In my continued attempt to bring some variety to this blog, I plan to continue the “versus” concept that I incorporated last year into my write-up: “Mirror Mirror vs. Snow White and the Huntsman: The Fairest Fight of them All”. Back then, the title suited that post perfectly as I compared and contrasted the two live-action Snow White films which came out a mere two months apart from each other. But like the Overlooked Movies category that I christened last week, today’s post marks a brand-new category to A Legally Black Blog that I’d like to call “Main Event Reviews”. Here, two movies with a similar theme, similar title or EXACT title (i.e. original vs. remake) do battle for ultimate supremacy. Ties are rare in this competition, but for the most part, there can only be one winner.
And now for the MAIN EVENT!
First, from Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions, GK Films and Plan B Entertainment, with an estimated budget of $190 million, directed by Marc (“I was the guy who directed “Quantum of Solace” – You know,…that ONE James Bond movie that Daniel Craig fans shitted on”) Foster, and starring Brad (“My name’s in the dictionary. Really! Look it up!”) Pitt, David (“Yo, I got snubbed for that Emmy! Really! Look it up!) Morse, and Matthew (“’Alex Cross’ does not exist! Really! Look it up!”) Fox, it’s the zombie-apocalypse summer blockbuster “WORLD WAR Z”!!
And its opponent, from Metrodome Distribution, Event Film, Extreme Video and 8988 Games (Ooookay then), with an estimated budget of….$1,000,000 (WOW!), written and directed by Luca Boni and Marco Ristori (“Either your brains or your signature would be on that cheque. I’m just kidding. That was a Mafia joke. We’re not Mafia, by the way”), and starring Uwe (“Do people really call me the Ed Wood of the 21st century?”) Boll, Tara (“I was an extra in ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua”. Really! Look it up!”) Cardinal and Carl (“I don’t even know what fucking movies I’ve been in. Check IMDB or sum’n”) Wharton, it’s the seemingly-original “APOCALYPSE Z” (a.k.a. ZOMBIE MASSACRE)!!
If you haven’t realized it by now, “Apocalypse Z” (or “Zombie Massacre” which is actually the better title) is but one of a large number of Z-movies (or Z-makes as I’ll be calling them throughout this review) that blatantly copy the premises and/or titles of particular Hollywood movies (mostly horror or sci-fi) which either came out in the past or currently generated a lot of Internet buzz, like “Snakes on a Plane” (‘remade’ as “Snakes on a Train” — now that’s fucking original), “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (‘remade’ as “Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies”) and the upcoming mecha vs. monster sci-fi flick “Pacific Rim” (‘remade’ a few months ago – or should I say, copied the premise from the TRAILER for Pacific Rim before the movie even came out – as “Atlantic Rim”). Now Z-makes shouldn’t be confused with the “XXX parody” (a term which is pretty much self-explanatory). At least those movies are self-aware that they’re making fun of your favourite movies, like “Spider-Man” (parodied as “Spider Babe”), “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (serving as inspiration for “Pirates”) and “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring'” (INFAMOUSLY parodied as “The Lord of the G-Strings: The Femaleship of the String”). Z-makes, from what I’ve observed, are far from intended parody. They’re presented as “legitimate” films made by “legitimate” film companies for a “legitimate” audience (i.e. those over 21 who want to get drunk with some friends on a Saturday night and laugh at a bullshit movie). Z-movie film production studios hiring smaller-time visual effects studios and washed-up or relatively unknown actors to work on these “center of the Earth”-low budget films is one thing, but giving these films titles that are obvious rip-offs to superior (for better or worse) Hollywood films is something else altogether. I think the main reason behind this practice is to fool the customer into thinking that the Z-make is RELATED to the Hollywood film, like the aforementioned “Abraham Lincoln” movies. If the “Vampire Hunter” film is inaccessible, then the customer would be inclined to stream (online), rent or (gulp) BUY the “Zombies” film. And just like that, the Z-movie studios make money and/or generate their own Internet buzz.
Now I’ve never seen a Z-make before, and I figured that now would be a great time to start, considering the worldwide success of “World War Z”. You know and I know that I’ll HATE the shit out of “Apocalypse Z”, but I am a film buff and as such, I have to be open to a wide variety of movies. And with a bag of popcorn in my hands and my brain on my lap, I’m confident that I will, at least, catch a few laughs with this movie. Besides, I’ve sat through Z-movies before. Just recently, I watched “Super Shark” on the SyFy channel (ONLY because E! TV host Joel McHale poked fun at it on “The Soup” (best show on E! – I’m just saying)) IN ITS ENTIRETY and it was HILARIOUS……LY BAD! Here’s a hilarious video based on the movie. Call it “ringside entertainment”:
Well, it looks like the two competitors are desperately trying to keep themselves awake. So long intro aside, LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!
“WORLD WAR Z” – There’s a lot of zombie movies out there, but not that many with a PG-13 rating. Like “I Am Legend” back in 2007 (which was, in retrospect, a very good but not a great Will Smith film),”World War Z” takes a horror sub-genre dedicated to blood, guts and rotting flesh and tells a story that audiences 13 years and over can enjoy. Though it apparently strays away from Max Brooks’ 2006 novel of the same name (I haven’t read the book, and I don’t have any intention to any time soon), Marc Foster’s adaptation succeeds as an entertaining, thrilling and….I shit you not…..FUN zombie movie. Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane, a former United Nations investigator and family man tasked to investigate a worldwide outbreak of a virus that turns people into zombies. While evading masses of zombies from country to country, Lane learns more about the virus and its effects. It’s this knowledge that can save humanity from the uncontrollable pandemic affecting the world, provided that Lane survives long enough to apply it. Since Brad Pitt is the only A-list actor in “World War Z”, the film plays itself essentially as a Brad Pitt movie, with the supporting cast overshadowed by Pitt’s own star quality as a result. As expected, Mr. Bradgelina (do people still say that shit?) turns in a solid performance, and you can’t help but root for the guy as he runs away from, dodges and eludes zombies from the Middle East to Europe. The zombies themselves are well-crafted (in terms of both make-up and CGI) and if their twitchy movements and ability to leap onto their victims doesn’t freak you out, then seeing them pile themselves together into gigantic masses WILL. There are some great jump scares in the film and a lot of holy-shit moments thrown here and there, but unfortunately, there are little scenes of genuine zombie violence. I blame the rating for that aspect, for had it been a R-rated film, we would have been given the genuine gore that one expects from a zombie movie. But thanks to the film’s quick pace, dark tone and roller-coaster ride approach to its story, “World War Z” manages to elevate itself to a worthy entry into the zombie genre. Don’t go expecting a feature-length version of an episode of “The Walking Dead” and you’ll be fine.
“APOCALYPSE Z” – While “World War Z” was based on a novel, “Apocalypse Z” (actual name: “Zombie Massacre”) is based on the 1998 Amiga computer video game of the same name which, according to Wikipedia, was a clone of the CLASSIC first-person shooter “Doom” (which, if you know your video game movie history, was adapted to an immensely disappointing Universal Studios film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson back in 2005). On the subject of video game movies, one name has become synonymous with shitty film adaptations of great video games: Uwe Boll. He directed not one – but FIVE bad video game movies: 2003’s “House of the Dead”, 2006’s “BloodRayne”, 2007’s “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale” starring Jason Statham, 2007’s “Postal” and 2008’s “Far Cry”. With that being said, “Apocalypse Z” is a terrible movie. No, I don’t think you get it. “Apocalypse Z” is a TERRIBLE MOVIE, and not in the ‘so bad it’s good’ category either. The plot is as follows: four mercenaries – 3 gun-toting guys and a woman wielding two fake-ass katanas (along with knives, a handgun just in case and a couple of shurikens….you know….for good measure) are hired by the CIA to infiltrate a Romanian nuclear power plant infected by a virus that…you guessed it….turns people into zombies. The mission is to blow up the power plant before the virus spreads worldwide or some shit like that. “Apocalypse Z” suffers from an abundance of expository dialogue. The main characters explain what the mission is about over and over to each other, and it gets really fucking annoying after the first ten minutes of the film. If the dialogue isn’t hammering a plot point to the viewer’s head, it tries its utmost hardest to develop character. This, however, fails every time thanks to the bad acting by the film’s cast. There are some incredibly ridiculous lines in this movie, the most bizarre of these being“You know what a big pile of shite looks like…with flies around it? I’m going to create a big pile of SHITE! You have to trust me on this one!”, but none that can you expect to see on an Internet Meme in the future. Like most bad movies, there are some unintentionally hilarious moments. In one scene, one of the male mercenaries (I won’t say who – not like you’ll give a fuck anyway) is attacked by a zombie. Before he passes away, he shares a homo-erotic moment with his comrade, who’s forced to kill him. The comrade leans over, and in a unconvincingly disenchanted manner, speaks the following: “Brother. So many wars…so many women..we will fight again! We will fight (*FAKE TEARS*) again! Forgive me, my brother!”. Unfortunately, the Oscar-worthy acting doesn’t end there! The acting throughout the film is so stilted and amateur, it’s as if they’re starring in a student film. Like I mentioned earlier, the estimated budget is $1,000,000 AND IT SHOWS! Every time a zombie with a different face (see, every zombie in this movie LOOKS DIFFERENT! They have no distinct facial features, as all look radically different from one another) gets shot with a fake bullet from a plastic gun with obvious After Effects muzzle flair added to it, you can literally see the budget burning on-screen. I expected to laugh my ass off considerably in this movie, but apart from a few corny one-liners, some laughable action sequences and a performance by Tara Cardinal that would have even the most devoted of cosplay girls yelling at the screen in disgust over how uninspired her character is (her fighting movements….if that’s what they were supposed to be ….were lazy, sloppy and effortless. Even the way she holds her katana is lazy. Check the pic below)….
….. “Apocalypse Z” is an absolute mess and a complete waste of 86 minutes of your life. It’s unexciting, un-entertaining, unoriginal (take a wild guess what this shot reminds you of)…..
….. underwhelming and undeniably a big pile of shite….with flies around it. Unless you really enjoy laughing at bad movies, or you want to educate yourself on how NOT to make a original, low-budget horror/action movie, do not see this movie. EVER! In fact, you should skip “Apocalypse Z” altogether and move on to “Apocalypse Now”, since it’s a fucking masterpiece (PERIOD) compared to Uwe Boll’s entire filmography. Oh, and I forgot to mention: Uwe Boll plays the President of the United States. I’m not joking. German-born Uwe Boll plays a (surprisingly) foul-mouthed, bald-headed PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES – and he doesn’t even try to sound American! Good thing you only appear for one minute, huh, Boll?
AND THE WINNER IS – Couldn’t you tell by my long-ass tirade in the previous paragraph? “World War Z'” is the better movie. It’s worth the time and the extra money (Yes, it’s in 3D – and it’s done REALLY well). “Apocalypse Z”, like the game that inspired it, should, and will be, forgotten through the test of time. “Super Shark”, on the other hand, will be remembered by me, ’cause that shit was HILARIOUS! Seriously, it was!
WORLD WAR Z” – 4 out of 5 stars (“See this movie”)
“APOCALYPSE Z” – 1/2 out of 5 stars (“Burn this movie….literally”)