View Full Version : George A. Romero's Land of the Dead (2005)

06-25-2005, 10:50 PM
Well didn't think the day would come when I'd get to see a fourth installment of the Living Dead series. Trilogies usually cap off any story, and when one goes over as dysmally as Day of the Dead did, I assumed the franchise reached it's end. What amazed me more than the fact that Romero dusted off this old series for another go-round was the fact that critics seem to be loving this film. The composite score by the NSFC was an 85, which I believe passed even Howl's Moving Castle, making this the best movie in theaters.

As for the film, well we have to look at it as the culmination of a series. The film takes place in the present, as the others did. There are signs of life in this world, and all of it is in a mythical city surrounded by water, drawn bridges, and electric fences. The film opens with a brief audio montage of reports on zombies. This intro ends with the very forboding what if of the zombies achieving the ability to reason and think on any level. Right there you get the sense that that just may be the new twist that's gonna make this film different from the last three. Not ten minutes into the movie do we see one resourceful mechanic zombie make the first "communication" with fellow zombies.

Not to be spoiling anything, but all of this is established before ten minutes have gone by, so don't get too alarmed. The city where this takes place is actually Ontario, but that's neither here nor there. It has a very Marxist slant to it. There is no middle class in this world. There are the rich people in the Tower, and there is everyone else, which lumps you into street peddler or criminal, which essentially means broke and degenerate. There is nowhere to go, and even when all a person wants to do is go somewhere where there are no people he is stopped.

That person is our hero of the story Riley (woo hoo I remember the name of a character). He and his trusty sidekick Charlie (a mentally retarded burn victim who nearly gets mistaken for a zombie) are the duo who do right. In a world of pure evil, they are the good guys. Along the way they meet (hell I can't remember her name), played by Asia Argento, and they get to make their own little family, at least in the akward triangle way, with Charlie taking the unfortunate role of the child. Before Riley can leave he has to stop Cholo (played well by the always impressive John Leguizamo). He's on a murderous rampage because he has been screwed over by the boss of the big city, with characteristic villainy courtesy of Dennis Hopper.

That's enough plot for this review, but lets say that a lot of zombies and a lot more explosions occur. Although my gf found herself covering her eyes at the mere suggestion of horror, I didn't get the feeling of this being a horror film. Never once was there a jolt, even for cheap suspenses sake. Instead the film seems more sci-fi horror. More like a big budget 80's action movie with Arnold. How often in horror films do people threaten to blow up buildings, and blow up numerous military equipment? But if you do like action movies, with lots of flesh eating and gore, then you may just love this film. If expecting a scare, well I don't know what to tell you. I'll avoid any comments about the end, because some of you may read this without seeing it.