Review: Patient Zero

Patient Zero
3 10

PLOT: After a viral outbreak renders most of the population rabid, a team of army doctors holed-up in an underground bunker, try to discover the elusive patient zero, who they feel may possess the antibodies to cure the disease.

REVIEW: I feel like I’ve been reading about PATIENT ZERO for a few years now. Originally produced by Screen Gems as a full-scale theatrical release, the film is finally getting a limited release via Vertical Entertainment, although its been on VOD for about a month — all this three years after it was originally shot.


And so, the question is, how bad is it? Pretty awful, although watching it I couldn’t help but feel like the movie had been put through a meat grinder by a studio bent on salvaging it. How else do you explain the preponderance of terrible exposition delivered via voice over? It’s a shame because PATIENT ZERO has a decent pedigree. Director Stefan Ruzowitzky directed a great film a couple of years ago called THE COUNTERFEITERS (which won the best foreign language film Oscar in 2007), and a solid thriller last year called COLD HELL. He’s not someone without talent. Add to that, the fact that the script wound up on the Black List in 2013, and you have to wonder what went wrong.

Former Doctor Who, Matt Smith, adopts an unconvincing American accent to play a man who’s infected with the gene, but somehow has remained immune to the rabid transformation. He’s now being used by the military to communicate with the infected, while he hopes to find a cure for his infected wife while carrying on an affair with a doctor — played by Natalie Dormer - who’s pregnant with his child.

The first half of the film is pretty dicey, only livened up by a conceit where Smith plays music to rile up his subjects, including Joe Cocker and some other pricey soundtrack selections. Things pick up when Stanley Tucci comes into the movie as an infected subject who’s perfectly rational, verbose, and seems more highly evolved than the rest — with the thinking being that he’s the subject they’ve been waiting for.

Tucci really is the only reason to watch this, with him having fun chewing scenery. He elevates the film briefly, but before long it turns into just another zombie outbreak movie, and not a very creative one at that. The stock characters, including the toxic military hard ass (a stereotypical part for Clive Standen), are beyond two dimensional, and the action sequences are silly, particularly a bout between Tucci and Smith’s infected wife (Agyness Deyn) which is way too choreographed. It’s silly, silly stuff, but it’s also to self-serious to work in a so-bad its good kind of way.

It’s painfully obvious why Screen Gems decided to dump this one, and while the starry cast may prompt some people to give it a shot, even the most undemanding genre fan who be well-advised to skip PATIENT ZERO. Its pretty awful, and a movie I’m sure all involved want to forget.

Source: JoBlo.com



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