Land of the Dead Reviews
The social commentary focuses on the have and have nots, and there's lots of post-9/11 George W. Bush kinda stuff going on. Nice. Also, the zombies have become far more advanced, which, depending on who you are, might not be cool, especially since the lead zombie tends to "emote", which, I kinda liked, but it came off as a bit silly at times.
No matter though, because he's got some actual stars in this films like Dennis Hopper and John Leguizamo. Asia Argento is also in this, but she's still not quite as known to U.S. audiences. Simon Baker is also here, and this was right before he also became more well known, even if this wasn't his first film effort.
The gore is plentiful and looks awesome, and there's some nice cameos from SImon Pegg and Edgar Wright as a thank you to them for their reverent "Shaun of the Dead". Also very cool.
I liked this film, even though there are maybe about five too many jump scares. It has immediacy and relevance, but I don't see it as ever being as iconic or memorable as the first three. You should give it a shot though, because it's damn entertaining, and pretty well done.
"The dead shall inherit the Earth."
Land of the Dead is a decent film from zombie master George A. Romero, but it doesn't touch the best of the genre. There's definitley some cool and inventive stuff going on here, but it never seems to all come together to make a satisfying movie with the likes of Night or Dawn of the Dead. Still when it comes to the zombie genre you could do a whole lot worse.
I liked how the zombies are actually learning and able to take advantage of human inventions now instead of only relying on their teeth and hands. I also liked the cast, especially Dennis Hopper and John Leguizamo. Eugene Clark also gives one of the cooler performances as a zombie that I have seen.
It may seem like I disliked the film, but really I enjoyed it for the most part, it is just that there are so many of these movies out there. In order to be completely satisfied by these types of movies now, I have to see something that is different from what I've seen in the past, and this doesn't do that.
George Romero evolves the undead into learning monsters - but as they learn - greedy survivors get dumber and dumber and, moral of the story, become the real monsters. It's up to a band of moral upstanding survivors to battle both sets of monsters.
It's nothing original but it could have been a pretty decent film if it weren't for the amateur-grade dialogue and gratuitous gross-out shots. Where "Dawn of the Dead" expertly skewered consumerism and "Day of the Dead" tragically showed how lack of common humanity can create chaos, "Land" is clumsy in its attempt to deliver a message about the growing divide between the rich and the poor.
Nonetheless it has parts that work well - and "Land" while not the best addition to the "Dead" series still gets a honorable mention.
Romero actually gets some big name talent for this installment (John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper being the top stars) and a higher budget to give us a glossy and polished dead film that screams of social commentary (as did the first three). What makes this film different from those is that the undead are learning and remembering their old human behaviors. They can solve problems instead of drooling their way into some pretty young things jugular which gives and interesting take to the genre that Romero has invented.
I wouldn't call this the best film of the Dead saga, though it seems unfair to call it the worst either. It is the weakest of the saga, but the one thing you can give George Romero credit for is that he has the ability to recreate his creation every time he steps into that world of rotten, walking flesh. A true genius at his creation. Land of the Dead isn't his greatest work, but compared to some of the other horror product (and regurgatation) that's in the market today it is vastly superior.
Our main plot has Riley (Simon Baker) forced to go after former comrade Cholo (John Leguizamo) after the latter embarks on a vendetta against arrogant fat cat Kaufman (Dennis Hopper), stealing an awesome-looking truck named "Dead Reckoning" and intending to obtain payment from the rich jerk by threatening to destroy his stronghold. With sidekick Charlie (Robert Joy) in tow, Riley picks up other cohorts along the way, including Slack (Asia Argento).
Although the very slickness and Hollywood feel of this project go against the appeal of Romeros' earlier entries, there's no denying that this serves a fair dose of rousing entertainment. The unrated version on DVD delivers a marvelously outrageous amount of gore and violence, the kind guaranteed to leave some viewers quite satisfied. The moody photography, excellent sets, and great locations add to the overall impressive look of the film. Romero gets solid performances out of his cast, all of them low-key (even Hoppers') but effective. Best of all, the director hasn't lost his touch at injecting his material with intelligent commentary on various social issues.
While not as memorable or as potent as Romeros' earlier works, "Land of the Dead" is, I think, worthy of some respect, and is pretty fun to watch. I consider it a treat to see the man get back to doing what he does best, and his love and dedication to this particular niche is always welcome.
If you haven't seen it, be sure to look out for the cameos from Tom Savini and "Shaun of the Dead" boys Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg
Land of the Dead is interesting because it kind of marks a departure from the classic horror genre for George Romero's zombie movies. Twenty years after his previous zombie iteration, it's as if Romero realized that the conventional zombie doesn't really have what it takes to scare audiences. Instead of fighting in vain to make the movie into a tale of horror, he instead molds his craft into a dark, hilariously gory action film with an astronomical body count. Sure, there are still touches of horror (jump scares aplenty), but the intent is to engage and rile the audience more than scare them.
A lot of Romero's die-hard fans are disappointed in this movie. You know, THOSE zombie movie freaks - the ones who probably straight-up smell like the living dead. The ones who get all anal retentive because zombies CAN'T BREATHE OR THINK OR WHATEVER. God, I hope they can find forgiveness in their heart for their traitorous messiah, who retconned a genre he single-handedly popularized just a teensy bit. (And it's not even like he didn't hint at it - remember Bud from Day of the Dead?) If the zombies were inert, shambling husks, they wouldn't have been able to do anything amidst this movie's setting. It's a tale of post-apocalyptic geopolitics, two bigger words than anything you'll hear in the script, and idiot flesheaters wouldn't have been able to break the barriers that humanity had established in their wake.
The performances are mixed. Simon Baker is dull and John Leguizamo doesn't really offer anything new. Dennis Hopper is overstated, but the performance calls him to be, and he isn't nearly as hammy as he was in Blue Velvet, so he's all good. Asia Argento's a decent actress, but she has a shitload of presence. She is almost always the first thing you focus on on-screen, and not even for her looks (though I'm sure those don't hurt). Robert Joy is good in a likable/lame character.
I don't think I'll understand why Land of the Dead gets the drubbings it does, short of rabid idiotic fanboyism. It is an eminently watchable gore movie, a fun and frenetic actioner, and an hour and a half well-spent. This is the kind of movie that you watch with a few good friends after x amount of drinks. Maybe that's what the others are missing.