Land of the Dead Review
Synopsis:The living dead have taken over the world, and the last humans live in a walled city to protect themselves as they come to grips with the situation.
Land of the Dead (2005) is an American, French and Canadian post-apocalyptic horror film that is also known as George A. Romero‘s Land of the Dead (2005) and is the fourth installment of Romero’s six Living Dead movies. The film had the highest budget in the series which was an estimated budget $15–19 million and grossed over $46 million. Director and writer George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978), The Crazies (2010)) did an excellent job filming the movie in Ontario, Canada and Pennsylvania, USA and leaving his stamp all over it. The film contains brief nudity, gore galore (better to watch on an empty stomach), violence, suspense, thrills, gut-churning events, graphic images, tension and frightening scenes.
Land of the Dead takes place years after a zombie apocalypse leaving the survivors to set up outposts across the United States. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has one outpost that has a feudal-like government that has an electric fence bordering it on one end and rivers on the other two ends resulting in being a sanctuary. The movie got interesting when I saw how the rich/powerful and poor lived which is the/powerful, rich folks live in Fiddler’s Green (luxury high rise apartments) while everyone else lives in squalor.
Paul Kaufman (Dennis Hopper - Speed (1994), Apocalypse Now (1979), Easy Rider (1969), True Romance (1993)) is the city’s ruler who can use a Dead Reckoning (armored personnel vehicle) vehicle to drive through the zombies with no problem. Riley Denbo (Simon Baker - The Mentalist (2008), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), The Guardian (2001)) designed the Dead Reckoning and is also the commander of it. Almost everyone respects Riley whereas they do not respect Kaufman because Riley searches the zombie infested area for medical supplies and food that he then gives to the citizens. Riley notices that the zombies, especially one of them are exhibiting intelligent behavior.
Dead Reckonings second commander, Cholo DeMora (John Leguizamo - Ice Age (2002), Moulin Rouge! (2001), Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006), Romeo + Juliet (1996)) was denied an apartment in Fiddler’s Green by Kaufman. Cholo threatened Kaufman that he would destroy the Fiddler’s Green with the Dead Reckoning resulting in Kaufman assigning Riley and a team to retrieve the Dead Reckoning. Then the film progresses to being a fantastic watch with lots of action and great scenes. Simon Baker did an excellent job playing Riley, who was sympathetic and charismatic, but his accent was sketchy at times where he sometimes had American accents and did not sometimes. All of the other actors did an okay job with their performances, but Simon Baker rocked.
Land of the Dead has skillful/ creative allusions, and it was a slick highly rewarding watch, but it had the potential of being - was not all that it could have been. There was too many things going on in this film with too little time to explore them (zombies, the wealthy, the poor) correctly resulting in the film suffering a little bit. It was playful, edgy, funny, violent and fear driven with a story that slowly increased with a dark take on the world spiraling out of control. The film was 88 minutes long and had everything it needed, but I felt it would have been glorified if it was 2 - 3 hours for this story to be told the right way with more character development, etc. The characterization was a little weak where the characters were not developed enough for the viewers to establish a relationship with them resulting in us not getting to know the characters to care for them.
The movie is not meant for those with a weak stomach because it contains stomach/gut-wrenching turning special effects that will send shivers up your spine if the zombies feasting on flesh and inventive gore does not. The soundtrack was a nice blend of rock, techno, and rap. The movie displays what is happening in our country today where there is a distinction between the wealthy and poor whereas in the film, the rich lives in Fiddler’s Green and the poor lives in the slum. The film somewhat reminds me of Snowpiercer (2013) where the rich was separated from the poor on a train, and the poor lived in hazardous life-threatening conditions while the rich live a luxurious life. With all said, Land of the Dead was not what I expected it to be.
About Land of the Dead (2005)
Original Title: Dead Reckoning, George A. Romero's Land of the Dead, Twilight of the Dead
Runtime: 93 minutes
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
Total Avg. Votes: 13
Writers: George A. Romero
Director: George A. Romero