Sunday, July 12, 2009

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Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane (2007)

Zombie movies have been in a kind of renaissance of late. Low/No budget filmmakers have been cranking out these undead puppies for many years, but it took Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later (2002) and Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead (2004) to give the genre a few swift kicks in the ass (a kick on one cheek for horror thrills, the other cheek for laughs) and inspired a new wave of zombie-geddon. Even George A. Romero, the Father of the Modern Zombie Film has made two new zombie films in the last four years.

But with so many zombie movies - with either the classic slow moving ghouls or New Coke-esque fast moving zombies - being made, what could you do that was new? The problem is similar to movies that are rip offs of the Die Hard formula (one guy, trapped someplace, against an army of bad guys). The original Die Hard took place in a skyscraper, so studio suits and filmmakers ran through every situation: Die Hard on a Bus (Speed), Die Hard on a Boat (Under Siege, Speed II), Die Hard on a Plane (Air Force One), Die Hard on a Mountain (Cliffhanger), Die Hard on a Plane (Passenger 57, Executive Decision, Con Air), Die Hard in a Prison/Island (The Rock), Die Hard on a Train (Under Siege 2), and Die Hard in a Mall (Paul Blart: Mall Cop) for starters. With that in mind, I can see the makers of Flight of the Living Dead going, "We can get a hold of a 747 airliner set. There's NEVER been a zombie movie set on a plane!"

So they cobbled together a bunch of nonsense about scientist types (DAMN THEM!) re-jiggering a mosquito's DNA that becomes a deadly virus which kills then reanimates a body's organs (good plan, a-holes). The best way to transport this is on a commercial passenger airliner (...yeah, right). I think they intended to make this a comedy, but someone forgot to bring the funny. The only intentional humor involved Kevin J. O'Connor (co-star of many of Stephen Sommers' movies like The Mummy and Van Helsing). People constantly screaming, "We're all going to die" isn't funny or dramatic, just annoying. At no point did anyone remark about the fact that they were DEALING WITH ZOMBIES. ON A PLANE!

With no humor, you think they'd bring on the gore. That's a negatory, good buddy. I lost count of how many times a zombie attacks a passenger by biting them on the shoulder. A couple times they had a decent gore effect, like skin tearing and chunks and stuff, but other times it looked like the zombies were just nuzzling the passengers' shoulders. LAME! There was one exploding head, but that's a case of too little, too late. A hallmark of Romero's Dead movies is the inventive ways to kill a zombie (or a person): a screwdriver in the ear, a helicopter blade slicing off the top of the head, a guy being torn apart by zombies. Here they just shoot them a lot. BO-RING!

I think too much of the budget was spent on the CGI models of the airplane and an Air Force jet fighter that shows up later (plus the constant stormy skies). There was unintentional humor when they showed closeups of the CGI airplane and ALL the windows are covered, even the COCKPIT!

To sum it all up: NO comedy. NO cool gore. NO thrills. NO cool actors or cameos (the fact the lead guy looks like Bruce Boxleitner's chubby older brother doesn't count). A few cute chicks but NO nudity. That's NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.

I recommend you take another flight.

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