Zombie Apocalypse(released Oct/11) gives us yet another *gulp* taste of what the world end times/zombie ridden landscape,will look like after it all.Wow,I'm shaking my head right now because I haven't been through a watching experience like this in a LONG time.It's like getting a strong whiff of smelling salts under the old proboscis.Hooo-weee!As you know,there has been as much of an "outbreak" of zombie related movies in the past ten years from Hollywood as there have been imaginary plagues that these movies purport to show.Could just one more,be that bad a thing?
This time 'round we have what is called a VM2 virus...whatever happened to the VM1? Geesh,just asking. Anyhoos,it has wiped out a good portion of the Earth's pop(that's "population" for you non Tweeters)...doesn't it always? Ving Rhames leads a rag tag group of survivors from the eastern end of the U.S.to L.A.There they all hope to catch a boat over to Catalina Island and safety.Everything that you see in between is the usual hit/kill a zombie,run from a zombie and once in a while get bit by a zombie.In between all the "excitement",the players all have a resty-poo here and there.
That is the "plot",as much as it is;we definitely have a less is more thing going on here.Ving is no stranger to Zombies,oh no.He was last in Dawn of the Dead in /04 and acquitted himself pretty well in the zombie killing department there.So he knows what he's doing by now.Here,he is more of the menacing hulk type of guy,kinda shy and quiet,bad butt and ready to kill a Z at any moment.The rest of the cast,filled with lesser known actors,also acquit themselves pretty well."So what is so wrong with the film,Bob?...cut to the chase!",you may ask.Here are some observations from the couch:
Well,you know that little thing about a lack of plot I mentioned earlier? Ok,then. On top of this we have a myriad of faux pauxs and second rate special effects.The cheapness of the make up on the extras really shows,especially in close shots,which they tried to keep to a minimum,but didn't always manage to do successfully.When they didn't you could easily see either partial face masks or full face masks on many of them or just how lacking the overall make up was.
Near the beginning someone has a shotgun firing about 5 or 6 shots in a row,which is amazing considering you should only be able to get a couple off of that type.
More often than not their weapon thrusts were more than a little fake.One of the leading characters liked to pack a sword,and when she had her victim on the ground all she had to do was touch the body,then a further thrust sound was heard,but not seen.
Many times,also,the stars would be swinging at their foes,but very few,sad to say,ever really connected.I KNOW they NEVER connect in a movie,but these were a bit too far away from the extra,and the camera could pick it up quite well,thank you.
One scene has Ving and his sword packing gal pal crossing an L.A. bridge.A close up sees Ving carrying his now trademark hammer on his left shoulder.The next shot shows them walking away and Ving is carrying the hammer down by his right side.
And miracle of miracle happens at the end.The group are attacked by Zombie tigers at the pier waiting for the boat to Catalina.I LOVE tigers,why did they have to pick Tigers? Grrrr.One they dispatch quickly,while the other nails Ving before it meets its' maker(that's someone in the CGI department,btw).Up to now,any victims(zombie bitten)have turned quickly while they were alive.Ving?....naw.He asks them not to let him turn and he quietly dies.I guess the biggest name has to have a proper death scene sans Zombie turning,right?Ah,the perks of being the big fish in the little pond.
It all boils down to this,guys.We have here a film with very cheap production values and budget.Now sometimes in the past this has worked to a films advantage.In those the campiness is evident and there are usually moments of humour,either purposely or not.But this film is played so seriously(I don't recall a single second of humour ANYWHERE),that there is little room to maneuver.This movie might,I say might,fool/scare some of the younger crowd,but that is it.
Technically speaking the film is in a w/s a/r of,I would guess,1:78:1,as it doesn't say on the box.It is generally clear and crisp but there are some grainy scenes,especially when the lighting darkens.Probably the film itself.There is a featurette of the making of it and a gag reel.Both are way too short.But hey,we are on a budget here,right?
In conclusion,after viewing this zombie/apocalyptic stinker,one wishes the film itself had been consumed in all the destruction.1 1/2 - 2 stars.I feel generous today.