1 July 2005 | joestank15
Not bad, but not great
Land of the Dead - The 4th part of George A. Romero's zombie quadrillogy. It's been decades since the dead began to walk the Earth, and now they practically own it (except for Canada for some reason). There is one last little mega-city that is surrounded by electric fences, armed patrols and barbed wire on one side, and nothing but water on all other four sides, because the dead supposedly don't like water. Despite the fact that the surrounding lands are rife with zombies, this metropolis is incredibly corrupt. All thanks to evil bureaucrat Kaufman (Dennis Hooper, who I had a ball watching) who makes all but a select few rich folks (who have never seen or fought a real zombie) live in slums. There you can get your picture taken with zombies, or watch zombie fights (they fight over animals and the occasional human). There are a few mercenaries paid to make runs in a giant tank truck for precious commodities in the outside world.
Now I like George and could thank him endlessly for starting the zombie franchise, but he has always favored gore just a little more over character development, and has always liked his zombies just a LOT more than his humans. Heck in this movie, the zombies are practically the good-guys! They're just like you and me, except they rip people's arms in two (and I do mean length-wise) and tear belly button rings out of people. They are actually pretty intelligent and moderately fast at walking. By far the biggest threats in Romero's movies (most notably "Big Daddy" (Eugene Clark). For the most part though, it works, and it's good gory fun. Except the character development thingy. While I don't begrudge Romero for having fun with his zombies, I wasn't too sympathetic to Riley (Simon Baker) or Slack (Asia Argento). Riley, like Romero it seems, is just tired of character development as he has Riley say "I'm fed up with back-stories". But Riley dear boy, that's how the audience grows to care about you. Slack almost kills several of her fellow team-mates and does not grow at all, but that's the script's fault. Both of these characters, however are played well for what the actors are given.
Surprisingly the secondary characters are far more endearing. Cholo (John Leguizamo) was not only believable as a merc, but I was quite sympathetic to him as he realized that he was a pon. "Pilsbury" (Pedro Miguel Arce) and Charlie (Robert Joy) are endearing and funny.
So the effects are good. The story is iffy. The acting is good. The character development is iffy. The ending is really lame. This gets an overall B