Thursday, December 3, 2015

Movie #337: Land of the Dead

Land of the Dead is the fourth "of the dead" movie from George Romero, and stars Simon Baker, Robert Joy, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, and Eugene Clark.

Set an unspecified amount of time after the rise depicted in Night of the Living Dead, survivors are living in a walled, fence city (Pittsburgh, obviously). A rich white dude named Kauffman (Hopper) has established an oligarchy of rich folks, and a working underclass, all protected by an engineer named Riley (Baker), his sharpshooting but slow-witted friend Charlie (Joy), and his ambitious enforcer/body dumper Cholo (Leguizamo). Getting into Fiddler's Green (the high-class place) is a matter not only of money, but space and, apparently, being the right sort (white), so Cholo gets frozen out. Riley, too, just wants to get gone and head north where there aren't so many people (he's something of a misanthrope).

But then Cholo steals Dead Reckoning, a heavily armored vehicle capable of reducing Fiddler's Green to rubble, and demands money from Kauffman. Riley heads out to find him, and into all this we have a zombie who's got Bub-level intelligence (Clark) leading the other "stenches" in an attack on Fiddler's Green.

And from there it's your basic zombie movie; zombies slowly shamble after people, knock them down, and eat them. Special effects have improved, so we do things like show a zombie with its whole hand in a dude's mouth pulling out...bits...but mostly it's what we saw in Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead. Plot-wise, we introduce this kind of interesting feudal thing, but the problem I have with it is a) people are using paper money, and it's crisp, meaning these are either new bills (from where?) or someone's ironing them. And when Cholo demands money...where the fuck is he going to spend it? I mean, sure, I can buy that Kauffman instituted a policy of trading currency for goods/services; he's got the population to support that. But Cholo mentions an outpost in Cleveland that hasn't been heard from for a while (probably they just didn't want to talk to Pittsburgh), and...would they take his money? Or would they say, "Hey, dude, you know society collapsed, right? Have a pierogi."

Anyway. It's kind of a fun zombie movie, it moves faster than Dawn, and there's some cool deaths, but overall, it's nothing we haven't seen already.

My grade: C
Rewatch value: Low

Next up: Last Dragon