The Drudgeon reviews Land Of The Dead

Land Of The Deadaka George A. Romero’s Land Of The Dead
97 min., 2005
Written by George A. Romero
Directed by George A. Romero
Language: English
My rating: ★

So we are on to the next Romero zombie film. It’s only taken twenty years! Is that telling of the quality of the movie?

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So we are on to the next Romero zombie film. It’s only taken twenty years! Is that telling of the quality of the movie?

 

So in the 20 years that have passed since Day of the Dead was out to when Land of the Dead was released, we have gotten a bunch of new zombie films as well as a whole bunch of new zombies types. Some were great and others were crap, but when I heard that Romero was finally going back to the zombie genre I actually got excited. Then I remembered the last two movies I’d seen from him (Bruiser and The Dark Half), and I wasn’t very fond of them at all and that got me nervous. But it’s Mr. Romero right? The creator of the modern zombie film. If anyone can do it right, it would be him. Boy was I wrong.

So the movie follows our main character, Riley (Simon Baker), around as he does things a normal hero would do. Complain, gripe and just generally be a jerk to most people. He also has a tag-along (and not the Girl Scout Cookies) named Charlie (Robert Joy), whom Riley saved at one point in time so he follows him around and “protects” him with his super awesome shooting skills, including magically shooting through someone’s head and getting a zombie behind them. No seriously that actually happens.

 

You see there is a man named Paul Kaufman (Dennis Hopper) who, after the zombie breakout happened, took a bunch of his money and built up a safe haven in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for people. Two of the sides of this place are “protected” by rivers and the rest is covered by electric fences. He paid to have the military men trained and he paid to have the building known as Fiddler’s Green fixed and made livable.

 

But the people who don’t live (or aren’t allowed to live there) are pissed because they want to live there and don’t want to take the time or effort to fix up one of the other buildings. I mean they really aren’t lacking in options for building. Just look.

 

So, quit your bitching, pick a building and start fixing it up.

We also meet Cholo (John Leguizamo), a man who’s been doing the bidding of Paul Kaufman for a while with the hopes of moving into Fiddler’s Green. Slack (Asia Argento), a prostitute that is to be killed for helping a man that is talking about rebelling against Paul Kaufman (instead of just killing the man himself???). Let’s not forget Pretty Boy, Foxy, Mouse, Pillsbury, Motown, Chihuahua, etc. I mean, fuck. Does everyone have a fucking nickname? A nickname here or there is understandable, but pretty much everyone? It seems really silly and it’s like George A. Romero is trying too hard to make awesome characters.

 

That’s one thing that drives me crazy. All of the characters are “awesome”. They always get head shots and have a “badass” intro. In the last three movies the characters were just normal humans. Some were soldiers and pretty good with a gun, but none of them were “superhuman”. To me, that’s what makes those characters likable. They aren’t perfect. The characters in Land of the Dead are too perfect.

Back to the story. Now Riley designed a vehicle, called Dead Reckoning, that could go out and deal with and distract zombies while others get supplies. Well Cholo isn’t allowed into Fiddler’s Green and as retaliation he steals (and holds ransom) the city’s way of getting supplies, Dead Reckoning. Because (read in the tone of a five year old child whining), I want my money. Now who’s really the bigger asshole.

 

So Mr. Kaufman asks Riley to go after Cholo and retrieve Dead Reckoning. He agrees, but only because he wants to take Dead Reckoning for himself, because (again read in the tone of a five year old child whining) I designed it, so it’s mine. In the process he will also leave the place without an easier way to get supplies. What an asshole.

So the movie continues the way that George A. Romero usually does his zombie movies. Some of the heroes die, the rest narrowly escape and we learn a lesson about why we need to work together despite class and status or we learn that in the end it’s not about getting material things, it’s about the ones you love. Right?

Nope. Now I love it when a movie changes things up and makes things more interesting, but this movie feels like it was made for kids. The violence is actually quite tame and the fact that none of the heroes dies, it actually pretty insulting. Almost like he was afraid to kill anyone off because people might not like the movie.

 

The message of the movie is even worse. If you want something, take it. It doesn’t matter the consequences. Because there are no consequences. No one gets hurt and no one dies. Hooray! Alternately the message could be, if you have money you have to give it to everyone that doesn’t have money or else you are an evil bastard that doesn’t care about anyone, even though you have built an entire place that is a safe haven for people. Either way, it’s fucking stupid.

Now I’m just going to bring up a few things that really took me out of the movie or things that I just found really lame.

First – In the past movies when someone was bitten by a zombie it took a while (potentially days) before they turned, but now it only takes a few hours.
Second – Why is it that all the zombies are now just “character zombies”. Look, there’s the butcher zombie, and the baseball zombie.

 
Third – Along with the second, how is it that all the “character zombies” are always in the front of the hoarde, but strangely are never shot.
Fourth – How is it that Big Daddy (Eugene Clark) is always out in front of the hoarde, but he is always stopping to pick up things and look at stuff.
Fifth – Arrows? Really? That’s just a really stupid and impractical weapon to use.
Sixth – I “love” how there is always a huge change in how many zombies are attacking. There are shots where it looks like hundreds of zombies and then there are shots, especially during the “action”, where there are maybe twelve.
Seventh – Zombies used to kill to eat. Now they are just killing and biting to kill. Really?
Eight – Cameos DON’T make a movie good.

 
Ninth – The scene where they are rising out of the water look really lame. It looks like they were all just crouching down and then stood up. If they were walking, it would be a slow reveal of their bodies. It was just done better years before in Zombi 2 (1979).
Tenth – I find it very funny that once the zombies start attacking, no one knows how to do anything. None of the military men can shoot properly or even look in the right direction of where the zombies are.
And lastly Eleventh – Doesn’t anyone else find it really fucking stupid that after the zombies kill bunches of people, that our “heroes” let them go. WHY? Because they are just looking for a home? That’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard in a horror movie.

 

No, no, it’s okay let Chucky continue to kill, he’s just looking for a new body. FUCK YOU!

FUCK THIS MOVIE!!!!

Maybe the game…

…will be better

P.S. – Support horror in all its forms. Even if I didn’t like the movie you might want to check it out and yell at me about how wrong (or right) I am.

And for your viewing pleasure here is the trailer…if I had it. Once I do, I’ll post it.

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About The Drudgeon

I don't remember my real name or where I came from. All I know is that I'm traped in an underground cave with nothing but a TV, DVD player and a notebook and pen. They keep calling me The Drudgeon, I don't even know what that means. Someone keeps dropping horror movies in and yelling at me to watch them and write about what I watch. Then I eat the DVD and case, because they tell me if I consume the horror I will understand the horror. I think there are three of them. So if you are reading this right now, HELP ME!!!!!!! OUCH!!!! Someone just poked me with a sea urchin attacked to a pool cue, what the fuck is going on?
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