Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Let's see, today we have 2005's HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2: ALL GUTS, NO GLORY, a sequel to a movie based on a video game (directed by Uwe Boll, don't forget) that premiered on the Sci-Fi Channel. Wow. The only way this film could've been any less appetizing would be if it featured kittens being skinned alive or David Spade. And you know what? It sucked even worse than I'd anticipated.

But at least I can say it wasn't disappointing, since right from its opening scene--where a group of numbnuts frat boys embark on a panty raid to justify enough gratuitous nudity for the DVD release--director Mike Hurst makes it abundantly clear this film is intended to be nothing but brain-dead filler programming. Even the film's premise hardly bothers to set up half a story: scientist Sid Haig--in a performance so blase he probably slipped a kid ten bucks to phone it in for him--accidentally unleashes a zombie plague on a university campus; 29 days later (the closest the film ever comes to creativity) the place is swarming with the living dead, or "hyper-sapiens" as the film calls them, and it's up to a crack team of soldiers (actually, the squad from ALIENS would've had them for breakfast--did these punks go through basic with the cast of STORM OF THE DEAD?) and zombie-killing scientists to infiltrate the campus and get rid of the zombies.

Even with a screenplay that feels like it was bashed out on a slow afternoon it would've been possible to make a decent flick, but Hurst and company simply don't give a shit. The plot moves slower than the zombies, with direction so inert you'll be yearning for the original film's 360-degree turntable abuse, and painfully unsuccessful stabs at humor (which isn't nearly as insulting as its attempts to reference Abu Gharib with photos of soldiers with dead girls). The characters are bland and one-dimensional, with thin performances--though to be fair, if I were an actor on this film, I'd do as little as possible, too. Photogenic but generic leads Ed Quinn and Emmanuelle Vaugier (as the requisite action babe, though frankly she's better in the babe department than the action) could probably do better with stronger material, and rapper Sticky Fingaz is certainly not the same actor here as he's been on THE SHIELD. But the gold star for laughable acting goes to James Parks, son of famed character actor Michael Parks, who mutters through his role like the poor man's--hell, the homeless man's--Michael Rooker.

When a movie's idea of characterization is having them converse with the brains of zombies cooling on their faces, you know you're stuck in bad movie hell, but with a movie as atrocious as pedigree as this one complaining's almost not allowed; you were expecting GUNGA DIN, maybe? Still, there's fun-bad movies and there are just-bad movies--I've been known to kick back with a copy of TROLL 2 now and then, but are there people who really find this a viable entertainment option of any kind?

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