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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Return of the Living Dead:Necropolis (2005) Horror Zombies

Return of the Living Dead:Necropolis (2005) - The Hybra Tech television ad tells of the great work the company is doing in all sorts of fields from medicine to snack foods to zombie outbreak clean up setting the stage for the story. Uncle Charles (Peter Coyote) is in Russia to get the last remaining barrels of Zombies in Trioxin 5 we see right away the effects of the toxin when one of the Russians gets some on his hand and is turned into a brain eating zombie.
Cut to a car getting in an accident on a rainy night and the occupants being dead. You know this because when the lightening flashes there is skeleton face on there faces. The only purpose of the scene is to establish the main character, Julian (John Keefe) and his little brother Jake (Alexandru Geoana) who remarkably live with Uncle Charlie. The next bunch of scene are to establish Julian as a bit of a wimp. He is definitely the sulky second string. His friend /rival Zeke (Elvin Dandel)is the tough guy who just broke up with Julian's good friend Katie (Jana Kramer) the hot brunette. Not being a player you know Julian will never tap that and he says as much when Zeke notices them spending too much time together. "we're just friend Zeke." grrrrrr... grow some already. The musical piece of some of the gang riding dirt bikes is a reel filler and frustrating to watch, FF your way through to the ramp part. Here it is re enforced that Julian is a chicken when he bails on doing a ramp jump. Showing off Zeke goes for jump too which really is the turn in the story when he is knocked out in a spill and is taken to Community Hospital.
Things pick up here, they establish Uncle Charles as the mad scientist using his ill gotten trioxin to reanimate the dead while working at Hybra Tech. Then Julian is told at the hospital that Zeke has died. When he calls Katie, at work in security at Hybra Tech, to share the bad news she is confused since she just saw Zeke rolled in on the security cameras.
There is a fun scene thrown in for a later need, of two bums, Crusty and Joey cooking a rat below the Hybra Tech building, remarkably right next to a used trioxin pipe that director Ellory Elkayem made sure we saw the special marks on. Elkayem has some talent and the film looks good, but you have to follow the script too and this one is sub par. I sort of wish he wrote this because of the nice job he did on "Eight Legged Freaks". Of course the pipe is leaking next to where Joey laid down to nap, as well as on the cooking rat. This movie although not the greatest did take the time to establish what rules it had. The rat coming back to life and biting Crusty, showed us even dead burned flesh could be reanimated. When Joey then turns from the gas from living to living dead and finishes off old Crusty we see another way to be infected.
The teens get together and decide they have to break out Zeke before something bad happens to him. Cody(Cory Hardrict) the computer hacker gets in and sees that Zeke is indeed listed under the human experimentation section of the company's website. We all know that when you are a multinational evil zombie making company who steal patients for human experimentation that it is important to keep good records. We see the others getting ready for the raid, making IDs, getting weapons, ropes, tasers, lights walkie talkies etc. Again the movie is well thought out, every item in the musical getting ready montage is used by the end of the film. In fact every piece except maybe the nun chucks is essential for the break in and escape. Still this was very foolish watching the Scooby gang get ready like it was a Stalone movie. The gang consists of Katie on the inside handling the security cameras, Mimi (Diana Munteanu) the gymnast who is going to use her exceptional body to occupy the other Hybra Tech guard, Becky(Aimee-Lynn Chadwick) the cute sidekick, Carlos (Toma Danila) the bad ass who was the only smart one in the group and brought a gun, Julian and his little brother Jake. The home made flame thrower was established earlier too and Jake carries that.
We get another long musical interlude as the group rides under the Hybra Tech building to get inside after first being attacked by the two zombie bums.
They sneak in and are eventually confronted by Uncle Charles who then takes them to Zeke. Of course they pass a whole lot of zombies in cells and behind gated rooms. They get Zeke out and then stumble upon a lab where zombie clones are being grown. Shooting the electronic lock is the last thing Carlos should have done. Katie hustling in the security room to shut the alarm off before the outside authorities hear it and come to arrest them all she accidentally lets all the zombies out. While this is going on Julian learns from Uncle Charles that his parents were brought here when they were in the accident. Julian must go to the North building to see them, it has been 5 years so they must be recovered from their injuries by now... or they are Zombies!
The zombies of the earlier ROTLD films but a slower more George Romero type. Even that though is not accurate enough although slower zombies when sprayed with bullets in the chest area they are stoppable. A single shot to the head also gets them good. They also for purposes of the story maybe are satisfied with head biting but not actually feeding on the brain of the victim. Instead they bite and then go after the next person. Wikipedia in talking about this different Zombie suggests that the original trioxin 245 from the early film was a more potent form of the chemical and that this newer chemical is not the good stuff. So like in the past films a zombie every now and again talks, but they are slower. They begin to reek havoc on the security guards in the building and the working scientists. Our group now split with a few going to find Julian's parent and a few trying to get Zeke out of the building must fight their ways through the zombies. Zeke with Becky and Jake is bitten and starts turning, Katie, Mimi and the other guard Hector head out but only Katie avoids the onslaught. How the zombies end up on every floor is unexplained and this seems odd since everything is well plotted in this film.
When Julian finds his parents as weaponized zombies he knows the long trip to this floor has been for nothing, but really not for nothing because now Uncle Charles can send his parents after him. While Becky and Jake try to fend off the turned Zeke, Julian and Cody repel down the building from the roof and all are rescued in a pinch by Katie in her rocking Humvee. Still there is the Mom and Dad Zombies to deal with and the final showdown between the toasty Zeke and Julian working out their feelings about Katie. When all that is done the SWAT team finally arrives to mow down the remaining zombies who amazingly all stayed together when they came out of the building and are now easy to shoot.
The final scene sets up a possible sequel as if this franchise needs more of this. This is a really pg-13 version and so well plotted by William Butler and Aaron Strongoni that it felt robotic. The musical fillers were way to long and too many and the zombie attacks not brutal enough. The comedy was weak to nonexistent and the logic flawed.
Rating (4.1) 5.0 and up are recommended, In the Zombiegrrlz rating system I would say Skip it.

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