When I first started re-watching Land of the Dead, I didn’t really remember it. I saw it when it first hit DVD and I remembered this is when the bloom came off the Romero Rose for me. I enjoyed the first three to a certain extent, I love Creepshow, but this is where it started to hurt. I just remember the plot either being stupid or predictable and I kinda quit and I really haven’t returned to watch it since pretty much it came out- but I have to watch it so here we go.
Land of the Dead picks up basically with a bunch of losers-er, I mean let’s be honest here. They go out to the suburbs I guess you could say of Pittsburgh and start stealing stuff. They’re kind of lackadaisical, kind are out having a good time but as they go they’re just taking out zombies if they need too, and raiding liquor stores and looking for medicine and all the other good stuff, it’s not a bad setup as but it does kind of give us our hero as the guy from The Mentalist and the villain with John Leguizamo as his number 2. Leguizamo starts out of a bit of an A-hole as there’s a new guy that’s his first shift and when John gets irritated about something he dumps stuff on the ground and tells the newbie to pick it up and of course we going to jump-scare everyone and kill the new guy. Good Lord there are a lot of Jump Scares here.
Anyway, one of the Zombies starts yelling, and has a glint of intelligence with him, and he gets a group with him and they start walking to Pittsburgh- I guess it’s better than Cleveland (rimshot).
Now Pittsburgh is done right. There are two rivers blocking most of the city, and the third part has a giant electric fence blocking access. Solid and Smart idea. Huzzah! I mean, we got guard towers and everything defending this third section. Of course, being a movie, this third part is about 40 feet long, and Zombies can’t swim, so no defenses there. Wonder if that will mean anything later?
The Problem of course, is there is a skyscraper where all the rich people lives- of course- because money still matters for some odd reason. This is the biggest failure of the movie, to me. But let’s get back to the movie. So Dennis Hopper is guy in charge of the building, and everyone works for him. Our Raiders return, and The Mentalist has done enough to retire, and John Leguizamo has earned enough money to enter the skyscrapers community- but wait, Hopper says everyone is racist in the building, so he can’t come in. Now Leguizamo is all kinds of pissed, and steals the Main Battle Tank of the movie- Dead Reckoning, and wants to hold the city hostage to get his money he has been giving to Hopper. Thankfully the Mentalist is still hanging around, due to someone swiping the car he has been having fixed up, allowing him and his sidekick to add a HOT CHICK to his group. Hopper appeals to him to stop Leguizamo from blowing up the city.
So we have a few conflicts:
Leguizamo vs Hopper
Leguizamo vs The Mentalist
The Mentalist is kinda in conflict with wanting his car back, but there is a little man that gets in the way and thats not overly clear, but the HOTCHICK was ordered to be killed by Dennis Hopper for inciteing the poor to rise up.
Did ya forget about the poor? Yeah, so does the movie.
All this and the Zombies are on the March!
So how is Land of the Dead?
Well, after all the preachy parts, there are two solid ideas here. We have a city post-Zombie that is based on keeping Fiddler’s Green going. The whole setup with John is well done and in better writing, could have been a serious script here. The problem is the Zombies almost get in the way here. We have to add in a bunch of redshirts to give them something to take do, and to be honest, it’s repetative. Its well done, but everytime someone is alone- here comes either a jumpscare or a death. The other solid idea is the Zombies attacking the city. When they get to Fiddlers Green, we have seen it before in the mall. They learn to use tools, but why? We don’t see the big guy do anything but yell. The tools are used basically to break windows, and kill a few people. Its a wonderful shot, but then again, we have to get back to Hopper or the Mentalist or get preachy again. The movie is a bit disjointed. IF this was not Romero, this is a high-budget forgettable mess.
I’m going 4 here. There is really nothing new here, but the effects are great, and the acting is top-notch.
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