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Halloween Movie Challenge 2015 - Movies 29-31 (Saving The Zombies 'Til Last)

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Oct. 10th, 2015 | 02:02 am
mood: awake
music: Dean Martin - Powder Your Face With Sunshine
posted by: shaved_ape in zombie_survival

These were the last three films in my Halloween movie challenge this year. (Watch and review 31 new horror films during October) I have posted this entry both on my own journal and in the 'moviebuffs' LJ film community.

There are things about this film I like but sadly they are outweighed by what I don't like. What I like is that this is a zombie film by the back door. For a large part of the film nothing 'zombie' happens. For (possibly too) much of the film we follow a fairly ordinary person going about her daily business. Even after things start getting a bit creepy and weird there is none of the usual 'outbreak stuff' and certainly none of the 'apocalypse stuff'. I like that it is different. I also like the titular 'Sick Boy.' Zombie kids are cool!
What I don't like is the poor quality of the writing which seemingly spoils everything else. The central character is annoying beyond measure. It's okay to have an annoying lead character (some of the best ones are) but the female lead in this is frequently annoying just because it helps move the plot forward - not just once but time and time again. The 'zombie virus' doesn't follow any accountable pattern. Some people turn over the course of days (or longer) and are able to sustain conversations, some go full zombie within a minute of being bitten - whatever suits the movement of the plot. When the action eventually starts the police soon arrive on the scene to find a small boy pinning a young woman to the floor and acting in a very aggressive way. The police reaction isn't to physically intervene but to shoot the boy without warning! Really? In a rich white neighbourhood the police first reaction is to shoot an admittedly aggressive but still unarmed prepubescent child? Normally in a zombie film that kind of quick thinking is to be applauded but at this point it isn't supposed to be a zombie film. This is where the outbreak starts and the police have never seen a zombie. These last two points (about the virus and the police) in themselves are fairly small criticisms. I have overlooked much bigger faults in films in the past - I mention them to illustrate the sloppy writing which is willing to stretch the reality of the film beyond any credibility just to move the plot forward. I am sure that a better writer could have found ways to move the plot forward that were not so cheap, obvious and continually annoying. Its a bit of a waste, really.

This Taiwanese zombie film is shot partially in in English and partially in Mandarin (with English subtitles). There are two distinct sections of the film. The first depicts the outbreak of the virus starting in an anonymous tower block with a batch of 'infected tablets'. This section of the film reminded me a lot of 'The Raid' as a small number of survivors had to battle their way through a building that filled rapidly with infected zombies. The second section of the film deals with events after the zombies have gone apocalyptic. Governments have fallen and crime bosses rule various territories, pitting prisoners against zombies (or each other) in gladiatorial combat just for the sport. The two halves are linked by two of the survivors (who are now prisoners and forced to fight) and another survivor who has now become a crime boss (despite previously being a college lecturer!) who has kept his infected daughter at his side like a demented pet. There is plenty of action in this film ranging from gun-play to martial arts and zombie killing set pieces. In the second half of the film you almost forget there are zombies involved, so much does the emphasis shift to the gladiatorial setting of the post apocalypse.

I had expected this to be a deeply cheesy movie even before I found out it was a Troma production. Cheap and cheesy just about sums it up. At no point does this movie even pretend to take itself seriously and that isn't a bad thing. I wish it were funnier. Many of the jokes that are in the film do little for me. Maybe actual wrestling fans (I am not) would get more out of it in that regard, but the movie sets out to be a silly bit of zombie fluff (with wrestlers) and it achieves precisely that. I know little about wrestling but the one wrestler I had wish they had got involved (because it would have such a good thematic fit) is 'The Undertaker' but this is a Troma production, famous for knocking out cheap movies on the quick. I suspect that his fee alone would have been more than the whole budget of this film. In the unlikely event that someone with serious money wanted to do a zombie/wrestler movie they could take that idea on. Obviously, I am not holding my breath in that regard!

Link | Shoot it! |

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