Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A horrendous virus sweeps through a nation, killing millions, while the remaining infected people are quarantined behind a giant wall. After about 30 years, the government spots some people living in the streets within the wall and send an elite fighting team behind enemy lines – led by a woman with impressive breasts – in order to bring back the apparent “cure” for the apocalyptic virus. What follows is a smorgasbord of movie plotlines that you’ve loved before. Oh and tons of killings!
What starts out as a pretty damn cool (and effective) updated melange of various classic (and not-so-classic) sci-fi/action flicks like ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, ALIENS and RESIDENT EVIL
, ultimately goes a little too over-the-top and mixes too many genres for my limited-attention taste buds. I didn’t mind a little bit of those films to start things off, but once MAD MAX AND THE THUNDERDOME, GLADIATOR
and THE LORD OF THE FUCKING RINGS entered the picture, my excitement level lessened somewhat, especially since the story itself wasn’t all that interesting to begin with. The good news about this movie is that it’s directed like a son-of-a-gun and includes several awesome action scenes and bloody kills, many of which made me jump up and cheer my head off. Unfortunately, dim-witted rejects from the MAD MAX films soon enter the picture and start screaming a lot (yawn), followed by men who look like elves sniping folks off with arrows. In other words, the film combines one too many genres into one another, to the point that none of it was really much fun for me to follow anymore. Mind you, the story isn’t generally the “selling point” in films like this (thank God), but the characters can be, and unfortunately for us, they’re nothing to write home about either, with only Rhona Mitra (and her giant-ass lips) and the black guy (aka Adrian Lester) claiming any sort of dimension whatsoever. Malcolm McDowell and Bob Hoskins also show up, but neither one does anything worth remembering (although I think I saw McDowell cashing his check in the background during one scene).
The film is really just a mashup of a variety of other movies, many of which were better than this one, because much like writer/director Neil Marshall’s previous projects, DOG SOLDIERS
and THE DESCENT
, they concentrated on one story, one genre and developed their characters and action accordingly. What we get here is a hodge-podge of everything, and while many of the action scenes work, the directing is damn sweet and the soundtrack and gore top-notch (in most movies, the camera turns away when there’s a gory killing, but Marshall shows you everything…nice!), the film ultimately lost me, especially near the end when it turned into a TRANSPORTER film all of a sudden (I enjoyed those scenes on their own as well, but they just felt like they belonged in another movie). I also “get into” these action films a lot more when the “bad guy” is memorable, but not many people on the bad (or good) side struck me as impressive in any way here. So while I wouldn’t recommend that anyone pay top dollar to see this movie, I think it’s definitely worth a rental, especially if you’re a fan of any of the films mentioned in this review, since the homages are appreciated and many of the blood and action scenes, effective in many ways. The film sorta loses itself within the mix of its genres and doesn’t really generate much interest in its storyline or any or its characters though, so basically…it’s your call! I guess it all depends what you’re in the mood for. Me…I’m off to download some Rhona Mitra wallpapers, thank you very much.