Land of the Dead

In this installment of the Zombie films, zombies have taken over most of the world and the number of living humans is dwindling. Society has adapted to this change and a great number of people reside in Fiddler’s Green one of the few remaining cities not populated by zombies. Kaufman (Dennis Hopper) the founder of this great city has separated the people into two classes. The upper class living fancy lives, and the lower class left to fend for themselves on the streets. Supplies are brought into the town by a team of mercenaries lead by Riley (Simon Baker) and Cholo (John Leguizamo). Cholo does all of Kaufman’s dirty work in hopes to gain a nice home in Fiddler’s Green, but Kaufman decides to have him killed of instead. Severely pissed off from being double crossed Cholo steals the Dead Reckoning – a seriously modified truck armed to the gills, and threatens to blow up the city. Since Riley designed the Dead Reckoning, Kaufman recruits him to get it back. Meanwhile the zombies decide to attack the city and they have learned to use various tools along the way. Will Riley get the Dead Reckoning back in time to save Fiddler’s Green, or will Cholo blow the city to hell and let the zombies devour the citizens of Fiddler’s green?

Written and directed by: George A. Romero

Rasmus:This movie is not very scary at all, but it is quite gory. It definitely had the potential to scare the crap out of you. Instead, it seemed to get a little quirky. It seems movies like this try to make you feel sad for the zombies by making them look sort of innocent. Poor zombies, they’re just shambling along and here come the living shooting them up with their guns. Can’t we live together? We will become them when we die. Well, I say fuck them. Kill them all again. Why should I feel sorry for an animated corpse that is trying to eat me? Do they show mercy to children? Nope they just eat anything that moves, they don’t care. Why should we?

Jenny: I agree that this movie is not scary,  but really gross.  At one point zombies are just slurping down intestines and stuff.  I think it is much harder to scare someone than to gross them out, so it is disappointing when movies resort to this technique versus good writing.  And as I have said in other reviews, there is no room for zombie sympathy.  They are driven to kill, eat, and reproduce their disease so it is either kill them or become them.  So, kill them all.  Fast.

Rasmus: After having a small chunk of their infinite horde shot up, they want revenge. Well at least “Big Daddy” (Eugene Clark) does and he leads his fellow flesh eaters to Fiddler’s Green. Big Daddy seems to be the smartest of all the zombies as he catches on to things right away. For example, he realizes that the fireworks were just a distraction for the living to get around without being attacked. He also was the first to figure out how to use various tools including guns. It’s not like he sought out guns to shoot down the living. He managed to snag one and figured out to use it. Was this gas station attendant a very smart man when he was alive? So smart that in death he could over come the being a simple-minded zombie? With his leadership, the other zombies learn to ignore the simple distractions the living throw at them and they learn to kill with various tools. This is the most disturbing and possibly most frightening part of this movie. The thought of having a shambling horde hunting you down to eat you is fairly scary. Then you add in the ability to shoot you down which makes it even more terrifying.

Jenny: The evolution of these zombies is frightening.  They are learning.  But, doesn’t education bring enlightenment?  Will they evolve into a more peaceful society?  Will they replace us?  Come on! They are zombies.  Let them eat flesh, but leave the guns to us.  I think this movie is trying to do too much to a good thing.  Let zombies be zombies.  I like the shambling zombie trying to lurch towards the victim fiending for some brains.

Rasmus: The other part of this movie is the battle between the upper and lower classes of Fiddler’s Green.  Cholo, a lower class mercenary, does all of Kaufman’s dirty work in hopes to gain a home with the upper class residents of Fiddler’s Green.  Kaufman is basically “the man”, and I say damn the man.  Kaufman being the snooty ass that he is would rather have Cholo killed then live with him.  This ignites Cholo’s rage so he steals the Dead Reckoning and threatens to blow up Kaufman’s beloved home if he does not pay up 5 million big ones.  Cholo had something better than money and he blew it.  He had the Dead Reckoning.  What the fuck is he going to do with money?  Why the hell is money even a currency in the future?  Money is only as good as the items you can purchase with it.  If no one has any goods then the only good paper money would be is to burn to keep warm.  I would think in a future like that goods would serve as a form of currency.  I guess I could see gold or gems being a currency since you could make pretty things out of them, but I think food would be worth more.

Jenny: How typical.  Even when everyone falls into the same situation, someone will rise up to separate us into categories: rich, poor, black, white, deserving, and undeserving.  Was it Cholo’s background that kept him out of Fiddler’s Green or the fact that he is not white?  And Kaufman has a genuine hatred for the undead.  He wants to keep them out of the city, but it seems it is for his profit alone.  When all hell breaks loose, he doesn’t think twice about abandoning everyone as long as he has his money.  And I agree, why would a dollar have any value here?  I think those mercenaries would have all the power.  Some sort of militant would be leading the city, not some pampered fancypants.

Rasmus: Overall I liked this movie. The zombies were great, and the rest of the story was OK.

Jenny: Yeah, it’s all right.  But it is not scary, it doesn’t all make sense, even for a zombie film, and it is too gross. One redeeming factor is Riley who seems to care for the people, despite the fact that he is itching to go to a remote area in Canada.  He goes after the Dead Reckoning, but not for money.  He does it to prevent Cholo from blowing them all up.  And then when he has possession of it, he goes back to town knowing full well it is crawling with zombies in order to get the people out. He was okay.


8 thoughts on “Land of the Dead”

  1. I can’t believe you guys are giving this movie a passing grade. This was one of the worse zombie films I’ve seen only getting topped by the disaster that was Diary of the Dead. George Romero much like another filmmaker named George has lost his edge and forgotten great storytelling and character driven drama.
    The original Night and Dawn and to a lesser degree Day represent the pinnacles of zombie filming so I had expectations Land would follow in the same vein. However Land felt like a direct to DVD release that was controlled by a studio head and not a creative genius. I didn’t care about these character, there was no broad sense of lurking doom just a couple shock gross out moments. I see the social commentary George was trying to make but it was sooo heavy handed..and then totally over the top in Land of the Dead. What made Dawn of the Dead great was the more subtle subtext of consumerism and great characters and this impending doom you could sense in the atmosphere of the film.

    Retroman Steves last blog post..Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood

  2. You make some really good points Steve. I didn’t care too much about this movie myself and to me it just didn’t feel like a Romero movie. I loved the remake of “Dawn” for the action, but it also had character to it and the feel that Romero had a say in things even though he didn’t. “Land” seemed like the Hollywood remake to a film Romero never released. Throw in some over-paid actors for good measure and you have a shoot-em-up action film. I disagree on your comments about “Diary” though, as you will see in our review in the next couple days.

  3. I agree about finding the focus on zombies evolving and learning odd, but Romero started that in Day of the Dead and I guess he’s sticking with it. I haven’t watched Diary yet so I don’t know if he continued down that road.

    Personally I think Land of the Dead does fall into a pretty average category. It’s not great or horrible. There are certainly worse zombie movies around.

    If I have to name a few fairly recent ones I’ll point at Uwe Boll’s House of the Dead or the recent Day of the Dead movie, which Steve and I are apparently going to have to disagree on. But there are lots of other zombie flicks that are worse (and better) than Land.

    Lurples last blog post..The Big Gundown

  4. I did not thing that Land of the Dead was the greatest movie. I also did not think that it was the worst movie that is why I gave it 3 out of 5 because I felt that is was an average movie.

  5. This was a good movie, along with Romero’s other films, but because it used alot of special effects, it weighed the film down a bit.

    Like the Romeros’ others films, this one is about humans against humans, namely a secure city that has a enforced class system or ghetto people and rich socialites living in a skyscraper, while the zombies are across the river.

    a continuation the the “learning” zombie from Day is “Big daddy” a zombie leading the others to use weapons, cross rivers, and chase down humans.

    It does have gore, namely some uncensored scenes of zombies feeding on soldiers, construction workers, and both the rich and poor.

    The worst part overall is the ending.

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