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PHOTOGRAPHY

LAND OF THE DEAD Unrated Director's Cut

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 97 minutes, audio commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes, montage featurettes

STUDIO: Universal/ Atmosphere Entertainment MM

RELEASE DATE: 10-18-2005

"Zombies, man. They creep me out."-  Kaufman

George A. Romero is the godfather of zombie movies. Resident Evil and Shaun of the Dead wouldn't be around if it wasn't for movies that George directed like THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, DAWN OF THE DEAD, and DAY OF THE DEAD. Now he is back for one more movie with the zombies in LAND OF THE DEAD (formerly known as Daed Reckoning).

LAND OF THE DEAD happens in the near future when zombies have overrun the world and few people are walled up in a city where classes are divide into two sections. The rich live in a secure tower called Fiddler's Green. Riley (Simon Baker), head of a scavenger team who go out to get supplies from zombie infested towns and cities, wants to get out of the city and drive away in a car. His second-in-command, Cholo (John Leguizamo), wants to live in Fiddler's Green. Mr. Kaufman (Dennis Hopper) rules the city and controls Fiddler's Green. Mr. K says Cholo isn't good enough to live there and tries to have him killed. Cholo takes some of the scavenger team with him and steal Dead Reckoning, an armored vehicle armed with rockets and machine guns. Mr. K refuses to pay the $5 million Cholo wants to not destroy Fiddler's Green. Instead he tells Riley, Charlie (Robert Joy)- Riley's savant friend), and Slack (Asia Argento) to get Dead Reckoning back from Cholo. However, Riley has plans of his own. If that's not enough, an army of zombies (aka the living dead) are advancing on the city lead by a smarter than usual zombie.

LAND OF THE DEAD works most effectively as a zombie action film that matches up to RESIDENT EVIL. The little message Romero are there, but they aren't effective as the action and carnage spread out through the film. LAND OF THE DEAD is supposed to be Romero's take on the George W. Bush administration and class division in America. I loved the cast George put together for this film. Dennis Hopper chews scenery while Asia Argento likes playing tough girl. Simon Baker holds his own as Riley who just wants to go north to Canada and get away from the zombies. I definitely would like to see Asia and Simon work together again. LAND OF THE DEAD is a very effective action film that is a good way to pass the next ninety minutes.

"What's Your Story, Riley?"- Slack

"I don't have one, nothing bad ever happened to me." -Riley

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

Sharp transfer. Muted colors to fit the atmosphere of the movie. It fits the cloudy and dark look of the film. 9 (of 10)

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 5.1 DTS

Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

Dialogue is clear and sharp. Music is strong and sound effects aren't bad either. 9 (of 10)

SPECIAL FEATURES:

UNDEADAGAIN: THE MAKING OF LAND OF THE DEAD is basically a promo piece with interviews and behind-the-scenes foootage. A DAY WITH THE LIVING DEAD is a better look at the making of the film as John Leguizamo gives a light-hearted tour. BRINGING THE DEAD TO LIFE is a good look at the zombie make-up and zombie effects that Greg Nicotero did for LAND OF THE DEAD. Three minutes of various deleted scenes are included that fill in some little pieces that aren't needed due to the way the final film was cut together. No finished sound effects for the deleted scenes. WHEN SHAUN MET GEORGE is a 13 minute featurette(the only one in Anamorphic Widescreen while every other extra is Full Screen or Full Screen letterboxed) on the writers of Shaun of the Dead (Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright) meeting George Romero and filming their cameos as zombies.

ZOMBIE EFFECTS: FROM GREEN SCREEN TO FINISHED SCENE shows how much CGI effects were used in this movie. BRINGING THE STORYBOARDS TO LIFE compares the storyboards to the finished scenes. I wish that featurettes was multi-angled. SCREAM TESTS: ZOMBIE CASTING CALL is basically a gag reel of CGI zombies dancing while SCENES OF CARNAGE is a music video montage of gore scenes.

Finally, the audio commentary with director George A. Romero and editor Michael Doherty gives loads of production info on LAND OF THE DEAD and what was cut from the theatrical cut. The commentary is the best extra on the production of LAND OF THE DEAD period.

FINAL ANALYSIS: LAND OF THE DEAD is a great zombie action film that shows George still has it when making a zombie movie. A few great extras are on this DVD. If you love zombie films, buy the DVD and not just rent it.

this DVD Review is (c)10-23-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com  No zombies were harmed or people were bitten during the writing of this review.