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Land of the Dead (2005)

  Tags: Alan Van Sprang, Asia Argento, blood, Boyd Banks, Christopher Russell, Dennis Hopper, Edgar Wright, Eugene Clark, george a. romero, gore, Jason Gautreau, Joanne Boland, John Leguizamo, Krista Bridges, Land of the Dead, Max McCabe, Pedro Miguel Arce, Phil Fondacaro, Robert Joy, Sasha Roiz, Simon Baker, Simon Pegg, Tom Savini, Tony Munch, Tony Nappo, Zombie Movies

Your rating: None Average: 7.3 (9 votes)
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George A. Romero
93 minutes
Simon Baker, Robert Joy, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Pedro Miguel Arce, Krista Bridges, Eugene Clark, Boyd Banks, Jason Gautreau, Christopher Russell, Alan Van Sprang, Asia Argento, Tony Nappo, Tony Munch, Max McCabe, Phil Fondacaro, Sasha Roiz, Joanne Boland, Tom Savini, Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright

From Night in '68; Dawn in '78; Day in '85; now comes Land of the Dead in 2005. The man George Romero returns to the sub-genre that he started. Night of the Living Dead broke the horror mold back in the 60s by introducing the audience to something different. Instead of horror films hinting at things, the audience is actually seeing everything -- the cannibalism, the blood and guts. It the time, it was one freakin' scary flick. Ten years later George returns to the zombie genre after taking a break and working on various other projects. Dawn of the Dead is my personal favorite in the series and I'm sure goes the same with a lot of others.

The fact that a handful of people are trapped in a mall with flesh-eating zombies outside is a crazy concept to grasp. Especially knowing they're numbers are spreading all over the world. The film brought a new age of gore, from a head-splattering after shotgun blast at point-black range, and a number of scenes involving the tearing of flesh from limbs and various other parts of the body. Then there was Day of the Dead, the film that was thought to be the last film to make-up a trilogy. The movie didn't do as well as Dawn, but it still had an impact amongst horror fans. It was loaded with gore thanks to effects guru Tom Savini, but due to the fact that it was lacking in the action-department, a lot of viewers were turned off.

Two decades pass and rumors and talks of another movie in the zombie trilogy spread through the mouths of fans, until one day it was officially announced that Romero was indeed returning to make another film. Originally one of the titles was Twilight of the Dead and the rumored story was said to take place a couple years after the events of Day of the Dead, where there are only a small number of humans left on earth, and since the zombies are so advanced in their state of decomposition they're merely an annoyance. To top it off, the humans supposedly found a cure for those recently infected with the zombie disease. Obviously that plot wasn't used after so many rewrites by George, we end up with what we have with Land.

The story in this film takes place in present day Pittsburgh where the zombies have pretty much taken over the world, leaving the last of those not infected in contained areas. We follow a group of people who are in charge of a tank-like vehicle called the "Dead Reckoning" that is used to take out any zombie threat that may get in their while venturing outside. A member of the crew named Cholo (John Leguizamo) steals the vehicle in order to threaten a man named Kaufman (Dennis Hopper) to give him money he feels he's owed. Kaufman is pretty much the man behind everything that goes on in the contained areas and the safest part of the city known as Fiddler's Green, which is home of the more wealthy and fortunate of the none-infected. Of course the man who designed the vehicle is sent (along with his crew) to track down Cholo before things get out of hand. Little do they all know, the zombies are learning fast and have their own agenda against Kaufman and Fiddler's Green.

I, like many other fans of the genre, have been waiting for what seems like forever for another sequel, and finally it's here. Sadly, due to how things work in this day and age, the film was less like its predecessors and more like a typical modernized zombie flick. Sure there are some things in it that make it stand out, but in the end I have to say that I wasn't too impressed. The movie is very entertaining and the concept of the dead having already taken over and what's left of the human race is forced to live in confined areas is original. Though, it didn't really feel like a Romero movie. For one, George made the cuts (despite in the past where he refused) in order for the movie to get an R-rating. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I dislike the flick, I just dislike certain things.

Now we're to presume that the fact that the zombies in this movie are learning to hold a gun and shot and work together is a natural progression with the previous films. If you remember in Day, Bub was learning to shoot and saluted someone at the very end. Although I find that progression very interesting, I have a problem with the fact that they are just learning way too fast. I can believe a week or maybe a few days, but a matter of minutes or hours, they're holding weapons and using them against us? I mean, do they really need weapons? They're freakin' zombies, they can bite the hell outta us! But then again, they are pretty slow and weak.

I have mixed feelings about the leader of the horde of zombies referred to as "Big Daddy". For one, he doesn't even look like a zombie. He looks more like a demon or some guy with a deformed face; and he's somehow formed a plan to gather his zombie friends, put weapons in their hands, and head to the city? When the scene where they all stood at the docks and looked across the water to the city, I was just waiting for them to just jump in and start dog-paddling their way to land. And what was up with that howl of his?

The movie had its fair share of cool cameos (Tom Savini, Ed Wright, & Simon Pegg from Shaun of the Dead); good gore here and there (although they're very quick scenes); interesting characters; and small comedic elements added into it, which all added up to one entertaining piece of work, but that's all the movie is -- entertaining. It's not scary and very far from being a classic like the previous films. Another thing I had a problem with is the movie's lack of the feeling of utter seclusion.

For instance in the past films we had that secluded feeling where our heroes are bunkered up and greatly outnumbered by zombies, where there's no escape, but somehow they manage to pull through. In this movie the feeling only lasts a few seconds, then they'd just blast their way through the slow-walkin' muthaz with automatic weapons. It's just too bad that Romero had to go through with what the producer's wanted, and turned the flick into another Dawn of the Dead '04, down to the bus-turned-weapon-against-the-zombies. Although Romero directed this film, you'd never know from the looks of it.

There has been talks of a possible sequel to this movie, but only if this did well. The movie's budget was estimated to be around 15 or 17-million, and it made 10-million at the box office; opening in over 2200 theaters. Judging from the box office totals, we wont be seeing another film anytime soon (if ever). Unless George can put out a balls-to-the-wall, F-the-MPAA sequel, I'd like to see this as the last in the series. Oh yeah, George, the clown zombie = brilliant.

Although zombie-maestro George Romero directed this, it's basically your typical modernized and mainstream zombie flick. It's not as good as the previous films, but still very entertaining. Expect some cool, but brief gore scenes, and look out for some cameos. Worth a check.

Posted on November 5, 2009 - 5:21pm | FrighT MasteR