Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis (2005)

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*. Is this even part of the Return of the Living Dead series? It was originally titled Return of the Living Dead 4: Necropolis but they dropped the number because really it had nothing much to do with the previous instalments aside from the barrels of Trioxin (which are introduced at the beginning but don’t play much of a role).
*. It starts off well. I like the idea of finding a few barrels of the Trioxin hidden away at Chernobyl. That’s a spooky place. But then . . .
*. This movie is a complete piece of shit.
*. I’ve said this before about previous instalments but I’ll say it again: you can’t just chomp through a skull. Your teeth aren’t big enough or strong enough.

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*. These aren’t canonical zombies, for this series or for zombie filmdom in general. For starters, you can apparently take them down with body shots. I think mainly because the effects are cheaper to do with squibs under clothes than having to show exploding heads. Some zombies move slowly and others quickly. I’ll accept that the one group member who turns (his name is Zeke, naturally) can still move well because he’s just died and so rigor mortis hasn’t set in, but it doesn’t make sense that he can still fight, talk, and not act like he’s hungry for brains at all.
*. There’s a bigger problem. As the fourth in a series, the plot takes as a given the earlier zombie outbreaks. They’re mentioned in the opening newscast. But shouldn’t the zombie basics then be common knowledge? Once Zeke gets bitten in the neck and starts acting funny, shouldn’t his friends know what he’s about to turn? Or that you need to shoot zombies in the head to kill them? Admittedly this final point is inconsistently applied, but it’s vital information for the encounter with the two homeless men who have turned into zombies.

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*. Does Peter Coyote look uncomfortable in this movie or what? It’s like he’s not even sure what he’s doing here.
*. It’s not a funny movie. And what makes this worse is the fact that it does occasionally try for laughs.
*. No good kills or gore scenes. Pretty disappointing for a twenty-first century zombie film, even with this limited a budget.
*. As in Return of the Living Dead III, I was left confused as to what military use the zombies, even pimped-out with lethal hardware, would be. The question is raised, but dismissed with contempt by Coyote: “Ain’t it obvious? World domination! What else is everything ultimately for?” Whatever.
*. If only they had let this “franchise” die a natural death. But no . . .

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