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Outpost III: Rise of the Spetsnaz

DVD Pile

outpost 3 dvd 001I can’t claim to a big fan of the Outpost films. I barely remember what happened in the first film and can’t make sense of the second film. This third film is actually set during the Second World War so this is a prequel to others which were set during the present day. This has all the same elements of mad Nazi science that featured in the other two including creation of creatures that cannot be killed.

A special squad of Russian soldiers, the Spetsnaz, come across vehicles from a secret base near the Eastern Front.  They take out the Germans but find themselves facing overwhelming numbers of troops including patrol with a German officer with a zombie like a dog on a chain. The Russians are killed or captured and the prisoners are taken to a secret research lab underground where we can see many mad monsters screaming behind glass windows like some sort of freakshow display.

Three survivors held in a cell are Dolokhov (Bryan Larkin) the leader of the Russian squad, Arkadi (Velibor Topic) and Fyodor (Iván Kamarás) who has been shot.  There’s another prisoner in the cell, an American spy called Captain Rogers (Ben Lambert) who isn’t very useful in fact he’s a bit of a prick. They are being watched by Strasser (Michael McKell), the German officer in charge of the facility who is your typical evil sociopathic Nazi bastard. He wants to use them to test his experimental subjects and we got some impressive fight scenes. Strasser seems pleasantly surprised to see the Dolokhov is more than a match for even the strongest of them, a huge beast they have nicknamed the Childkiller (James Thompson).

Strasser takes Dolokhov and Fyodor deeper into the facility and tells them all about their research in classic villain style while waximg philosophically about the futility of war. In fact he just won’t shut up about their plans to create an army of indestructible super soldiers. The process has still got a lot of problems and we see a headsplodey example of it going wrong with some poor German soldier. Strasser then puts Fyodor through the process which is not really the smartest idea since this time it seems to go right but this just means they have succeeded in creating a super soldier who wants to kill them all.

The film tends to get a bit repetitive with the Russians taking on limitless Germans in narrow corridors but the film did at least seem more coherent than that second film. It has a low budget and this does show in some aspects like the very limited zombie patrol which could have been bigger and used a bit more. The fight scenes are pretty good and I like the physical effects.  The film uses a muted colour palette with a look of mostly grayish green which does give it a dated feel. Overall is it has some decent moments but is a bit draggy.

Rating 6.5/10

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Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Rise of the Zombies

DVD Review

Rise of the Zombies DVD 001There are so many zombie films nowadays that it really would be a surprise if someone really did bring something new to the genre so there wasn’t much hope that this film would stand out from the crowd. Still it has Danny Trejo and Jordi from Star Trek so that‘s something the others don’t have. Unfortunately when you have story that doesn’t really have much to say then there’s a limit to how much decent actors can do to bring a mediocre story to life.

This film doesn’t start at the outbreak but some time later when a group of survivors from San Francisco have made it Alcatraz. The film opens with another group of survivors heading in a car to the shore to go to the island but the driver goes mental on this narrow twisty road and tries to drive down it at full speed resulting in the car crashing killing the driver. One of the passengers, a heavily pregnant woman, gets out and away but the others gets attacked by zombies and they’re dead. The film has a very abrupt start, right in the middle of a zombie attack and that is a bit unsettling.

On Alcatraz there is a mixed group of people but at least it contains scientists who are trying to find out what is causing the zombies and find a way to cure it or at least stop it spreading. Dr Lynn Snyder (Mariel Hemingway) is examining a video sent by Dr Arnold (French Stewart), a scientist working in the city on a vaccine with chimpanzees and he has very positive results. Dr Dan Halpern (LeVar Burton) is there with his daughter Julie (Kerisse Hutchinson) and he is examining the zombie tissue. Halpern has discovered that there is weird black viral goo that is animating the dead flesh and keeping it from decaying. Other survivors on the island are Marshal (Ethan Suplee) who is ex-air force Captain Caspian (Danny Trejo), Kyle (Chad Lindberg), Ashley (Heather Hemmens) and a brother and sister called Jud (Peter Ngo) and Jun (Lilan Bowden). There are others but this is a zombie film so try to guess why I’m not bothering finding out their names

Lynn tells Marshall and Caspian that she needs to go to the city to contact Dr Arnold and see how he’s getting on with his work on a vaccine. Caspian is having none of it since it would leave them stranded on the island with no way off because they just have one raft and as far as he’s concerned it would be a suicide mission. The whole issue is forced when zombies reach the island by floating on the current and they attack the survivors. They decide that they are all going to a rescue centre on the mainland. The raft isn’t big enough to carry everyone. Julie got bitten in the attack so Dr Halpern wants to stay behind in the hope that he finds a cure. It’s a slim hope but then those leaving have about the same chance of survival. They leave him with a gun and a grenade for emergencies.

Like most zombie films this story follows the characters as they make their way to various targets while they get attacked by zombies. In this film you don’t have shambling animated corpses. The zombies are fast, strong and have wall-crawling abilities. I have read people say this makes them scarier but I have always liked the traditional shambling corpses whose very appearance makes your gorge rise.

This film is pretty bland and not very memorable. It reminded me of a poor episode of The Walking Dead TV series and this feeling is reinforced by the abrupt start and even more abrupt ending that make this feel like part of a bigger story. When the characters talk about things that happened before the present events they sound more interesting than the ones we actually get to see. The most interesting part of the film is the subplot of the scientists working on a cure but there wasn’t enough of that and before we see where it could have gone the film finishes.

For a zombie film I can’t really remember too much gore but I’m sure it was there. There’s constant down beat tone to the film and the script really puts the characters through some seriously bad times emotionally so that almost all hope and reason for continued existence is gone by the end. I‘m disappointed that they didn’t make better use of an interesting cast and I won’t remember this in a week.

Rating 5.0/10

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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in Film

 

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Review: Night of the Living Dead 3D Re-Animation

This film is apparently a prequel to the 2006 film titled Night of the Living Dead 3D. That film was nothing like the shot-by-shot remake of Night of the Living Dead by Tom Savini. Why don’t these films just call themselves something different? It could be trying to cash-in on the name but I really don’t know. Although there are zombies in this film it never turns into a full-scale outbreak

Gerald Tovar Jr. (Andrew Divoff) runs the family mortuary and he has many problems in his life. His assistant DyeAnne (Robin Sydney) has tarted up a body like punk and the relatives are not happy. Gerald asks Aunt Lou (Melissa Jo Bailey), who manages the customer side of the mortuary, to tell DyeAnne that she’s fired. His loser brother Harold (Jeffrey Combs) has also turned up needing money and threatening to contest their father’s will. But Gerald’s biggest problem is that he has piles of bodies locked up in the crematorium that slowly re-animate as flesh-hungry zombies.

Gerald hires Cristie Forrest (Sarah Lieving), a mortuary school graduate, as his mortuary assistant. He shows Cristie around the place, missing out the crematorium. In the embalming room he introduces her to DyeAnne and then leaves them to take care of a body while he leaves to have dinner with Harold. The brothers talk about various things and Harold is taken in by any anti-government conspiracy theory. Gerald tells Harold about the zombies and Harold grills him for details. Turns out that Gerald Tovar Sr. had a contract with the government to dispose of their secret medical waste. After he died Gerald Jr. kept taking in the bodies but Gerald can’t work the furnace in the crematorium and things just piled up. Then a couple of weeks ago he took a delivery sealed in black plastic sacks that leaked and re-animated the corpses. Harold doesn’t believe Gerald and thinks he might have chance of getting his hands on his father’s inheritance. Gerald tries to prove what he’s saying is true by taking him into the crematorium which is stinking from all the rotting corpses. He can’t even show Harold the video that he’s made because the camera has run out of power.

Most zombie films seem to fall in to the pattern of either the siege or the post-apocalyptic road movie but this is a prequel so things start out apparently under control but the potential for a zombie plague is building up like festering boil. This is an uneven film with  scenes of little relevance such as a long sequence of DyeAnne, Cristie and a third employee Russell (Adam Chambers) getting stoned and Cristie has some very trippy experiences involving the corpse smoking weed with them and DyeAnne having sex with him. There is little zombie action in the first half of the film but it does build up towards the end of the film as event spiral out of control.

I was surprised about how much politics crops in this film. The US Tea Party movement is a bone of contention between Harold and Gerald with Harold being a supporter and Gerald referring to Harold with insulting term teabagger. Harold likes a talking head who is a Tea Party favourite called Sister Sara (Denice Duff) who is very obviously Sarah Palin. A bunch of the corpses in the crematorium come from a Tea Party bus that crashed. I’m not sure how deliberate it is that some many of the zombies in the film are Tea Party supporters but seems unlikely to be an accident.

I liked Andrew Divoff and Jeffrey Combs as the bickering brothers but things were less interesting when they weren’t on screen. Harold seems to be a creep with crazy ideas but despite Gerald seeming more collected and sympathetic what he’s doing is insane and it’s his carelessness and bizarre choices that leads things to things going wrong. The zombie make-up is pretty good and the scenes in the crematorium were fairly grisly. It isn’t up to the standard of the original Romero films but it’s probably worth renting. The 3D is probably not worth getting a headache for especially considering the low light levels of many of the scenes

Rating 6.5/10

 

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Mutants

Zombie films have appeared like a plague in recent years and in different locations. This time we’re in France so this film is in French with subtitles. There have also been different types of zombies and this film has are plague-type, called mutants as they are living people who have become infected and metamorphosed into flesh-eating bestial creatures, so they are fast and strong but they can be killed like the infected people in 28 Days Later.

Sonia (Hélène de Fougerolles) is a paramedic and her partner Marco (Francis Renaud) are in an ambulance with to soldiers after an attack by mutants. One of the soldiers has been bitten and when there is a sign that he is infected the other soldier order them stop and she shoots her colleague dead. Then she orders Marco to clean all the blood out to prevent them getting infected  then they have to drive to NOAH base, the government agency responsible for controlling the outbreak. They are getting low on fuel so they stop at a petrol station but its pumps are dry. Marco gets attacked by a mutant the soldier manages to shoot in the head but Marco end up covered in its blood. The soldier gets bitten too by another mutant and after she kills it she gets Sonia to kill her to avoid becoming a mutant I forget how but Marco gets injured.

Sonia drives the ambulance to a large empty building. Marco is not feeling very well and is worried about harming Sonia when if he turns but Sonia tries to contact NOAH on the radio to rescue them. Sonia has already been bitten and has not turned into meaning she is immune and her blood may have the cure to the disease. As time passes Marco starts showing symptoms and his behaviour gets more and more erratic.

When an armed group of survivors come into the building their leader tells her that they heard her call on he radio but the helicopter never stops They want her ambulance to get away from the area. They were in a nearby storage bunker which has a more powerful radio and fuel supplies. From there the story heads off down the road of mistrust and betrayal leaving them prey to mutants

This film was okay and it was a decent change of pace right up until the point that the other survivors arrived and then the film seems to switch to more normal survivor horror territory. The two leads Helen de Fougerolles and Francis Renaud were good but I wasn’t too convinced by the performances of the actors playing the survivors. I thought the make-up effects were nicely done especially Marco’s metamorphosis and there was a fair amount of nasty gore scenes. Recommended to anyone wanting something a bit different from a zombie film.

Rating 6.5/10

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Posted by on March 10, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Dellamorte Dellamore

I first saw this film back in the 90s at the Glasgow Film Theatre when it was called The Cemetery Man and I was swept up by this mad stylish meandering story with its strange dark humour and gory effects. I always preferred the Italian title because its meaning, Of Death Of Love really fits it so much better as well as sounding a whole lot sexier. I did manage to see it on VHS but it just didn’t seem to be appearing on DVD but now Shameless have finally released it uncut in UK, which give me a perfect chance to revisit it.

Francesco Dellamorte (Rupert Everett) is the caretaker of the cemetery in the small Italian town of Buffalora which is cursed with the dead coming back to life within seven days of their death. Francesco and his almost mute assistant Gnaghi (François Hadji-Lazaro) take care of this problem by efficiently killing the returners a second time with a head-shot either from Francesco’s handgun or Gnaghi’s spade. Francesco is tall, handsome and depressed and likes the rain while Gnaghi is short round and fairly cheerful and likes the sunshine.

One day at a funeral Francesco spots a beautiful woman, called simply She (Anna Falchi) in the credits, mourning for the dead man and he falls for her. He makes a fool of himself trying to talk to her but he gets another chance when she returns to visit the grave. She’s not very impressed when he clumsily assumes that the older dead man was her father when, in fact, it was her husband. Francesco’s attempt to talk to the woman fails miserably but just She’s leaving the cemetery he mentions that the cemetery has an ossuary. He shows her into the ossuary and She gets sexually excited by the bones and funeral shrouds.

They make love next to her dead husband’s grave because She never kept any secrets from him. Her dead husband does not appreciate this and he bursts out of his grave and attacks them, taking a bite out her arm. Gnaghi arrives and kills the returning husband. She is pronounced dead by the local coroner Dr Verseci (Clive Riche) and the police chief Marshall Staniero (Mickey Knox) is happy with his own version of what happened to her. He leaves Francesco to take care of her body. Francesco doesn’t want her to be a zombie so he lays her out in the ossuary and waits for her to return. As soon as She does he shoots her in the head and buries her in a grave. A few nights later She comes back again and Francesco is so stunned he lets her kiss and bite him but Gnaghi puts his spade into her head, killing her for once and for all. Francesco realises that She wasn’t dead the first time and that he killed her in the ossuary. Francesco has a vision of death telling him to stop killing the dead and to start killing the living.

Francesco and Gnaghi go into town so Francesco can pick up his pay from the council offices and speak to his friend Franco. They pass a group of obnoxious young people with motor scooters who slag off Francesco for being impotent, a rumour that Francesco himself claims to have started. The town’s Mayor Scanarotti (Stefano Masciarelli) is having lunch at table with his friends and family and invites Francesco and Gnaghi to sit with them so he can talk about the upcoming election. Gnaghi sits next to the mayor’s daughter Valentina  (Fabiana Formica) who thinks he’s sweet and charming but despite Francesco’s warning Gnaghi gets so excited by Valentina talking to him that he throws up on her.

Claudio (Alessandro Zamattio), one of the obnoxious young people on a motorbike, drives up and offers to take Valentina for a ride and she accepts and they drive off with the rest of the gang, While driving along the twisty mountain roads they collide with a bus full of scouts on a trip which kills all the bikers and goes off the road killing all the scouts. We see the wheel of the bus go right over Valentina and take her head off. While everyone is grieving Francesco and Gnaghi seems to be happy and Franscesco chats and jokes with Staniero while the scouts sing a song about dying on the boy scout picnic.

This bunch of dead people return a lot faster than usual and so Francesco and Gnaghi are kept busy putting down the zombie scouts. They also have to deal with Claudio’s girlfriend who has heard the rumour that the dead come back to life and she refuses to leave his grave. Claudio was buried with his motorbike and when he returns he does so riding his bike. Francesco can’t manage to shoot him and can’t do anything to stop his girlfriend riding off with him. When he catches up with them Francesco shoots Claudio but the bullet ricochets and kills his girlfriend too. Francesco think he could be in trouble but decides to bury the girl in Claudio’s  grave anyway.

When Valentina comes back to life Gnaghi is waiting for her. He frees her head from the coffin and she lets him kiss her. Gnaghi keeps her head inside his broken TV set. Mayor Scanarotti has come to the cemetery with the really pathetic idea of being photographed beside his dead daughter to help him with his election campaign. He’s not very happy when Francesco digs up her body and her head is missing. Then he hears her calling to him and goes into Gnaghi’s room and sees her in the broken TV. Valentina tells he father that she intends to marry Gnaghi and when he objects she flies out of the TV set and bites him on the neck killing him. Francesco then has to put a bullet in her head. Gnaghi is heartbroken but Francesco points out that she was rotting anyway and he needs to find a living woman.

The new Mayor comes to the cemetery to look into a report he has received about the dead coming back but Francesco denies it. That’s when he meets the mayor’s personal assistant who it turns out is She again but as a different woman. She and Francesco fall in love right away. She reveals that she loves him mainly because she has heard that he is impotent and she has a phobia of erect penises and sex. This is a problem because Francesco is not impotent so he goes to Dr Verseci to get his dick cut off. Verseci refuses to do it but gives him a drug that will make him temporarily impotent. It is lucky for Franscesco that he did because the next time Francesco sees her She tells him that the mayor raped her and now She loves sex and is going to marry the mayor but She still loves Francesco a friend.

Francesco goes on a killing spree, first of all knocking off a load of obnoxious young people. Then while driving around two students ask him for a lift and one of them is She as yet another woman. He takes them back to their flat and  Francesco falls in love with She again and they have sex. It is only later he discovers that She and her friend are prostitutes. He starts a fire and leaves ignoring the screams and cries of the women.

At the cemetery Staniero comes to see him to tell him about the killings in town. Francesco is a suspect but they have already a man who confessed to the killings at the hospital after trying to kill himself. Francesco is not happy that someone stole his crimes and goes to the hospital. He discovers it is his friend Franco from the council. Francesco shoots a nun a doctor and a nurse dead while talking to his friend. When he leaves the hospital is in chaos because there is a madman killing people. He meets Staniero who sees him with a gun but still fails to make the connection between Francesco and the killings.

Francesco decides he’s had enough and he and Gnaghi pack all their belonging into his car and they head of  down the road out of Buffalora and Francesco discovers that his reality was not what he thought at all.

This film is crazy but there is streak of dark humour running through it all. Rupert Everett narrates Francesco’s thoughts throughout the film, including his meditations on the meaning of life death and love. Francesco is never a nice person but I don’t get this modern obsession with creating likeable protagonists. I love this film and I know other people may not. If you like Italian horror or zombie films you may enjoy this too

Rating 8.6/10

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Posted by on March 3, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Return of the Living Dead

American science fiction screenwriter and dire...

Dan O'Bannon Image via Wikipedia

When I feel in the mood for a horror comedy this film is one of my first choices. When I first saw it on VHS back in 80s I had no idea it was written and directed by the late Dan O’Bannon, writer of Alien, Dark Star and Total Recall screenplays among others. He only directed two films, this film and a fairly faithful little-known adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft‘s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward called The Resurrected and starring Chris Sarandon.

Freddy (Thom Mathews) has just started his new job at the Uneeda medical supplies warehouse owned by Burt (Clu Gulager). Burt heads off on a date leaving Frank (James Karen) to show the new boy around. It’s a task that Frank really gets into, telling all sorts of stories to the naive and dumb Freddie and showing him around the ghoulish stock they have in the warehouse such as half-dogs mounted for use in veterinary schools and a fresh cadaver in the freezer.

When Freddy ask about the freakiest thing he’d ever seen Frank tells him the true story that Night of the Living Dead was based on. Trioxin, an experimental chemical herbicide, was released into the ground and this chemical re-animated corpses. Freddy wants know how Frank knows about this and Frank tells him that they have barrels with bodies in them in the warehouse, delivered there due a clerical error. He takes Freddy to basement and shows him several rusting metal barrels with a window on top showing a long dead corpse inside. Freddy asks if the barrels are safe and Frank hits one to prove how sturdy it is, which of course makes the barrel burst open and release heavy thick choking fumes that knocks out the two men. The fumes creep through the warehouse as the Trioxin theme tune plays.

Freddy’s girlfriend Tina (Beverly Randolph) is hanging out with Freddy’s pals. You can tell they are Freddy’s pals because they are punks and Tina really doesn’t seem much like them at all. They want to party and Tina wants to meet Freddy after work. Since Freddy is the man who knows about parties they all agree to go with her to meet Freddy at work. They get a lift from a big punk called Suicide that takes himself far too seriously. With couple of hours to kill they decide to hang out in the cemetery across the street from the Uneeda warehouse.

Freddy and Frank come around the basement feeling sick and covered the horrible smell of whatever came out of the barrel. They go upstairs to ring Burt and then they hear the sound of dogs yelping. They go see what it is and find it’s the half-dogs writhing on their mounts. next come the inevitable screams and banging from the freezer.

Back at the cemetery Trash (Linnea Quigley) is talking creepy to Chuck, telling him about her nightmares. This seems to be a cue that all her friends are used to as the music gets turned up and Trash strips naked except for her long woollen leggings and dances to the music on top of a tomb. Naturally this scene is notorious and I’m sure many straight boys got very excited by it.

Burt has returned to Uneeda furious with Frank. He decides to get rid  of everything and pretend that nothing happened but first they have to kill the creaming cadaver still banging on the freezer door. When they release the corpse and eventually get it pinned down Burt puts a pick-axe through its head. This does nothing to stop it struggling and even worse nor does cutting off its head. They get the body chopped up into less dangerous pieces and wrap the bits in bin bags to take them and the half-dogs across the street to the mortuary, hoping to use the crematorium oven. Ernie (Don Calfa) the mortuary owner objects to burning things which are clearly alive and when Burt tries to claim its rabid weasels he doesn’t believe a word of it. Burt shows him what’s in the bags to convince Ernie to help out. They load the body parts into the oven and burn the lot to ash. Thick smoke pours out of the chimney up into the air and with a peal of thunder it starts raining. Just then the Trioxin theme returns and we know their problems are far from over as the rain washes the chemical into the ground of the cemetery.

In my opinion this film has one of the best zombies created. While looking for Freddy in basement at Uneeda Tina runs into Tarman, the corpse that came out of the original barrel. Its flesh has mostly liquified and it is barely more than skeleton with big eyes and a horrible pink tongue lolling around in its mouth. The first time I saw Tarman I crapped myself. It comes after Tina crying ‘brains,’ a cry that is now associated with zombies thanks to this film. When Tina hides away in a cupboard it uses a block and tackle to pull the doors off. Tina is only saved when Tarman gets distracted by the juicy brains in Suicide’s head, letting her escape. These zombies are relentless, impossible to kill and as smart as people. There’s another scene later when a zombie has finshed eating the brain of a paramedic and he radios back to the base for more paramedics.

The humour feels very natural, coming from the characters reacting to their situation. James Karen, Clu Gulager and Don Calfa are all great comedy actors and they really bring the script to life without pushing it over the top. The film make a lot of use of music and not just the living dead theme that signals the spread trioxin but other music featurin punk music liked the Cramps Surfin’ Dead and the Damned’s Dead Beat Dance

There is set-up for a sequel at the end but none of ones made came close to this one.

Rating 9/10

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2011 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Film Review: Sucker Punch

Synopsis:  Baby Doll’s (Emily Browning) mother dies leaving her and her little sister in the hands of her abusive stepfather (Gerard Plunkett). The stepfather finds out that the girls are to inherit his late wife’s fortune. Determined to get his hands on the money he kills the younger sister and blames Baby Doll. He incarcerates her in the Lennox House for the Mentally Insane run by Dr Gorski (Carla Gugino) and bribes an orderly Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac) to take care of her and make sure she can’t tell anyone what he did. She retreats into a fantasy where she and the other patients are hookers trapped in a brothel by Blue Jones who makes them dance for the customers. When Baby Doll dances she goes into a deeper fantasy realm where she finds a Wise Man (Scott Glenn) who helps her to formulate a plan to escape the institution/brothel with the other patients/hookers.

I did not really like this film. Just like Zack Snyder‘s other films it has a lot of style and is often stunning to look at but the most stunning elements that take place during Baby Doll’s dance routines are like watching someone else playing a computer game. There are all sorts of armies of mooks for the women to slaughter including orcs, robots and, best of all, steam-powered German soldier zombies. then there’s the boss of the level for Baby Doll to kill. The problem is that the characters themselves did not seem any more real than game characters.

The imaginative style of the film did not make up for the really corny, cliché dialogue. There’s a lot of music in the film, mostly cover versions of familiar evergreens. I didn’t hate the music but the film was relying on it a lot to create moods where the performances didn’t. I’m sure this film will have fans but it just didn’t make one out of me.

Rating 5/10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0978764/

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2011 in Entertainment, Film

 

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