Outpost & The Dead

Posted: 03/04/2012 in Movies
Tags: , , ,

Outpost

Right off the bat, Outpost has one thing going for it. It stars Ray Stevenson. If you don’t know, Ray portrayed Frank Castle in the only adaptation of the Punisher to not completely suck. (Check out Punisher: War Zone. It’s awesome and underrated) Let’s see what he can do with a good ole standby: Nazi zombies.

In Outpost, Stevenson leads what must be the most diverse team of mercenaries ever assembled. Seriously, it’s pretty much the United Nations of killers for hire. We had to turn on the subtitles to make sense of all their wacky accents. Anyway, they’re hired by some dude for a mysterious and presumably easy mission to extract some “minerals” from an old military bunker. Of course, there’s more to the story than that and they quickly discover that the bunker is of the Nazi variety, contains some dead bodies that still move around some, and they are fired upon by an unseen force surrounding them.

Their guide informs them that the Nazis had been experimenting on their own soldiers in this bunker, attempting to create unstoppable super soldiers. Turns out they succeeded, but not the Captain America, good kind of succeeding. The soldiers were invincible and could vanish at will, but they were also singularly focused on killing and now they appeared to be just hanging around annihilating anyone stupid enough to play in their bunker.

THE GOOD: I liked the vibe in this movie. It reminded me of Predator: a ragtag group of mercenaries fight a mysterious force and get picked off one-by-one. The acting was all pretty good and I think I mentioned that I like Ray Stevenson.

THE BAD: I enjoyed this movie more as a supernatural action movie than as a zombie movie. I suppose it could be argued that the Nazis here aren’t zombies, but they essentially operate similar to the zombie Nazis in Dead Snow, and nobody accuses them of not being zombies. The issue is more about “feel” and Outpost just didn’t have the zombie feel that I crave once a month.

THE ZOMBIES: Nazi zombies never seem to be straight-up zombies. I guess because they’re always part of an evil plot and used for a specific purpose. (Even with all their evil experimenting the Nazis rarely are the cause of a large scale apocalypse, go figure.) The zombies in Outpost are menacing looking with helmets shading out most of their evil faces. They have the power to vanish or appear out of nowhere, which comes in handy when you want to creep a guy out by letting him see your boots when he looks under a table, but then disappearing when he stands up (Nazi zombies are notorious pranksters). It could be debated that these guys are not zombies, but the archival footage in the bunker shows them all getting shot dead, but then getting back up, so that’s evidence enough for me.

THE VERDICT: Outpost is a better movie than it is a zombie movie, if that makes any sense. If I compared it to, say, Blood Creek, I’d say Creek is a better zombie movie, but Outpost is a better movie. I’ll go ahead and say that it’s worth checking out either way.

Current ZMN Rank: #28 out of 72

The Dead

I had been looking forward to seeing The Dead for quite some time and was excited to see it finally come available on DVD in the U.S. Unfortunately, it really fell short for me and was pretty disappointing.

The zombie apocalypse has hit Africa and struggling to survive are an American engineer and an African soldier. The engineer is looking to get the hell out of dodge, while the soldier is searching for his son who he believes to have traveled to a military shelter. The pair are your classic odd couple….except that they pretty much get along fine. Despite a very brief disagreement as to whether they should use their canteen water to cool down an over-heating engine, there’s practically no friction in their relationship.

THE GOOD: The Dead started really well. The American’s plane crashes and the soldier’s village is decimated by the undead. Tension is built, zombies are ever-present, and it seems like there’s going to be some good emotional punch as our heroes attempt to get back to their families. But then, for a long time……nothing happens….

THE BAD: And nothing happens some more. And I start to fall asleep. There was just not enough interesting stuff to keep this one moving. I’m not saying that there has to be zombie killing every minute, but the down time should be filled with some character development and drama. The Dead really missed out and could have been much better. Also, the American didn’t speak much for about the first 30 minutes of the movie, which turned out to be a good move, because when he opened his mouth, his dialogue delivery was…interesting (read: not good).

THE ZOMBIES: The zombies were the film’s number one strength by a mile. These guys were super, super slow, but that almost made them more menacing. They were always on the horizon, slowly approaching and growing in number. It was a great effect and it worked really well. They also looked great. They had creepy white irises which was a nice touch.

THE VERDICT: The Dead had the potential to be one of the greats. Instead pacing and a lack of character development and conflict just dragged it down to the depths of mediocre undead fare. It’s really unfortunate too, because the zombies on display here were really great.

Current ZMN Rank: #46 out of 72

Zombie Movie Night Standings: ZMN PDF

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