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Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012)
The Asylum finally comes through on a movie........almost
As far as features released by The Asylum goes, this wasn't bad. Notice that I didn't say it was good, just that it wasn't bad. Surprisingly, while the cast was composed of mostly unknown actors, their performances were decent. Not great mind you but definitely watchable. Special effects is an area that usually lets The Asylum films down but this time it was OK.
Regardless of acting quality and special effects, a film needs a good story to succeed and this is the area where Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies failed. The President of the United States leading a small group of men into a Confederate territory reported to be overrun by zombies? Who thought that one up? Once the team arrived at their destination, the story lost all cohesiveness. People did things here, people did things there. It was as if the director was throwing darts at notes on the wall for ideas. Story, story, story. You can't have a good movie without a good story and this feature severely lacked one.
In summary, Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies has decent acting and zombie action. If you don't care about story, you may enjoy it.
Star Wars IV: A New Hope
Star Wars IV: A New Hope Synopsis:
A young man ekes out a life on a dry, barren wasteland planet. He one day chances upon a small droid carrying important information that is wanted by the Galactic Empire. The young man is initially reluctant to get involved but after witnessing the brutality of the Galactic Empire, he accepts the task at hand to help deliver the droid to the Rebel Alliance. He picks up companions along the way and look for possible assistance in a seedy bar populated with unsavory alien-types.
During the journey, various small skirmishes are fought and one of the elder statesman in the group is killed. The death particularly affects the young man as he looked up to him in high regard.
The droid and it's information is delivered to the Rebel Alliance successfully and everyone prepares for the final battle with the Galactic Empire's doomsday weapon. In the climactic scene, the Galactic Empire's doomsday weapon is destroyed after a single venerability is found.
Star War VII: The Force Awakens
Substitute "young man" with "young woman" , "Galactic Empire" with "First Order" and "Rebel Alliance" with "Resistance" in the above synopsis and you have Star War VII: The Force Awakens. This is not a new movie but a retelling of "A New Hope."
It's been 10 years (2005) since the release of "Revenge of the Sith" and this is the best they could come up with?
Story wise, I rank this a s a FAIL. Special effects is top notch. Just go to see the special effects and forget that this is supposed to be a Star Wars sequel - it is not.
Death Before Dishonor (1987)
The A-Team Movie
Rather than the abomination that was released in 2010, this is what the A-Team movie should have been like. The necessary pieces are all there, desperate situation, chase scenes with vehicles jumping/flipping over or crashing through things, people falling or being flung through the air, thousands of rounds of ammunition expended and last but not least, big explosions.
Even with all that going on, this feature is only marginally entertaining. It is ham and cheese at it's best (or worse depending on your viewpoint). The dialog is bad and the plot is so formulaic that you know what will happen well before it happens. The buddy-buddy bonding scene in the beginning is not believable and adds no real value other than to give the audience a quick introduction to the team and their "We are bad ass" attitude/history.
There is a fair amount of violence which includes a graphic torture scene. The story, what little of it lacks cohesiveness and as a result jumps around more than a Mexican jumping bean on a pogo stick.
For those looking for mindless entertainment with gun play and explosions, they will probably be satisfied. For those wanting a good story to go along with the violence, probably not.
Bad Ass (2012)
Funny, inane, out of control
With the title of "Bad Ass", you know this is not going to be a masterpiece. The story is a parody of sorts of action films (ie: Chuck Norris, Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Van Damme, etc. vs. the bad guys alone) but this time the protagonist is a frumpy old man.
There are movies that are so bad they become entertaining; this is one of them. The dialog is bad, the fight scenes are bad, the special effects are bad, there is nothing noteworthy or redeeming at all. I might as well kick 'em while they're down and note that the entire vehicle chase scene is cut and pasted from a 1988 Schwarzenegger film.
If you turn off your left brain (the supposedly analytical side) while watching this, you'll find some chuckles here and there. A frumpy old hero? While not believable that an older person can take out all the baddies hand-to-hand, it is not inconceivable that he can win some of the fights.
If you are looking for mindless entertainment and don't mind extreme profanity and violence, you may enjoy this movie.
For the same reasons, I recommend keeping kids away it.
World War Z (2013)
Misses the mark
World War Z is a movie that has great potential but goes absolutely nowhere. The most glaring issue, this is a zombie movie without zombie action.
What do people expect to see in zombie movies? Zombies attacking and munching on people. Instead, WWZ gives the audience zombies running around at Mach speed and cut scenes at what should be interesting points.
Pitt's character is wooden and unsympathetic. Even as an anti-hero, I didn't buy into the character. It's clear that Pitt and his wife/family are very close but does the audience need to be constantly remind of this? The story makes very little sense with Pitt traveling across the globe in search of answers. What makes matters worse, very little of the data gathered has an effect on the final outcome of the film.
The South Korea airbase scene in particular adds no value to the story. Everyone is aware that they need to be extremely quiet to sneak onto a plane to leave. Pitt however, leave his phone on and receives a call from his wife at the worse possible moment and people become dead as a result. Pitt's character is supposed to be the best at what he does but yet fails to observe safety protocols? This makes no sense.
The hoards of CGI created living dead are unconvincing and in some scenes, resemble the ones in "I am Legend." Not much in way of technological improvements over a film released in 2007 if you ask me.
Camera work is terrible with shots bouncing up and down, side to side. Another film ruined with "shaky cam" filming .
In a way, this movie parallels the 2011 film "Contagion." In fact, you can replace the Pitt investigative scenes with the ones from "Contagion" and have a more cohesive story.
There is very little blood shown on screen. Given its PG-13 rating, violence of course needed to be toned down but not to the point of avoidance. Fans of the zombie genre may find this film a bit lacking but I think the producers of WWZ wanted to sanitize it to appeal to a wider audience.
Fairly unsatisfying movie
This is one of those movies that starts off appearing enjoyable but becomes terribly disappointing as it progresses. The storyline is fairly simple In the aftermath of a great war against an alien enemy, Earth has been rendered uninhabitable. To survive, mankind has escaped to another world but a few humans remain to tend the massive energy harvesting machines left behind. To make things difficult, a few surviving aliens have also remained and try to create havoc where ever they can.
It's hard not to notice the behavior of the three primary characters, strange, wooden and unfeeling. Whether it was intentional or just bad acting, it effectively gave away the plot twists and secrets of the story long before they are revealed. You know that everyone and everything is not as they appear and by the time the movies hits its proverbial stride, you will have already correctly guessed everything that will happen.
The film is 2 hours in length but loses its entertainment value near the half hour mark. The story is incredibly predictable and has laughable plot holes that make no sense at all. For instance, how do the clones share memories? They are independent of each other but yet they seemingly share memories at the lake scene at the end. (If you haven't seen the movie, I won't give away what this means.)
Pros: Special effects are top notch, action scenes are interesting. Cons: Story (or lack of), plot, zero second viewing potential
Recommendation: Watch the first half and turn it off, the rest you will have already envisioned in your head.
An thinking person's zombie movie
This is a thinking person's zombie move...(ie: you have to use your imagination)
The entire movie takes place within a radio station where the main characters spend most of the film broadcasting the events unfolding in their community. As information trickles in, the news is passed on to listeners.
This is radio drama at its best - hearkening back to a period when million gathered by their radios to enjoy various broadcasts. Sitting back with one's eyes closed is probably the most appropriate method to appreciate this feature.
Presented as a film production however, the technique does little to keep the story interesting. All talk and no action gets old really quick.
Zombie genre fans watch zombie movies for what?....ZOMBIES! More precisely, zombies attacking and munching on people.
So let's do a recap.
How many on screen zombie attacks were there? None. How many people were shown being bitten on screen? None. How many zombies were observed doing anything other than pounding on glass or meandering around? None.
The problem is, this is not a zombie movie but a movie where the cast talks about zombie activities.
I'll give them credit for coming up with a new spin on how people become infected; it is however, not enough to carry the tale.
Almost 1970's and '80 throw-back worthy
Unlike the PG-13 horror movies these days that rely on surprise to scare audiences, previous generations of horror movies truly were shocking and contained material worthy of R rating. Fans of the genre know what elements good horror slasher films need: Gory kill scenes, creative kill scenes, suspense, a last great scene where the protagonist has to rise from the brink of death to defeat the killer and of course, gratuitous nudity.
Hatchet has all of the aforementioned elements but still didn't make the grade. Why? A complete movie needs more than just great kill scenes, it has to have a good story and decent acting, neither of which is present.
I applaud the efforts of the folks behind this movie for trying to make a horror movie for adults. With box office revenue declining, most studios prefer to release films for broader audiences rather than a particular segment. I only wish more thought was put into the script.
Hatchet II (2010)
Stupid people deserve to be killed
This is pretty much the premise of Hatchet II, a bunch of stupid people get slaughtered in amusing ways. The kills were both gory and creative, more than enough to satisfy the most hardcore gore aficionados.
What let the movie down was the lack of a good story...actually...it lacked any story. Movie summary in one sentence - Assemble a group of people and herd them down to the swamp to get killed. End of movie.
The female protagonist was too stupid to think she would not get killed. Apparently surviving a previous encounter with Victor was not enough, she needed to face him again and let him have another go at her. No sane person with half a brain cell would go back out to relive their previous horrors. Of course, her stupidity reigned supreme and she survived another encounter with the killer.
I will say that this sequel is better than the first one. Not by much but better.
Hatchet III (2013)
Go outside and watch your grass grow.
How do these movies keep getting worse? Hatchet 2 was bad but this one is even worse. Don't get me wrong, the previous two movies were bad but I enjoyed watching them regardless. They were like train wrecks or car crashes, you couldn't turn away from them. I cannot say this for Hatchet III though, there was nothing redeemable about it.
Plot - None. Story - None. Character development - None.
The sole purpose of this movie was to line up people like ducks and watch them get killed. They didn't even try to build suspense, the killer just walked out into the open and started killing people en masses. There was no suspense, no scares and underwhelming kills. If you haven't seen this movie, take my advice - don't.