Movie Review – Battle of the Damned (2014)

Battle of the Damned
Directed by Christopher Hatton
Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release Date: February 18, 2014

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What do you get when you combine robots, zombies, and ass-kicking? BATTLE OF THE DAMNED, a new action-thriller starring Dolph Lundgren. These three aspects are some of my favorite things to see in a movie, so when I heard this flick was a combo of them, I knew it was a must-see. And although it’s not an excellent flick, it’s still fun and worth checking out.

If you are not familiar with BATTLE OF THE DAMNED, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment:

When a deadly virus is accidentally released into a major city, its population is quarantined by military blockade. And for a wealthy industrialist desperate to rescue his daughter from inside the rabid chaos, his only hope is former commando Max Gatling (Dolph Lundgren). Now Gatling has one day to bust in, blast through hordes of the undead, find the girl, and hunt for a way to get them both out alive. But will a small band of survivors and an army of killer robots turn his mission into maximum slaughter? Matt Doran (The Matrix) and David Field (Chopper) co-star in this intense action shocker!

This film will add fuel to the fire in the debate between slow or fast zombies. These biters are fast and lethal, much like those in 28 DAYS LATER. But these ’zombies’ are actually infected people that now crave flesh. As such, the term ‘zombies’ might not actually apply. But regardless, people should run when they see them!

The cinematography in BATTLE OF THE DAMNED is ok, but it’s not great. There are several shaky action shots that will make you grit your teeth, but otherwise the camera angles are ok. Likewise, the production value looks pretty good overall as well. I believe this was filmed on location in Southeast Asia, so the credibility of the plot (as credible as it can be for a zombie flick) is certainly boosted by that aspect.

The action doesn’t disappoint. Lundgren, for being almost 60 years old, is still pretty physical, so the fight scenes are nothing at which to scoff. I will confess that he constantly looks like he’s in pain when he runs, though; maybe his action sequences should just involve fighting instead. But he can bash a zombie’s brains out like the best of them, so he works quite well for this film.

The special effects are pretty good, as well. Most of the zombies are only seen close-up in the fighting sequences, and even then we only get glimpses of them. This is a good thing, because there’s not much make-up used for the most part, it seems. This works well for the way the film is shot. The CG used for the robots is not bad, however there are a few scenes where you can definitely tell it’s animation. I suppose this is a result of budget constraints.

For as much as I enjoyed it, I do have a big complaint about BATTLE OF THE DAMNED. The killer robots seem to be thrown in as an afterthought. The movie really wouldn’t have been much different without them. They do help the concept, I suppose…but they really should have been introduced much earlier in the film.

Still, BATTLE OF THE DAMNED is a fun flick, and I recommend giving it a shot if you like Dolph Lundgren and/or low-budget action flicks. The film will be available next week, so make a note.

MSB

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