Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Battle Of The Damned (2013)

Writer-director Christopher Hatton is a man after my own heart, judging by this enjoyable slice of daft entertainment. He's a man who writes a script that involves not-quite-zombies aka infected and some weaponised robots. He then gets Dolph Lundgren for the main role. Job done, basically.

Battle Of The Damned isn't, as you may already have guessed, high art. It doesn't benefit from a big budget or a deluge of original ideas. However, it benefits from Lundgren as the lead character, named Max Gatling (yes, his surname is GATLING), and pacing that helps it to play out as a pleasant diversion, rather than a bit of a chore.

Gatling has made his way into a dangerous city, full of people afflicted by a deadly virus, because he is tasked with collecting a young woman named Jude (Melanie Zanetti). Jude's father wants her back home, safe. While fending off the not-quite-zombies who keep rushing around him, Gatling finds Jude and explains the situation to her. Unfortunately, that doesn't take into account what Jude wants. She's been surviving, thanks to her inclusion in a group of survivors led by Duke (David Field). She also has a boyfriend (Reese, played by Matt Doran). Are they all going to make their way out of the city together, or is she expected to leave the others behind? It soon becomes clear what Gatling would prefer, but the whole operation starts to look more and more impossible with every passing minute. And then the robots appear.

Making the most of some great locations in Malaysia, from what I can gather, Battle Of The Damned is a film that can't ever overcome its shortcomings, despite trying hard, but throws enough elements onscreen that some of them stick. Hatton makes up for the technical aspect of the movie by making sure that there are just enough fun and/or cheesy moments throughout for fans of this kind of schlocky fare to enjoy.

In case I didn't make it clear earlier, Lundgren is the best person onscreen (but, of course, he often is). Zanetti and Doran are a bit . . . . . . flat, so it's good to have the character played by Field, who is at least a bit more interesting. Jen Sung, Lydia Look and Oda Maria make up the rest of the gang, with each one having at least one majorly cliched moment apiece.

I've gone on for far too long when all you needed to know was in the first paragraph. Not-quite-zombies, weaponised robots, and Lundgren being as tough as usual. Judge it by any standard criteria and it will be deemed a failure. Judge it as disposable fun for undemanding action movie fans and it does the job.



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