Zombies? Vs Robots? Some movies are so wacky in concept that they just plain work. Battle of the Damned (2013) is so wacky in it’s concept that it’s just plain shit. This was kind of obvious from the minute the trailer appeared, but if I’m honest I was kind of holding out for a ‘so bad it’s good’ deal, where the movie could fill out 90 minutes of tongue in cheek humor. But even for that, I can’t in good conscience recommend this movie. I can’t recommend it at all, unless you want to subject someone to a bout of afternoon agony. It really is on another level of cheap, redundant vomit. It’s a horror show alright, a torture show even, but not for the reasons intended. And they say the best torture makes time drag on. Battle of the Damned is confirmation of this, it’s the longest 85 minutes I’ve experienced in some time.
After a zombie apocalypse, some areas are cleared but others are still overrun ‘no go areas’. Dolph Lundgren, mercenary, is sent into an infected area to retrieve the daughter of a very rich man indeed. Now for some unexplained reason, or at least I missed the reason while I was writhing in boredom, also taking on the zombies are Japanese humanoid robots. I’m willing to bet I didn’t miss shit in that regard, if you think you’re struggling to care, don’t worry, the director cares even less. Lundgren meanwhile has bother convincing the angst-ridden teen to leave the oddball associates she has hooked up with. It’s from here that we settle into the ‘plot’, which is a line of pointless back and forth between people who have found safety from zombies. Think The Walking Dead, where melodrama is played out in a zombie apocalypse where there are no zombies. Only worse. Much, much, much worse. This makes up the middle of the movie and if you’ve made it this far, this is where you will turn it off.
The premise and uh, selling point of this movie is zombies, versus robots! Let’s deal with the zombies first, they look like just what they are – a bunch of bored extras from Singaporean locality, poorly directed and occasionally told to run and fall over. And since when did slitting a zombies throat do shit? Or choking it out? When expedient to a director who just can’t be bothered to sit down and co-ordinate a good or even mediocre action sequence, that’s when. Come on, man. Then there are the robots. They appear in two forms, some of the worst CGI animation seen this side of Westworld (yeah, 1973), and secondly, static props. Props that look like they cost 13 bucks, made of warped fibreglass with two flathead screws drilled in. Look, I get that this isn’t funded like World War Z, but if you can’t afford it, leave it out. Get creative – this was the rule of real exploitation artists like Miller and Romero. There’s another problem of gunfights with fake reports and muzzle flashes. Nobody in this movie fires a real shot (or blank). The sounds are canned gunfire noise and the flashes are cheap youtube fan movie-level CGI. Obviously, this means the actors must jerk and simulate ‘recoil’ that isn’t taking place, and by that point things have long surpassed unintentional humor.
The final insult is the ‘twist’, something that looks like it was inserted literally at the final hour of shooting (which should show just how badly written it is) when the people who made this realised just how badly they were insulting viewers. Most won’t watch ’till that point anyway.
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