|Directed by:||George A. Romero|
|Written by:||George A. Romero|
|Cast:||Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, Robert Joy|
Finally, Mr. Romero has been able to bring the next installment of his zombie series to the big screen. Just as the zombies themselves have reached new heights of intelligence, so has this film series made large advancements in special effects, and been an influence for the horror genre in general. Night of the Living Dead is a classic in its' own right due to the fact that it is a gritty, gruesome low budget horror movie with an unlikely hero (a black man) during the time of release, with a kickass ending. Dawn of the Dead was a masterful display of gore effects thanks to Tom Savini, who has since then become a legendary makeup effects artist in his own right. Day of the Dead is cheesy and pretty retarded for the most part, but that's some of the movie's charm... and the gore level - WHEW! Great stuff!
What is it with Land of the Dead that brings about an intriguing new twist on the zombie mythos? The advancing intelligence of zombies. Like I said, a gas station worker starts to show emotion for his fellow fallen zombie allies, and decides to take vengeance like some semi-retarded geriatric. He screams unintelligibly in sadness that is no different from just yelling "NOOOOOOO". He finds a rifle and learns to use it... and it never runs out of ammo. He tries to lead the other zombies to a revolt against the humans, and I laugh at a lot of this silliness.
From the human side, there's a trustworthy leader of the night-time supply hunters, and his second in command, Cholo, is a hotshot selfish prick. Kaufman is the rich leader of the sole survivors in a fortified section of town, and Dennis Hopper hams it up big time. He has some of the funniest moments, especially when he yells "Look out, get down!!" OMG that was funny stuff. Asia Argento is about as convincing in her line delivery as the concept of believing that celebrity marriages are going to last a lifetime. She is almost a zombie herself, and I don't find her attractive in the least, so it doesn't help with the eye candy when I'm forced to look at her.
Alright, so the acting isn't all that great, nor is there an impressive display of screenplay writing. George Romero is a classic horror director, but these two areas of filmmaking have never been his strong point. I am impressed with his imagination of the CONCEPTS that his movies bring, but when it comes to the actual acting... it sucks. That's no lie. But the GORE in his movies are loads of fun. He doesn't hold back when it comes to flesh eating and body part ripping! In his latest installment, it almost seems like the great ideas have fallen behind. I had a much better time with the Dawn of the Dead remake, and especially with Dead Alive, and both would have never been made without Romero's influence. I have seen enough hordes of zombies eating intestines, fingers, arms and random body parts over the 80's and early 90's zombie movies that I don't get the same effect any more. The best death of all had to do with a guy with a grenade, and a machete. Absolutely HILARIOUS! There's a belly button piercing pull which might make some cringe, and those in general who don't watch every zombie flick that ever gets made might be very impressed and grossed out with the carnage that ensues. I myself felt that it was more of the same - and not done better.
I loved seeing Tom Savini return in this one, but man he was underused. I heard he had a fight as a human against his zombie self, but either that's a lie, or it was edited out. Damn shame. He's a funny and cool cat, and more of him should have been onscreen!
Final verdict: Die hard Romero fans will no doubt see it, and almost undoubtedly love it. You have to remember that he's the pioneer of this kind of horror genre, so it's worth it giving him a chance because of that fact alone. I didn't like it all that much when it ended, and I feel that Romero tried to include things that he was impressed with by his imitators, and so there's been a kind of full circle now. The ones who are inspired by his work have now inspired him, and in many ways surpassed his ingenuity! But it's still a decent waste of time if you're looking for some cheesy and gory horror.