Dolph Lundgren aka Max Gatling aka Badass is sent into a Zombie filled part of town to retrieve some big-wig's daughter. He then f*cks up lots of Zombies, Lundgren style!
I grew up on Dolph Lundgren movies and I gotta hand it to the guy, he has been consistent in his B Movie career when it comes to delivering some solid efforts. As opposed to say Steven Seagal who simply does not give a flying jump kick about what he puts out, Lundgren cares and it shows. I'm not saying he's not in the occasional turkey (like STASH HOUSE
for example), but for the most part, his B movies go from good (THE PACKAGE) to great (UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING
)! So when I heard that Lundgren was taking on the undead in BATTLE OF THE DAMNED, I so had to see that and thankfully it wound up being a low budget blast!
What can I say! It's Lundgren versus the Undead, backed up by killer robots! Yeah you heard me, freaking robots! I couldn't have dreamed up a better concept after a bottle of Jack Daniels Honey (try that shit, it owns, guzzle it straight up but on ice). The flick was pretty basic in its structure and that was part of its charm: ACT 1 action, action, action, ACT 2 bla bla, action, bla, bla, ACT 3 action, action, action- roll end credits. There was no pretenses here! This was a fun times B movie through and through one that was solely there to entertain, and entertained I was! Action wise, we got all kinds of goodies! From Lundgren mowing down countless Zombies with automatic weapons, kicking the shit out of them or hammering them to death, the axis was on variety and I was well served! On his end, Director Christopher Hatton kept the flick moving at a brisk pace, infused his action scenes with mucho energy while doing a fairly fine job in covering up the lack of coin he had to work with.
What about the cast you may ask? Well Dolph's role of Max Gating (great f-ing name) was no big stretch for the lad. The character was low on words and high on whoopass. But hey, Lundgren is a veteran at this point, knows the camera well and is able to communicate a lot with just one stare or a movement. Cutie Melanie Zanetti owned it! She was intense and affable as Jude. Matt Doran did fine as Reese, I loved to hate David Field as Duke and it was great to see Van Damme's THE QUEST alumni Jen Sung tossed into the mix as Elvis. I wished he had more action stuff to do though. Add to all that gritty cinematography (by Roger Chingirian), a handful of smile inducing money shots (Dolph and robot back to back BLASTING zombies) and an engaging score (by Joe Ng and Ting Si Hao) and you get a cheesy and fun action horror party!
On the flipside, the middle section was a pinch tedious, with some of the drama not doing much for me and some of the side actors stinking up the joint. Morever, what's the point of having a hot ass dame like Oda Maria (Anna) in a B movie, obvioulsy there to be eye/sex candy, if you won't have her drop her top or/and undies! That's like not bringing a rubber at an orgy. Stupid. Finally, the budget limations resulted in two things that irked me: 1- Too much shaky cam to hide stuff, specially during some of the action scenes. 2- Not going all out with some of the cool concepts they had going for them (those robots should have caused further damage).
On the whole though; BATTLE OF THE DAMNED gave me exactly what I craved it from it Dolph Lundgren teaching the Undead "how to die" lessons OLD SCHOOL and then it gave me a bonus - a gang of ass kicking robots backing him up! What else do ya want? You dig zany B movies filled with lots of wam-bam? Join this battle!
We get fun with knives, Zombies hammered to death, countless gun shot wounds, a Zombie torso dragging around, blood splats galore and more! It's not Romero's Dawn of the Dead, but it got the job done!
I kept waiting for Oda Maria to drop her top in a love scene with Dolph which the flick suggested was gonna happen. I'm still waiting. Fail.
BATTLE OF THE DAMNED went all out with little coin in its back pocket and I respected its ambition and audacity. Also, in my world, hard to go wrong with Lundgren f*cking up Zombie for an hour and a half. Well shot, action packed, with most of the cast being competent (I loved Melanie Zanetti), Battle of the Damned hit the trashy pleasure spot! Sure the middle section got bogged down a bit, the budget constraints sometimes showed, the shaky cam was annoying at times and Oda Maria's top staying on was a travesty (there was no other purpose to that role), but on the whole Lundgren + Zombies + Robots + Mayhem = ALL GOOD! For B Movie lovers only!
The robots here were actually the same bots as the ones found in Christopher Hatton's Robotropolis (2011). And they wrote them in as such, referring to Robotropolis in this film.
Melanie Zanetti played Juliet for the Queensland Theatre Company.
The flick was shot in Malaysia.