out of Five
Running time: 93
Romero’s long-awaited zombie horror flick delivers lashings of gore, violent action sequences and big dollops of heavy-handed satire in equal measure.
With zombie movies such as 28 Days Later
, Shaun of the Dead
and the Dawn of the Dead
remake raking it in at the box office, it was surely only a matter of time before zombie maestro George A. Romero was tempted out of retirement. Accordingly, Land of the Dead is “the fourth part of the trilogy” of his Living Dead
The film is set in a world that’s long since been overrun by flesh-eating zombies. The rich have holed themselves up in a luxurious tower complex, managed by thinly-veiled Bush-alike Kaufman (Dennis Hopper), while the working classes serve as a militia, prowling for supplies and taking on the ever-present zombie threat below. However, hot-headed rebel Cholo (John Leguizamo) has grown tired of Kaufman’s rule and seeks to use the situation to his advantage.
Meanwhile, the zombies seem to be evolving, discovering how to use weapons and figuring out that the tower complex might be a handy source of fresh meat.
The cast are good. Hopper brings a touch of class, even whilst muttering crowd-pleasing lines such as “Zombies – they creep me out”. Leguizamo gets the best lines and seems to be enjoying himself a little more than everyone else. Baker (recent star of The Ring 2) makes a solid enough lead, though he is a little dull.
There’s livelier support from Asia Argento as ex-hooker, Slack and Eugene Clark steals the film as Big Daddy. He is responsible for some of the film’s creepiest and most memorable images.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Land of the Dead is that the living aren’t necessarily the good guys this time round, and at points, your sympathies definitely lie with the undead.
Romero’s previous Living Dead movies are notable for their subtle but scathing socio-political satire. However, Land of the Dead ditches subtext in favour of good old fashioned text, so that no-one is in any danger of missing the point.
In short, Land of the Dead may not be up to the standard of Romero’s earlier films, but it’s still an extremely enjoyable zombie flick that isn’t afraid to serve up a little brain with its brains.
Land of the Dead (15)