Tag Archives: braaains

Dead Rising: Watchtower (2015)

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Directed by Zach Lipocsky
Starring Jesse Metcalfe, Meghan Ory, Virginia Madsen, Dennis Haysbert, Keegan Connor Tracy

Reporter Chase Carter (Metcalfe) and camerawoman Jordan (Tracy) are reporting on the evacuation of East Mission  in the face of a resurgence of a zombie virus despite the use of a drug called Zombrex to control infection. When the Zombrex injections fail, panic breaks out and zombies run amok.

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Gallowwalkers (2012)

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“Live by the gun. Die by the gun. Come back for more.”

Directed by Andrew Goth
Starring Wesley Snipes, Kevin Howarth, Riley Smith, Tanit Phoenix, Patrick Bergin, Diamond Dallas Page and Simona Brhlikova

A desert. A child in a bad wig hauling buckets of blood. A man on a horse. A body. A woman with an axe. A group of yellow-eyed, gunslinging cardinals re-enacting the opening sequence of Once Upon a Time in the West. Gruff, internal monologuing cowboy Aman (Snipes) apparently shoots four men with two shots, then rips one man’s head off.

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The Resident Evil franchise (2002-2012)

 

Movie also contains zombies.
Alice was not convinced Rain was pulling her weight as a posture pal.

My handle is happyfett, and I remember everything.

Actually, that’s blatantly untrue; memory like a sieve, and in fact I have typically found myself in a Dirty Harry style quandary regarding the Resident Evil movie franchise. Have I seen five movies, or just four? Well, for now at least I know, because with The Final Chapter coming out next year, in time for the franchise’s fifteenth anniversary, I’ve spent the past couple of days catching up as far as possible on the series. I couldn’t get the first and third movies easily, but I had already seen them.

So, here we go with a run down of the first five Resident Evil movies.

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Darkest Day (2015)

Random trivia: All of those soldiers are the same guy.
Random trivia: All of those soldiers are the same guy.

Directed by Dan Rickard
Starring Dan Rickard, Chris Wandell and Samantha Bolter

A man, Dan (Rickard), wakes on the beach in Brighton to find the city deserted and in ruins. He meets a young couple scavenging food. One of them is killed by marauding zombies (although as is now de rigeur, we’re not really using the Z word,) and the other leads him back to a house where a group of young survivors have gathered, including muscular, weirdly well-armed Sam (Wandell) and reserved tough girl Kate (Bolter).

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Ghosts of Mars (2001)

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Back in the day, when a studio might insist on a big star like Ice Cube if all you had was Jason Statham.

“It’s their planet… We are the aliens.”

Directed by John Carpenter
Starring Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge and Jason Statham

Ballard (Henstridge), a police officer on Mars, reports to a panel after a mission goes royally tits up. Through a series of nested flashbacks, she explains how a simple pick-up of accused murderer ‘Desolation’ Williams (Cube) from a mining town jail went south as her team – Commander Braddock (Pam Grier), Ballard, Sergeant Jericho Butler (Statham) and a pair of rookies – stumbled into a town full of men and women possessed by, if you will, the ghosts of Mars.

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Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Badass.
Badass.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

Directed by Burr Steers
Starring Lily James, Sam Riley and Jack Huston

In a Regency era Britain beset by hordes of the undead, Elizabeth Bennett (James) and her sisters have been trained in the martial arts to repel the zombie horde from their family estate. When the wealthy Mr Bingley (Douglas Booth) buys nearby Netherfield Hall – recently vacated after an outbreak of zombism at a wist party – Mrs Bennett (Sally Phillips) sees a chance to begin marrying her daughters out of what she sees as an undesirable warrior lifestyle. Jane (Bella Heathcoat) soon falls in with Mr Bingley, but Lizzie falls into an altogether more confrontational relationship with Bingley’s friend, professional zombie killer, Colonel Darcy (Riley).

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Summer of Lovecraft: City of the Living Dead (1980)

This is the zombies' patented 'squeeze the brain out of the back of your skull' attack.
Buckle up, kids; this is going to be a rough one.

“From the bowels of the Earth they came… to collect the living.”

Directed by Lucio Fulci
Starring Christopher George, Catriona MacColl and Carlo De Mejo

The Story

There are vestiges here of ‘The Dunwich Horror’, but only in the broadest terms – Dunwich, horror, gateway to Hell.

The Film

Mary (MacColl) apparently dies of fright during a seance, but is rescued from a premature burial by reporter Peter (George) and describes her vision of a priest committing suicide in a town called Dunwich. Her medium, Theresa, explains that this was prophesied in the Book of Enoch, and that the priest’s suicide opened the gates of Hell. If he is not destroyed by All Soul’s Day, the dead will rise and destroy the living.

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The Summer of Lovecraft: Re-Animator (1985)

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“Herbert West has a good head on his shoulders… and another one on his desk.”

Directed by Stuart Gordon
Starring Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale and Jeffrey Combs

The Story

Herbert West – Reanimator is the account of an unnamed narrator and his friendship with the eponymous West, a fellow medical student and later physician who led the pair’s exploration of the mechanisms of the human body and how they might be reanimated after death. From medical school to practice to service in the Great War, a series of episodes describe the progress of West’s work on his reanimating serum, ending each time in a distinctly qualified success. Finally, the victims of his work come for him, or the narrator finally cracks. One of the two.

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Ninja Apocalypse (2014)

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“Devastation. Mutation. Termination.”

Director Lloyd Lee Barnett
Starring Christian Oliver, Les Brandt, Ernie Reyes, Jr., Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

OK, it’s The Warriors, right, only it’s a post-apocalyptic world where everyone is a member of a different ninja clan with its own special magical mutation. When an enemy threatens the territory of the ninja clans, Grandmaster Fumitaka (Tagawa) calls all the ninjas together, including the mysterious Lost Clan (he calls them, word-for-word, “the mysterious Lost Clan”) led by Ryu from Street Fighter (Oliver). When Fumitaka gets murdered, Ryu (OK, his real name is “Cage,” so he’s from Mortal Kombat, not Street Fighter) and his band of misfits have to fight their way past all the other ninja clans and get out of the underground nuclear bunker and home to safety.

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World War Z (2013)

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“Remember Philly!” (No, really; that’s what they got. I’m starting to suspect that the tagline is a dying art.)

Directed by Marc Forster
Starring Brad Pitt

In the wake of a zombie apocalypse, former UN, umm… guy Gerry Lane (Pitt) is sent to track down patient zero in the hopes of developing a vaccine. From Korea to Israel to Cardiff, he tracks the spread of the virus, leaving a trail of zombies and corpses in his wake.

Alternatively, an asymptomatic plague sufferer travels the world, fantasising about a zombie apocalypse to explain the death that follows him without having to shoulder any blame for it.

What’s wrong with it?

Based on a book written as the collected oral history of a zombie apocalypse, World War Z the movie attempts to create the kind of ‘one informed narrator in an apocalypse’ vibe that John Wyndham used to rock, and instead create a global catastrophe that revolves around just one person.

Jumping from place to place, with few ongoing characters apart from Lane and his family, who are essentially off-limits, the film has little in the way of emotional stakes. If the world dies, who cares? Even the death of a family who help the Lanes (because every life that Typhoid Gerry touches is destroyed) barely raises a quiver.

Through a random walk around the planet, following rumours and destroying already shattered lives even more than they already were, Gerry is blessed with obvious revelations that have not occurred to anyone else, and thus saves the day (mostly). His role as a harbinger of doom is established in Israel, where his arrival immediately presages the complete collapse of the country’s entirely awesome zombie defenses, and by his almost psychic detection of a spreading infection aboard a passenger airliner.

The original script, by John Michael Straczynsky, was described as ‘genre-busting’. It is incredibly apparent that this is not that script.

What’s right with it?

The zombies spasms are creepy, and the wall-climbing waves are actually pretty amazing. In addition, the fact that the original Russian-gulag-to-rape-revenge-rampage ending was removed made it a less terrible film.

How bad is it really?

Despite some good set-pieces, the film is lacklustre, with none of the dead characters around for long enough or well-enough introduced for us to get to give a shit about them, and in a disaster movie you have to care. It’s not enough for Jennifer Jones to fall out of the elevator; we care because she saved the children and had a sweet little love story with Fred Astaire.

Best bit (if such there is)?

Probably the ‘ant pile’ as the zombies hurl themselves against the Israeli wall, clambering one on top of the other until the speed of climb surpasses the rate of collapse.

What’s up with…?

  • The complete failure of anyone other than Gerry to notice anything?
  • Sending a doctor into the field with a pistol and no weapon safety training? Even in a desperate situation, you’d think they’d go over ‘finger off the trigger’.
  • The zombies’ psychic ability to sense illness and injury? Given that they are basically ravening corpses responding to sound only, it seems remarkably selective.

Ratings

Production values – as usual with commercial entries, I can’t fault the film here. 3
Dialogue and performances –  There is nary a line of dialogue that isn’t exposition, with the exception of a few semi-coherent references to what Lane used to do. The acting is all good; there’s just nothing memorable to be said. 12
Plot and execution – The plot is basic, but the execution fails on a fundamental level when the film fails to make us care about really anyone16
Randomness – Lane’s revelations are not random, but the fact that no-one else sees what he sees (not just Joe Public, but Mossad agents, WHO researchers and other trained observers) is. The plot is also held together by chance in a number of cases. 8
Waste of potential – An interesting idea is not merely rendered dull in the name of accessibility, it is actually rendered inaccessible, as anyone we care about proves indestructible, and anyone who dies proves unimportant. 18

Overall 57%