The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

LAND OF THE DEAD (2005) ****

It took two decades for George Romero to deliver the fourth part of his epic zombie saga, but it was well worth the wait. Like his other films (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead) Romero’s social commentary is at the forefront, even more so.

This time he satirizes everything from class structure, America’s fear of outsiders, terrorism and even gas prices (the end scene in which misplaced gasoline causes a lot of money to burn). While his other zombie flicks took place in a house, a mall, and a military compound, respectively, Romero ups the ante by having Land take place inside a walled in city. The (white and rich) elite live in a luxurious high rise called Fiddler’s Green, while the blue collar have-nots, led by Riley (Simon Baker) risk life and limb by looting nearby zombie infested towns for supplies for the aristocratic fat cats. Kaufman (Dennis Hopper) is the tyrannical leader of Fiddler’s Green, and denies Cholo (John Leguizamo, who is excellent), Riley’s second in command, a place in “The Green”. A vengeful Cholo steals Dead Reckoning (the film’s original title), an armored military transport and threatens to blow up the city. “I’m gonna pull a jihad on his ass!” Kaufman sends Riley out to stop him. Meanwhile, the zombies are slowly gaining intelligence and an undead gas station attendant named Big Daddy (Eugene Clark) with amazing leadership qualities organizes an attack on the city.

The unrated DVD is gorier than your average major studio horror movie, but still not up to the gory heights of Day of the Dead. Tongues are pulled out, fingers are eaten, guts are munched, belly button rings are ripped out, faces are ripped off, heads are lopped off, eyeballs are pulled out and grenades vaporize flesh. The Preacher zombie will scare the shit out of you and is the coolest zombie since the helicopter zombie from the original Dawn of the Dead.

The supporting cast featuring Asia (XXX) Argento (whose father Dario co-produced Dawn for Romero) as a hooker who fights zombies in WWE style cage matches and Robert (Death Wish V) Joy as Riley’s scarred simple minded pal are top notch too.

But at the forefront are Romero’s deft political observations. In the previous films Romero always had a black hero. In Land, the main zombie is black. It just goes to show you who Romero’s rooting for.

Welcome back George.
Tags: horror, l, romero, sequel, zombie
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