Monday, March 31, 2008


Opening with a none-too-convincing digital effects shot, RAIDERS OF THE DAMNED reveals its threadbare nature within its first few frames, an unintentional warning that the subsequent film is nothing more than a badly made popcorn flick. In fact, this 2005 release from director Milko Davis is so bad I could hear the derisive snickering of Sci-Fi Channel original movies faintly in the background.

In the midst of a planet-wide biochemical war between humans and zombies (zombies that not only talk, but show absolutely no signs of being walking corpses, save for some badly caked-on makeup), a helicopter carrying scientists--who're working on an anti-zombie formula that'd bring an end to the conflict--crashes into zombie territory. It's up to a crack special-ops team to infiltrate Zombieland (which would be the most awesomest theme park ever but, alas, is just where the enemy's located) and bring 'em back alive.

More of a sci-fi-tinged action movie than outright horror--the only treat for fright fans are a few skeletal zombie warriors and a single gore scene involving a scooped-out eyeball--the zombie elements in RAIDERS OF THE DAMNED are simply wallpaper, a marketable twist on the war-movie villain. (Could this be a PC tactic to create a foreign enemy without offending another country or culture? Given Davis's unimaginative direction, which offers little in the way of skill let alone style, I may be reading too much into this.) Even as a combat/action pic, the movie's a failure, with its crack rescue unit composed of a blonde ponytailed "hero" complete with tragic past, the obligatory action babe, and some dude that looks more like a truck-stop fry cook than an ass-kicking soldier--but the sorriest among them is their leader Richard Greico as an effeminette, rainbow-shoelaced scientist channelling Brad Dourif and light years away from his days as a '90s heartthrob.

Way too dull for an action-oriented movie, RAIDERS is filled to the brim with terrible dialogue, cutrate effects, and ham-fisted performances; even the tastelessly gratuitous love scene between the zombified Col. Crow and his human prisoner fails to produce an unintended chuckle, much less a genuine response. This is one slice of brain-rotting swill that couldn't have ended fast enough.

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