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(aka "Zombie Apocalypse 2" )

 

directed by Ryan Thompson
USA 2011

 

12 years after the Zombie Apocalypse Virus was released (12 A.Z.) and the US and Soviet Union jointly detonated all of their nuclear arms at tactical sites in hopes of wiping out the zombies, the world is a wasteland where the zombies outnumber the living, and the living can be even more monstrous than the dead. Ex-soldier Knox (Johnny Gel), who has been running around with a group of ruthless ex-military soldiers called The Marauders and lead by the sadistic Rome (Jerry Lynch), is saved from death-by-fire for treason by fellow Marauder Maddox (Jeremy rush) who dumps him in the middle of the desert (and is promptly burned alive for his efforts). Knox finds himself rescued by a roaming crew of survivors lead by Moses (Fred Williamson, MEAN JOHNNY BARROWS, still chomping on cigars and saying things like "I'll make your pain legendary"). Although Knox is disliked and distrusted by Moses' second-in-command Roberts (Joseph Scott Anthony) and inevitable love interest Sarah (Alicia Clark), Knox proves his expertise with firearms and tactical intelligence. When Knox takes out two of Rome's scouts, he knows that Rome will send a more heavily-armed unit out after them. Knox, Roberts, Hawkins (Vong Lee), and Billy (Didrik Davis) hit a supermarket to replenish supplies and run into Rome's Force Recon unit (lead by his BAMF bazooka-toting, skimpily-dressed mistress Cienfuegos [Angelique Sky, HOSTEL PART III]), but their numbers are leveled out by the arrival of a horde of zombies. Moses decides that they need to move the camp. While Moses and Sarah supervise their camp's uprooting, Knox, Roberts, and Lawrence (Tokkyo Faison) head into zombie-filled downtown to quickly horde any leftover supplies. While they are battling running, growling zombies, the camp is hit by a unit lead by Rome and several of the extras are slaughtered. Survivor Lucas (Tommy Beardmore) informs them that Moses and Sarah have been taken by Rome, and Knox leads an offensive against Rome's cathedral fortress - which looks appropriately decrepit in color-corrected night scenes but perfectly-maintained in day shots) to save their friends (with the help of a zombie horde baited by one of Rome's captured men being dragged behind their vehicle).

Evidently a sequel to director Ryan Thompson's own ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE (2010) - and two like-titled shorts - ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: REDEMPTION only really sets itself apart from the glut of recent zombie films with its retro feel. While Thompson's previous zombie film was touted as being inspired by John Carpenter's eighties genre films and that is probably the inspiration here (with nods to RESIDENT EVIL and Zack Synder's remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD), ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: REDEMPTION genuinely feels like some of the low-budget DTV-destined horror/sci-fi flicks of the eighties and nineties put out by Empire Pictures, Full Moon, Nu Image and the like (perhaps by way of Stu Maschwitz's "The DV Rebel's Guide") with its synth score (by Steve Longworth) to its ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK/ROAD WARRIOR punk-ish post-nuclear villains. All of this is really not a bad thing, nor is the cliche-ridden script which includes lots of "world-weary, tough guy" dialogue delivered through clenched-teeth, the desensitizing act of zombie killing turned into a betting match, a sadomasochistic relationship between Rome and Cienfuegos (who, of course, also has a history with Knox), Roberts' outspoken distrust of Knox and his eventual respect for the hero's working methods, a "getting ready for the final assault" montage, the hate-love budding relationship between Knox and the suddenly-easy Sarah, and Sarah being stuffed into a skimpy outfit to be menaced by Rome in his lair (she also gets to face off hand-to-hand against an equally scantily-clad Cienfuegos), and the bitten guy backed into a corner has an explosive surprise for the encroaching zombies. The problem is that none of the cast members - other than Williamson - have the necessary charisma to pull off their characters in an entertaining manner. Lynch chews and spits out the scenery, and says things like "If I want your opinion, I'll rape it out of you," but is no Joe Pilato (as far as ruthless, military psychos go). For most of the script, the zombies are tangential to the action and only show up when convenient; but when they do show up, the filmmakers thankfully do not eschew flesh and gut-ripping prosthetics and entrails in favor of CGI (although bad CGI does rear its ugly head in a handful of explosions - although, to be fair, a lot of those eighties and nineties films had experienced miniatures and optical effects artists who were accustomed to working on low budgets - and plenty of gun-play). Hopefully director Thompson (who also photographed the film), having shown that he's proficiently mastered the post
DAWN OF THE DEAD remake/28 DAYS LATER zombie action movie template (lacking performances aside), will try something else in his next genre outing (or at least give us a zombie movie with a bit more soul).

Eric Cotenas

Reviews          DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Pacific Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Pacific Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:41:21
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.59 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Pacific Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with actor Johnny Gel, writer Matthew O'Day, and director Ryan Thompson
• Deleted Scenes (16:9; 10:30)
• The Road to Redemption: The Making of ZA:R (16:9; 9:55)
• Still Image Gallery
• Teaser Trailer (16:9; 1:23)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:09)
• Extended Trailer (16:9; 6:17)
• Trailers for SILENT NIGHT, ZOMBIE NIGHT and THE HAGSTONE DEMON

DVD Release Date: October 20th, 2011
Amaray

Chapters 33

 

Comments

Pacific Entertainment's dual-layer, progressive, anamorphic transfer of this HD-lensed production is inconsistent, but this seems to be a fault of the original cinematography (which employs some judiciously added film grain effects in some shots but not others, and has several shots where the sides are blurred rather than out of focus). The 5.1 track is definitely the way to go here (a 2.0 stereo downmix is also included). The optional English subtitles are a bit large and have some formatting errors (Spanish subtitles are also available).

The chatty commentary (which at times lags behind the action) covers shooting scenes around Williamson's limited availability, casting zombie extras, getting desired locations, but a bit too much time is spent talking about the characters' motivations than is really necessary (although a couple unfilmed scenes are also mentioned in context). The deleted scenes were wisely removed (one protracted fight sequence featuring Rome [who looks less effective in bright sunlight rather than the shadows and color gels that cloak him in most of his scenes in the film], a couple extended bits with minor characters, and a scene following Billy's shooting that features rough audio). The behind-the-scenes bit is interesting because it includes clips from the previous works of the collaborating filmmakers. The teaser trailer features some exclusive footage and the extended trailer is more of a promo reel for the film.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Pacific Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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