Saturday, July 3, 2010

"Land of the Dead"(2004)d/George A. Romero

Phew,it's hot enough to fry Mumia on the sidewalk out there today,kiddies.Too hot to do anything but sit in front of the fan in a wifebeater and drawers,praying for a quick and merciful death while looking at the garish nudes your collective mothers filled my inbox with overnight.If my face doesn't melt a la Raiders of the Lost Ark in the process,ole Dub'll try and sweat out a decent review for you little fuckers,by hook or crook.Facciamo cosi'!
I missed out on today's entry on its theatrical run,bogged down at the time with domestic stuffs,and I think it worked out for the best that way.Though I've never sit through the theatrical cut of the film,I had heard nothing but complaints and disappointment from my boys who'd braved the ten dollar cover and six dollar jujubes to bear witness to the long awaited cinematic return of Romero to his flesh-gnawing undead stomping grounds only to get expurgated goods.I waited for the uncut dvd release,and truthfully,I'm glad I did.I can't stand the way studios tend to edit the nuts out of a movie,especially one that relies as heavily on cazzies as Romero vehicles usually do.With the ehhh Zack Snyder Dawn remake and Edgar Wright's brilliant Shaun of the Dead paving the way for George's horrific homecoming,he obviously spent a good deal of time deciding which angle he was gona shamble in from this time around.With 1968's Night,and 1978's Dawn,the horror came from seeing your loved ones transform into a shuffling pile of rotting instinct,eager to eat the shit outta you if you were stupid enough to get surrounded by them.With tonight's entry,he's further blurred the battle lines of the zombie apocalypse,with human beings becoming more instinctual,and zombies gaining a degree of intelligence,and even moreso,humanity.So who deserves to inherit the earth when all is said and done,you ask?Who,indeed.
Asia slinking around in a fishnet body stocking.You'd have to be dead not to dig that shit.
With the world immersed in a zombie pandemic,the city of Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania is disharmoniously divided into the haves,who live luxuriously worry-free in Fiddler's Green,a high rise overseen by Paul Kaufman(Hopper),and the have-nots,who subsist on the city streets just inside the military barricade and the three rivers that separate them from the flesh-eating ghouls.Kaufman has built a huge armored tactical vehicle called "Dead Reckoning" that his soldiers use on recon missions into zombie-occupied areas to gather necessary supplies,and occasionally luxury items for the chairman and his board members.On such a mission,Riley Denbo(Simon Baker)notices that the zombies seem to be communicating amongst themselves,and the "sky flower" fireworks the vehicle emits into the air don't seem to be mesmerizing the ghouls in quite the same way as they once did.Denbo and his scarrified sidekick,Charlie(Robert Joy),plan to retire from duty,taking a car and driving into the Canadian wilderness,away from the militaristic madness and zombies altogether.When Riley discovers his car is missing from the garage that was housing it,the two men are forced to infiltrate the city's seedy vice district for answers.Inside,they save a hooker named Slack(Argento),from being fed to two zombies in a cage,a punishment handed down by Kaufman for her involvement with an Irish dissenter named Mulligan,kill the midget named Chihuahua responsible for his car's theft,and eventually,get arrested by Kaufman's men.Elsewhere,Cholo(John Leguizamo),one of the Dead Reckoning team,has been planning on retiring from duty as well,aspiring to score himself a choice apartment in Fiddler's Green amongst the haves,but the pipedream is promptly pissed upon by Kaufman,who instead tries to have him killed.Cholo gathers some insurgents and steals the tactical vehicle,aiming its missiles at the high rise for ransom money.The chairman,not one to negotiate with terrorists(sound familiar?),gives Denbo and company a reprieve from jail instead,and hires them to retrieve Dead Reckoning in exchange for their car and absolution from future duty.
Oi,Simon,you've got some rot on you.
Meanwhile,a black zombie gas station attendant(Eugene Clark)has gathered an army of walking corpses to descend on the city in retaliation for the troops slaughter of zombies on their supply runs.Through rudimentary communication skills and example,he teaches his fellow zombies to arm themselves,and they discover that,being dead,they can simply sink to the riverbottom and walk across into the populated area.The melee that ensues finds the less fortunate city dwellers trapped inside the electrified fences,with most citizens becoming easy prey for the attacking zombies.Denbo convinces Cholo to surrender Dead Reckoning to him,with the latter taking one of his crew in a car and calling it a day instead.Cholo is bitten during their journey,and returns to Fiddler's Green,as a lone zombie,just in time to catch Kaufman trying to flee the high rise with an attache full of cash.The zombie gas station attendant who has also descended upon the parking garage,punches out one of the chairman's limo windows and pours gas into the vehicle.As Kaufman realizes his bullets are ineffective against his former employee,he is grabbed by the vengeful zombie and bitten,just as "Big Daddy" returns to roll a flaming cannister into the gas-soaked limousine,which explodes,destroying tyrant and zombie both.Denbo and company use Dead Reckoning's missile capability to save the lives of a small group of citizens led by Mulligan who are cornered by zombies,and as they prepare to drive off towards the north,Pretty Boy(Joanne Boland),the vehicle's driver catches Big Daddy and his zombies lumbering off in her sights,but Dnebo advises her not to fire,as they're only looking for a place to go,afterall.Dead Reckoning drives off into the night,firing the last of its ineffectual fireworks into the sky,signalling the beginning of their journey towards liberation.
Intelligent zombies prolly wouldn't go swimmin' with their clothes on.Sayin'.
Look for undead cameos from FX wizard Greg Nicotero,whose work here is stellar and gruesome as always,Tom Savini reprising his Chopper character from Dawn of the Dead,Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright and star Simon Pegg,among others.
Sure there's the usual dose of Romero's social commentary within the frames here,but to put a political spin in either direction on the film is downright negligent,despite some of the obvious satirical characterizations the director has fleshed out here.I've read some left-leaning pukes wrongfully draw parallels between the Big Daddy character and Che Guevara,a straw-grab so wincingly retarded it sears my brain.Sure,they're both dead,but the similarities end there,friends.The lead zombie had compassion for his fellow zombies,and nobly rose up against his living opressors to ensure survival of his kind,whereas Che was simply a power-hungry crap crook who frequently murdered his own people,driven by his own personal greed,before he was graciously wiped off the planet,ironically,to be forever remembered as a cheap t-shirt design worn by idiots worldwide.In your humble N's honest opinion,there never really was much difference between the living victims or their dead attackers in the first place,and in the end,all anybody really wants is to keep on keepin' on,and I think that's probably the only relevant message anybody should take away from tonight's entry.Let it be,droogies.It'll all make itself apparent by the time the smoke clears.Or not.Every day above ground is a good day,whether you're breathing,or aimlessly stumbling around looking for an arm to bite.As usual,Romero scores big at the Wop,which is no surprise by now,with three solid wops on the rating scale.See it!
"Zombies...they freak me out,man." R.I.P.,Hop.

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