Twitter Plot Summary: Dean Cain’s bitten by a scorpion and becomes a half-zombie. He goes looking for the rest of his unit and the people responsible, blah blah.
Director: Patrick Dinhut
Key Cast: Dean Cain, Susan Ward, John Billingsley, Colleen Camp, Armin Shimerman
Five Point Summary:
1. People sometimes ask “What happened to Dean Cain?” This is the answer.
2. So the zombies are created by scorpion bites? Okay, I can go along with that.
3. Did they really need to do a black stereotype in this day and age?
4. Star Trek alumni! That means it’s worth watching!
5. Susan Ward. Can’t act.
The main review below was originally posted on www.randomstoat.com on 01 August 2010.
I went into this film with absolutely no idea what to expect. Quite literally, I didn’t read about the synopsis, the list of actors, the year the film was made, etc etc. I think sometimes going into a movie completely blank can help you enjoy it, although thanks to the rise of broadband and the information overload we are all subjected to these days, it’s becoming harder and harder to avoid spoilers and the various other aspects of the film that may ruin your enjoyment of it when you finally get to the cinema, which might explain why Cloverfield was such an enjoyable film. But I digress.
The only thing I knew for certain about this film is that it has zombies. That’s it. Now the average zombie movie fan will know that you’ve got a 50/50 chance of a zombie movie being absolutely terrible. It could go either way. This one thankfully falls on the good side of the fence, but if they’d gone down a slightly different route it could have been abysmal.
The film opens with a small army unit advancing on a small hut in Cambodia or somewhere along those lines. There’s some strange science stuff going on and, after a brief zombie attack, the hut explodes. Then, the intro sequence. And after that, I finally noticed the lead character was a bleached blonde Dean Cain of Lois and Clark fame. I’d seen his name in the credits but I didn’t twig that it was Superman himself until nearly 10 minutes into the film. I blame his hair colour. Because I wasn’t paying too much attention when the characters were introduced, I have no idea what their names are, so I’ll just go with Dean Cain, Susan Ward and Token Comedy Sidekick.
He wakes up on a mortuary slab, having died in the opening explosion. Turns out he’s a zombie but has retained his personality (his skin gets gradually more pallid as the movie goes on, a nice touch). After a brief discussion with the doctor, Dean Cain experiences pain in his arm and cuts some live scorpions from inside him. It later transpires that the scorpions are infected with something whereby they attack your brain and infect you, turning you into a mindless automaton. The self-inflicted wound soon heals, meaning Mr Dean Cain is in essence an unkillable superman.
He soon realises that at least one of his former soldier buddies is in another part of the base, infected with the same zombifying scorpions. The soldier escapes before Dean Cain can get there, and makes its way into the kitchen, where we meet Token Comedy Sidekick. After a brief scuffle in which the Doctor and Psychiatrist are bitten, turned and subsequently killed, Dean Cain and Token Comedy Sidekick are arrested for their murder, but not before a brief demonstration of Dean Cain’s new desire to eat raw flesh. As the hunger pains take hold, he finds some beef and chews on that, much to the disgust of Token Comedy Sidekick. After their arrest, and in true A-Team style, they promptly escape and make their way out into the world in chase of the zombie soldiers.
As a Star Trek fan I enjoyed the (too) brief appearances of Armin Shimerman (Quark in Deep Space 9) and John Billingsley (Phlox in Enterprise). Unfortunately they’re only in the film for the first 15 minutes, and events take a proper turn for the silly shortly after their final appearances. But I guess it’s still a pay cheque for them at the end if the day.
It’s about halfway through that the main villain rears his ugly head. Surprisingly it’s the actor who played the bad guy in The Mask. I don’t think I’ve seen him in anything else since then, so obviously it came as quite a surprise when I recognised him. Unfortunately as villains go he’s not very good, sticking to traditional pantomime villainy – his plan is to use the zombifying scorpions to gain everlasting life. Bit pants, quite frankly. The whole ‘zombie soldiers’ thing had a lot of potential in the first half of the movie, but it devolves into a standard tale of revenge and Dean Cain trying to make sure he doesn’t accidentally eat Susan Ward or Token Comedy Sidekick.
Which brings me onto another point. If there’s one thing the film doesn’t need it’s a comedy sidekick, a sidekick who gets progressively more irritating as the film goes on. There’s a sequence shortly after they have fought off the remaining zombie soldiers in a bar, where our plucky trio have to escape from the police and break into a fancy dress shop for a new set of clothes. Cue the obligatory scene of Susan Ward getting changed next to a mirror (no nudity here folks, just FYI). So, bearing in mind that we have a wise-cracking black guy as the sidekick, and this is a zombie film, what do you think he’s going to end up wearing? You might have guessed it – he wears a bright red Michael Jackson ‘Thriller’ coat. Yeah, most amusing.
Ultimately there’s a showdown in the bad guys base, where zombies run rampant and Token Comedy Sidekick gets eaten by a crowd of zombies. Except he doesn’t, because Dean Cain and Susan Ward find him hiding in a cupboard. Bit of a strange one, that. The movie ends with good winning over evil and with Susan Ward planning a session of necrophilia with Dean Cain. I’m sure by this stage he’d be cold to the touch, all things considered she’d be better off going with Token Comedy Sidekick. Except that the comedy sidekick never gets the lady, he just sits and watches from the sidelines (hopefully not literally).
As zombie movies go this isn’t too bad, but with a few tweaks to the script, focusing on the army base narrative perhaps and less of the daft humour, then this might have been an essential zombie film. As it stands, a pleasant lack of CGI aside, it’s only going to appeal to the hardcore zombie fan. This is more Return of the Living Dead than Night of the Living Dead, so keep this in mind if you plan on watching this.
Favourite scene: Armin Shimerman explaining to Dean Cain that he’s dead.
Quote: “Dead or alive, men are all the same.”
Silly Moment: It’s full of them, but Token Comedy Sidekick dressing up a bit like Michael Jackson wins it.