed ensues!
The film is American Jedi versus Fast Zombies, which would have been a great tag line (copyright notwithstanding) and works well as a one-line review. It's far above average as zombie films go - Romero didn't direct, but he produced it, and it works much better than expected. There's great character development, the acting is spot-on, and cliches are actually avoided! Well, mostly ...
The survivors are trapped inside the building, besieged by hordes of the . Luckily, they are helped by a heavily-armed stranger named Michael (Paul Betanny - Knight's Tale ).
What sets this apart from other Zombie flicks is the magical, specifically pseudo-Christian nature of the infection. Jehovah has decided to destroy the human race, so he sends his Angels to do the dirty work. The theme is one of Faith, though this is not much touched upon. But as the saying goes, There are no atheists in foxholes.
Eli's mission is to take the King James Version across the USA without showing it to anyone. After thirty years he's still at it, while most people could have got there in about three. That said, he reads more of it every day.
By strange coincidence, the town that Eli wanders into is run by Gary Oldman ( Lost In Space ), who wants a copy of the Bible for himself. It seems that all the Bibles in the USA were destroyed by the survivors, who blamed it for the war. There must be some truth in the accusation, since the KJV is the most widely printed book in the English language!
The stranger wanders into town, befriends a gorgeous young female who has family links to the local leader ... Yes, a bit like the storyline to Avatar . The truth is, this whole thing is quite generic. The fight scenes are impressive, but get more and more overblown as the villains throw ever more firepower at the apparently unkillable action hero.
The film's theme is Faith. But due to the nature of the McGuffin, this is all a bit blatant. Nothing like the subtlety of Shawshank Redemption , for example. Given the fact that the survivors blamed the Bible enough to deliberately abolish it, and the vast amount of bloodshed it has caused during Eli's walk ... was it really worth it? Especially in a world where almost everyone is illiterate!
Mila Kunis gets to do more than most girls in action movies do - for example, this would pass the Bechtel test. Ray Stevenson ( Rome ) and Jennifer Beals round out the excellent cast as Oldman's henchman and blind moll respectively, while Michael Gough ( Harry Potter ) and Frances De La Tour have cameos as OAP survivalists.
After the intro credits, the story skips forward six months to a post-Apocalyptic scenario. The world has been overrun by slow zombies. Our protagonist must trek from the relative safety of his remote cabin into Belfast in order to find a cure. He meets a couple of scientists, but the stress of constant threat from Zombie attack has driven them ... unstable.
In typical genre blindness the zombies are referred to as walkers. However, they are actually decomposing! It's good to see proper zombies, shuffling along - though the longer they are around the faster and more aggressive they become.
The film established a certain infamy due to a subplot with David Carradine ( Kill Bill ), as a hermit in one of his final appearances. Unfortunately this infamy involves a pre-release copy being pirated on the internet, which means that most on-line reviews are negative because the reviewers saw the unfinished version!
The book is well-written, with strongly drawn characters. The story is sold as being a zombie Apocalypse, but the undead only rise during the third section of the book.
While his previous work was really a post-apocalyptic drama, this time we get uncomfortably close to the infected from the get-go. A global flu epidemic has mutated, turning sufferers into good old-fashioned slow zombies. Our protagonists, a familiar mix of Security Forces and unrepentant IRA terrorists, have to fight for their lives.