Friday, November 9, 2012

The Quick and the Undead..

OoOo Sam Raimi’s camera work, Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman squaring off with an amazing ensemble cast…er…wait that’s The Quick and the Dead.   Crap.   Oh well, slap leather and draw boys and girls this is The Quick and the Undead.

Spoilers have to shot in the head! 

As we break into our zombie subgenre movie let me be clear.  This is a post-apocalyptic zombie western.  Yeah wrap your brain around that for a few minutes.  85 years after 2006 I guess we had a viral plague swept the lands turning ¾ of the populous into zombies?  The remaining few are mostly contracted bounty hunters dealing with zombies from town to town.  Opening scene is a bit of narrative and limited hammy news reports describing the outbreak.  The government is barely held together with baling wire and spit.  Terrorist factions are claiming for the outbreak.  CDC warning establishes to kill your loved ones with head trauma and burn the body.    This gig looks pretty simple.  Chum the streets, the smell will bring the zombies out, wait in an open area with a lot of ammo, clear head and steady hands. Blam blam blam, job’s done.   Re-establishing Romero’s standing that zombies are flesh eaters, that this is not a difficult prey.  Slow moving and dull witted, they are not MENSA material.   The best of the best bounty hunters (Yeah we can cue that music later if you like) Ryn Baskin (Clint Glenn of Castle, The Flesh Keeper and Battle Force) channels Eastwood’s character from A Fistful of Dollars down to the look, squint and mannerisms.   Hell he even smokes cheroots.  Very much a homage, if you will.  Everything about this movie has a Sergio Leone feel to it.  The wide camera angles, the crane shots and the handheld are superb.  Now the zombie gore effects are no Savini or KNB but pretty effective as a whole.  Admittedly some of the head shots are clearly a combination of high speed cam and CGI touch up but not bad.  After a rather successful hunt of 29 zombies Ryn encounters his former posse led by Blythe Remington (Parrish Randall of the Flesh Keeper, Dark Spaces and Dead of the Knight).  The two have an Indy/Belloq moment for the idol right down to the dialogue.   Shh.  Just pretend you didn’t notice.  Blythe’s crew rips Ryn off and leaves him for dead.  Establishing that humanity is not looking out for one another YET again, the desolate feel of being human in this zombie world makes one feel alone.  

Okay that was a bit too thought provoking.  Let’s go to the hunters’ rules.  (1) Fresh ones die first.  Their muscle tissue is still intact and they can move quicker.  Take the rotting ones later. (2) Always be out in the open.  Distance and a steady aim will drop them but if they outnumber you, run away. (3) Do not run inside and hide.  Eventually your supplies will run out and you need food.  Zombie has no other means of food so it can wait.  Doesn’t need sleep, to pee or get distracted by a shiny object.  Being primarily on the editorial department, Director/Writer Gerald Nott takes his first stab behind the camera with The Quick and the Undead.  This is a bit dialogue driven and a fair amount of action sequences with just that dash of jump scares to be found in a zombie film.  Humanity’s greed overweighing common sense, proof we don’t need the zombies to do us in.  Little bit of Day of the Dead lines adapted for the screenplay but hey I can overlook it.  No Captain Rhodes in this lot lemme tell you.  So if you are looking for Plains Drifter meets Dawn of The Dead than look no further.  Decent camera work, actors actually attempting their own and the storyline is tangible.   I found myself going into this one with no hopes and all and was pleasantly surprised.