Tuesday, May 29, 2007

28 Weeks Later

Spoilers and my review follow the jump, so read only if you have seen it/don't want to see it.

Rarely have I been as disappointed as I was after seeing this movie.

28 Days Later was a great, great movie. The powerful opening sequences with the guy walking around a deserted London looking for people, taking pound notes from dead people, and searching for civilization set the tone for the film. The soldiers topped it off with a contrast to how depraved humanity can be even when it is normal (thanks to Christopher Eccleston's role as Major West). They did it in a subtle way, though. The fight for survival took precedence and sucked the viewer into the film. Even when Eccleston offered Jim the chance to join the depravity, it was still about survival, not about an aggressive military or a warped mankind.

28 Weeks Later takes the good reputation and name of the original and tramples it into the ground.

I don't know if it was the same creative team or not, but either way the guys who made the first one should be followed around with a crowd of 10-20 people chanting "You Sold Out" at all times. When they are in church, "You Sold Out." When they go to Starbucks to have a triple latte smufrledick crunch punch, "You Sold Out." When they are in the club getting tipsy, "You Sold Out." Everywhere they go, they should hear this until 28 Months Later comes out (and you know there will be one, even though there probably shouldn't be). Then, they should hear it louder and more frequently.

28 Weeks Later takes place almost exclusively in London, aside from an opening sequence in which the Infected attack a cottage in the countryside full of survivors. The violence is shot a bit differently than in the first one, but it isn't bad. Standard zombie-fare. After a brief sequence that chronicles the aftermath of infection, we are taken to Gatwick airport, where a group of civilians are coming to repatriate the country. Reconstruction has thus far been limited to "The Green Zone" (no, I'm not kidding, they really call it the Green Zone), which is essentially the Isle of Dogs in London. The group in charge of Reconstruction? The U.S. Army, of course.

Without summarizing everything, Infection returns when a woman is rescued from outside the Green Zone by her children (who were in the US during the outbreak). Turns out she is immune to Rage, but is a carrier. One of her kids is immune to it, one isn't. Her husband, a survivor and a civilian, somehow has an all-access pass to any facility in London, even classified military structures. He sneaks in to see her, feels guilty for leaving her behind, kisses her, becomes infected, and hilarity ensues.

The problem with this movie is that it is too implausible. Yes, it is a zombie movie, but that isn't the part that is implausible. The actions of the U.S. military, who is apparently supposed to be the bad guy in this more so than the Ragers, are so asinine and unbelievable so as not to be taken seriously at all. For example, when Infection first breaks out, the Army quarantines all civilians (ok, so far), but they do this by locking them in an underground garage and turning off all of the lights inside. To top this off, they don't secure the exits and a Rager makes it in. More hilarity ensues.

Because they are on an island, and Ragers can't swim (a fact established in the opening scene of the movie), the Army doesn't fall back across the river and set up a choke point. No, they shoot everybody, whether they are a Rager or not. This includes the Army sniper who leaves his post to try to get the two children to safety and a group of non-Raging civilians who are running around to protect said two children because the Army doctor (the only one, I might add) realizes that the boy is immune and could be used to find a cure. To top it all off, an Apache helicopter shoots at a Volvo station wagon driving through the deserted streets of London to avoid a poision gas attack by the Army. Since we all know that people on Rage are the best drivers, you would think that the Army would try to help them, instead of senselessly killing them. Total non-starter.

So, in conclusion, this movie should have been rewritten more to the spirit of the original. I like my metaphors as much as the next guy, but this whole U.S. Army is bad is simply overdone. And no, I'm not objecting to it because I'm patriotic or what not, I'm objecting to it because it has no coherence. Only three soldiers in the whole movie have anything remotely resembling common sense, and they have to disregard orders to show it. Of course, they succeed in accidentally bringing Rage to France and, ostensibly, the entire European continent, so expect that sequel in a couple of year.

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