George Romero's Land of the Dead (2005) is another one of those movies that I wasn't that impressed with while I was watching it but that I decided I liked better the longer I thought about it. It's set some time well after the zombie apocalypse and, quite frankly, the zombies are winning. Some enterprising humans have fortified a small city pretty well; it's bounded on three sides by rivers, with the bridges and four side well barricaded. In addition, the 1%ers have taken over the luxury high rises, making them the ultimate gated community called "Fiddlers Green," where they live as though the ZA never happened. Outside the Green, however, on the streets of this city, the rest of the population lives in poverty, kept complacent by the booze, drugs, gambling and other assorted sins thoughtfully provided by the richest guy in the Green, Dennis Hopper. Hopper sends crews of guys out of the city, to the small towns that are overrun with zombies but not picked clean by humans, to bring back medicine, food, booze, etc.
These crews, led by Simon Baker and John Leguizamo, are savvy and well-armed, and they've got a secret weapon against the zombies - a massively armored truck called "Dead Reckoning." They shoot off fireworks which distracts the zombies so the humans can do their raiding. It's a pretty solid system, until they hit one town where, horror of horrors, the zombies seem to be evolving. They're holding onto vestiges of their former lives - musical instruments, tools - and one of them, a huge guy wearing mechanics coveralls with the name tag "Big Daddy," is even more advanced than the rest. He starts communicating with the other walking dead and leads them towards Fiddlers Green. It used to be that the worst thing about zombies was how relentless they are. With them using tools and figuring things out, hope for humanity's survival is getting dimmer.
I've watched a lot of Walking Dead since my last zombie movie and, as such, I've gotten used to zombie violence. LotD is a little bit gorier/gooier than WD but not by much, so I didn't find it that scary. Big Daddy is all kinds of awesome, though, and not something you want leading a charge against you. Land of the Dead is a solid zombie flick and although I put it fourth out of Romero's four best, after Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, it's a damn sight better than a lot of the other genre entries out there.
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