Monday, August 21, 2017

Horror Film Review

Zombie Fight Club (2014):  Zombie flick from Taiwan!  Bizarre, over-the-top, weird-ass zombie flick from Taiwan, to be exact.  I went into this one with only one expectation...there would be a zombie fight club.  To be fair, this expectation was met.  You're correct in thinking there is a ginormous "but."

First of all, there are too damn many characters associated with too damn many subplots so I'll eschew the usual actor naming and stick to the main story.  A bad batch of drugs finds its way into a seedy apartment building complex in what I'm assuming is Hong Kong.  A police SWAT-like team raids the apartment of a known drug dealer, not to bust them but to steal their massive pile of cash.  The only good cop in the bunch, Andy, discovers this just as hordes of zombies attack.  He bolts from the bad cops and fights through dozens of the undead cannibals in a very entertaining way.  In another apartment, Jenny is oblivious to the plight of her drug-using boyfriend and his partying friends because she's wearing headphones (sigh).  She eventually figures it out and runs like hell.  Running for their lives, the bad cops burst in on a college professor having a celebration with some of his female students.  I won't lie.  This scene is nine kinds of fucked up.  The bad cops tie up the prof and decide to rape the women.  The women eventually fight back but then the professor goes nuts and kills the remaining students the bad cops didn't kill.  Why?  Excellent question.

Andy and Jenny meet up and Andy decides to become her protector.  They escape the building with the assistance of a elderly dude who fights zombies to the death wearing exo-skeleton legs like the ones Ripely wore in Aliens.  I'm not making this up.  Flash forward many months and the professor is now an underground warlord with much wealth and many slaves.  He bets provisions with other warlords on whether his slaves can survive a specific amount of time fighting zombies (think if George A. Romero remade Thunderdome).  Andy and Jenny are slaves but in the end, the professor is undone by one of his students who he made into a zombie pet of sorts, so they escape.  However, the escape comes at a price.

This movie reminded me of The Horde (a superior zombie flick from France) in that it's dark and gritty and isn't afraid to show the worst side of human nature.  On the downside, it's dark and gritty and shows the worst side of human nature.  The characters alternately speaking Chinese and English is odd and seems a bit silly.  Most odd of all, though, is that the "fight club" part is very short and at the end of the film.  You don't suppose the filmmakers put Fight Club in the title to capitalize on the popularity of the American movie?  Nah.

The Skinny

Acting:  The exact opposite of subtle.  Ham and cheese all the way.
Story:  In conflict with itself resulting in an unsatisfying and unbelievable plot. damn many characters and subplots.  I may have mentioned this.
Direction:  Might have worked if the myriad of characters and subplots could have been interwoven and made vital to the main plot.  As it is, you end up saying, "WTF is going on?" a lot.
Production Values:  I did like the overall look of the picture.  Grainy and dark with muted colors and scattershot camera work.  No idea what the budget was but I don't think it was too cheap.
Gore/FX:  Indeed.  Lots and lots.  Mostly CGI but plenty of the real (fake) stuff to satisfy a horror nerd's needs.
Scares:  No jump scares.  Plenty of other instances of awfulness, though.
Ending:  A little too Train to Busan for me.  Hardly unique and kind of maddening.
Verdict:  Should you see Zombie Fight Club?  Sure.  Why not?  If you ignore much of the plot silliness, you're treated to decent action and gore.  Zombie fans should eat it up.  So to speak.

Rating:  3 out of 5

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