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Another Great Franchise Ruined.
on 8 August 2006
It seems that George Romero has made the mistake as many in the entertainment industry: Sacrificing their art for a pathetic pot shot at the Bush administration and America's foreign policy. Okay, so a little political subtext can add a welcome extra dimension to a film and certainly Night, Dawn and Day all wielded social and political aspects to their plots, but they were subtle. And Land of the Dead isn't. `We don't negotiate with terrorists' drawls Hopper at one point, doing his best impersonation of old George W.
`I'm going to do a Jihad on his ass' enthuses John Leguziamo at another, no doubt inspired by those people who, previously trained and equipped by the US, now find themselves the subject of its aggression. How pathetic. Why not just call the film: `Western people are all bad... with zombies.'
Sadly the problems with the film stretch beyond hideous, unwanted political grandstanding (see Bono for details): while this film sports production values that make it easily the equal of its predecessors the story is just too lame and listless to survive. The tenuousness of zombies, during their short, decomposing lifespan somehow `evolving' and focussing their undead rage on the barricaded tower block that houses the rich (therefore evil) people who run the show is just sad. Further nails are hammered into the coffin by the awful acting, particularly that of the `lead' zombie and the charisma-bypass hero of the piece.
There are a few things that stand out, Asia Argento provides acting skills that are well cut out for this kind of work as well as being damn good looking. The sets too are fantastic, although sadly we see very little of them. And that, unfortunately is the crux of the matter. There are so many things in the film that could have made it brilliant: Dead Reckoning (confined to the background), the tower block (wasn't it crying out for a siege), the sleazy underbelly of the city (gets about 5 minutes screen time). But in the end, the films short run time is filled up with idiotically shallow character development and impotent action scenes.
George Romero invented this genre, he gave us 3 life-changing horror films and directly inspired a raft of awesome video games and films, so forgive me for saying it, but this is just bilge-water.