From the guy who made zombies a household name, comes 2005’s Land Of The Dead. George A Romero wrote & directed this horror flick, that is preceded by Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, and succeeded by Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead. Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, Eugene Clark, Robert Joy & John Leguizamo. Smaller roles are filled by Sasha Roiz, Krista Bridges & Pedro Miguel Arce.
3 years after a zombie apocalypse, mankind are setup in outposts across the United States. Our movie is focused on the one in Pittsburgh, where a feudal system of government is in place presided by the corrupt ruler Paul Kaufman. Bordered on two sides by rivers and on the third by an electric fence, the city has become a sanctuary, with the rich and powerful living in a luxury high-rise called Fiddler’s Green while the rest of the population subsists in squalor. Using a heavily armored vehicle that can travel through the zombie-infested areas with ease and with the help of remote-controlled heavy machine guns and video cameras, teams of men & women head out to nearby towns & cities for supplies and essentials led by Riley Denbo, creator of the specialized vehicle, and the assassin Cholo DeMora who reports to Kaufman for special favours. The teams also use fireworks to distract the zombies, who seem to stare at the skies in bewilderment as long as the fireworks light up the night sky. On one such outing some of the zombies seem to be capable of comprehending and learning. Led by a former gas station owner “Big Daddy” the zombies pick up whatever they find handy; sticks, pipes and Big Daddy also manages to snatch a machine gun from one of the humans leaving the city. The zombies head to Pittsburgh led by BD and cross a river by walking on the bottom (not needing oxygen they aren’t harmed) and reach the city’s fences.
Cholo, while gifting some champagne to Kaufman, s denied an apartment in Fiddler’s Green despite his longtime, devoted service to Kaufman. Upon being rebuffed, Cholo threatens to destroy Fiddler’s Green with the Dead Reckoning, seized by himself and his assistants Pretty Boy, Mouse, Anchor and Foxy. Zombies attack as they are leaving, but Cholo orders his crew not to intervene. Meanwhile Denbo is arrested along with Charlie and Slack, a woman they rescued from being Zombie bait by a bar owner whom they killed. As Cholo threatens Kaufman, the leader sends Riley to stop Cholo, alongside 3 soldiers – Manolete, Motown and Pillsbury. Charlie & Slack tag along but by now some of the zombies have sneaked in and Manolette is bitten and killed by Slack before he has a chance to turn. Once they come across Dead Reckoning, Riley devises a plan to approach the vehicle alone. Against Riley’s orders, Charlie, Slack, and Pillsbury follow him, but they disable Motown and leave her behind on the grounds of her loyalty to Kaufman. Cholo realises that Riley is working for Kaufman and holds both Riley and Charlie at gunpoint. Before Slack and Pillsbury can react, Motown, who has come round, opens fire and nearly kills both Riley and Cholo, before being bitten by a zombie and executed by Slack. With this distraction, Riley de-activates Dead Reckoning’s weapons systems and convinces Cholo to allow him escape Northward, while Cholo goes west. Cholo is later bitten by a zombie and returns to kill Kaufman.
As the people run in panic from the zombies and the firing from the guards & soldiers fail to hold them back Kaufman is cornered by BD in his garage. When Big Daddy leaves the garage, the now dead-and-reanimated Cholo attacks Kaufman; but both are killed by Big Daddy when the latter causes an explosion. Riley and his crew discover that although most inhabitants have become zombies themselves, some had followed Mulligan to escape. Pretty Boy has the opportunity to kill Big Daddy and the zombies; but Riley orders her against it. Riley and his friends then use Dead Reckoning to leave the city and head toward Canada.
It’s ok in places but I found myself finding it a bit predictable although the self-aware zombies threw me in for a loop. 6 outta 10!