Thursday, May 10, 2007

28 Weeks Later...


Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo takes over from Englishman Danny Boyle in the followup movie to the latter's excellent 28 Days Later, and has come up with something worthy. Should a third movie be made and doesn't screw up the good work already done, it should make a pretty neat trilogy. I enjoy the legendary George A Romero's zombies in his movies, though I have to confess I prefer those in the 28-later series, as their constant running pace provides a shot of adrenaline when our helpless victims try in futile to escape, and somehow in that reckless speed, make them truly terrifying (ok, cos I can't run, and if caught in that kind of situation, I'll be dead meat).

But the movie doesn't hit the ground running. In fact, it plays like the memorable soundtrack composed by John Murphy who also did the predecessor movie, and allows for the calm to ring through, before the madness of a storm begins. The horrific opening scene would have to be one of the best in the movie, before we're fast forwarded to 28 weeks later, where Robert Carlyle's Don awaits his children Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) and Tammy (Imoen Poots, a dead ringer for Cate Blanchett!). We revisit the quiet streets of London again, like in 28 Days Later, with recognizable landmarks void of people, and the city having been ravaged, now undergoes repopulation by those who managed to leave the initial onslaught of the Rage virus.

Before you scream "Resident Evil!" because of the similarities, be rest assured that this movie beats those in the Milla Juvovich vehicle anytime. What I thought if I read too deep into it, is the showcase of the US military being yet the armed forces occupying a land that is not theirs, imposing a safe, and highly secured "green zone" for the incoming residents to reside in, while everything outside that zone is deemed the wild west, reeked with rotting bodies and the potential of a deadly virus rearing its ugly head, ready to spark a pandemic. Probably cuts a little close to the real world, but what the heck, leave those thoughts aside and enjoy the movie.

It's no surprise too that while it's nice to see a crisis plan kick in when things go awry, there are enough moments which make you think twice about collateral damage in the name of greater good, and how one thing leads to another, and finally to extermination. And self-sacrifice is often a common element in zombie movies, and I thought this was handled extremely well, especially in the Carlyle's character. It's one thing to pay lip service, and another when there's a call to action.

I've said it before, the running zombies are a sight to behold. They're stealthy and waste no time, with the tenacity of mad rabid dogs pouncing on you with their thick bloody drool. And what makes it horrific is if you were to put yourself running away from these folks, you'll wonder exactly how long you can outlast them before they finally get to you, from all directions. Making it more difficult this time round, is the escape from the weapons of mass destruction (sorry, couldn't resist that one) that the US forces unleash, and with the snazzy CG effects, these scenes become a sight to behold, without going over the top with the effects.

I like many scenes in the movie, which I will not describe lest to spoil them for you. But indeed, there is great potential towards developing a cult following. For those in need of geography lessons, yes, those are the white cliffs of Dover. If there's a gripe, it'll again be the local distributor's decision to release this movie censored for its gory scenes. I noted at least 2 jarring cuts during scenes of blood lust. But let not those minor irritations get to your enjoyment.

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