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The (living and cannibalistic) dead have overrun the earth, and they
seem to slowly remember what they have been before death and start showing
rudimentary intelligence, including the use of simple tools. But humans
(those of the living kind) have not died out altogether, they live in
cordoned off parts of the city, like tha one rich tycoon Kaufman (Dennis
Hopper) runs and try to pursue their consumer lifestyles as good as
they can. Mercenaries provide the food for them, by looting stores in the
land of the dead, and preferably killing deads by the dozen while at it.
One of these mercenaries (or looters if you may), Cholo (John
Leguizamo), also runs a few extra errands for Kaufman on the side, as he
hopes to make enough money to move into Kaufman's luxury building
Fiddler's Green, which is heavily advertised for on tv as the one and only
paradise in the land of the dead ... butz then he has to learn that
Kaufman's gratitude just won't go that far, and that Kaufman prefers to
get rid of of who he suddenly realizes to be a liability instead of
accepting him in his house.
Furiously, Cholo steals Dead Reckoning, the city's top armored
car that also includes a big arsenal and rocket throwers ... exactly the
vehicle Kaufman would need should he ever decide to make an escape (you
can't live among the dead indefinitely you know).
So Kaufman hires Riley (Simon Baker), an mercenary like Cholo, along
with his friends Charlie (Robert Joy) & Slack (Asia Argento) to
retrieve the vehicle ... especially since Cholo tries to blackmail
Kaufman. Riley is less than happy to work for Kaufman, but since Kaufman
is the only one who can get him & his friends out of jail, he has
Soon, Cholo & gang & Riley and friends meet outside the city to
fight it out, but the battle is cut short when zombies attack and bite
Cholo (their bite is infectous within one hour) ... So Cholo decides, in
the time that's left to him, to return to the city and avenge himself on
But the city as such is facing an even bigger problem, the zombies have
finally found a way to get into the city, and regard it as an
all-you-can-eat-buffet. Riley & friends and the rests of Cholo's gang
decide to return to the city to help ...
In the end, Cholo - now a zombie - gets his revenge on Kaufman, but
Riley & friends almost arrive too late, but are ultimately able to
blow away a buinch of people munching zombies to save a handful of (still
Then Riley, Charlie & Slack as well as the surviving (well, still
dead, actually) zombies leave town to look for a better place to stay.
In the early to mid-2000s, with films like 28
Days later, the Dawn of the Dead-remake, the Resident
Evil-films and Shaun
of the Dead, the zombie-genre seemed to have a long overdue (?)
revival, so it seemed only fitting that George A.Romero, the father of the
man-eating zombie would make another genre contribution after a
20-year-hiatus (since Day of the
Dead) ... and despite all fears that it would only be death
warmed up, The film is surprisingly good, shot in style of a good
old-fashioned b-movie, with elements of the gangster genre and satire
incorporated into the basic zombie plot, making this one easily the most
intelligent and inventive of the whole crop of then current zombie
The film itself is not without fail, it's neither as creepy as Romero's
own Night of the Living Dead,
nor is the satire as to-the-point as in his Dawn
of the Dead, and neither does Simon Baker convince as a hero nor
is there any narrative necessity for Asia Argento (but as always, she's
just gorgeous to look at), but on the other hand, the film is not
overburdened with flashy but pointless CGI-effects or fashionable but cold
camerawork, instead concentrates on telling a story that doesn't insult
the audience, witht he effects never given more room than they deserve ...
and it's easily Romero's best picture in the last 20 years (or more).