You're an executive at one of these low
budget production houses and you hear pitches every day.
On this day, the man comes in your office and tells you he has
a zombie movie, but you've heard that before so you
yawn. He then tells you that he has Dolph Lundgren
attached, and while you think Dolph is plenty awesome, you
yawn again and reach for the button so your assistant to
escort this cat out of your office. But then he hits you
with clincher… crazed, zombie killing robots! Now he's
got you. Your job is in trouble because you passed on
Sharknado, so you greenlight this thing. But you called
it 'Battle of the Damned'. Wow, that's kind of tired
title for a zombie movie with murdering robots. And a
robot dog. I got nothing for you right now, but I'm
thinking you could've done better.
This time the plague was caused by some biotech company in
South East Asia doing unregulated tests on something, and it
got free, infecting the whole city. No problem, just
erect a big wall, keep everybody in, let nobody out, and we
got this thing contained.
The issue, however, is that an important looking White Dude
with graying temples has his baby girl Jude (Melanie Zanetti)
within these walls and he needs her out. To make this
happen he hires the team of mercenaries led by the Mega
Hardcore Major Max Gatling (Lundgren) who agrees to do this
relatively simple gig. Fly in, get the girl, fly out.
Unfortunately, as the team will tell us as they lie dying in
the streets, they were lied to! I'm not sure what lie
they were told, I mean everybody knows that this place is
pretty much zombie central, but the only one left is Major Max
and he is going to complete his mission.
Eventually Max tracks down Jude who is holed
up in some mansion with what appears to be last of the
uninfected in this city. Let's meet them shall we?
There's Duke (David Field), the megalomaniacal leader of this
crew, then there Chuck (Matt Doran) who is Jude's boyfriend,
we have Anna (Olda Maria) who we assume is the tramp, we have
Elvis (Jen Kuo Song) the samurai warrior and finally we have
Lynn (Lydia Look) who doesn't do much of anything, except jog
a lot. But she is very good at it.
The situation, as Max sees it, is a simple one. Grab the
girl, get out of town. But Duke is doing everything to
keep Max from finishing this simple task. Max tries to
tell this clown that they are going to napalm the city, but he
still ain't listening. In fact, this guy even tries to
kill Max. He would've succeeded too, that is if Max
wasn't such a supreme badass. I want to see you try to
take down a crazed horde of super fast zombies, handcuffed to
a light post, with nothing but your feet to defend
yourself. Think you could do that? I mean I pretty
sure I could, but could you?
Fortunately, with a little help from a benefactor, Max gets
free. And it only gets better because those crazy robots
we mentioned? They've arrived and they hate
zombies. Now it's on. And while you might think a
small squad of zombie killing robots, and a robot dog, would
turn the tide, there's just too many of them. And the
napalm is still coming.
Okay… Robots… Zombies… Dolph. That right there is an
inspired basis for some quality nonsense, and now it's up to
writer / director Christopher Hatton to bring this quality
nonsense home and not mess it up. Not messing it up is
not as easy as it would sound. First, you need to keep
the nonsense hurtling forward at a decent pace, which does
take some filmmaking skill. Another thing that helps is
keeping the story elements as simple as possible. True
enough, the addition of robots does add a level of complexity,
but we were thinking more along the lines of great
conspiracies which require words, which we don't want to
listen to, and character melodrama. Then you need
performances which don't distract. Make sure everybody
does what they are comfortable doing. Dolph Lundgren
might be my main man, but we don't want doing stuff like
emoting and soliloquying. That's not a word, by the way.
Guess what? For the most part, the director got most of
this right. The movie moves as zombie mayhem is always
just around the corner. Okay, they're not really
zombies, just a really hungry mob of Lollapalooza attendees,
but they are still deadly. The story is simple, zombies
want to eat you, you want to avoid getting eaten and maybe
make it out of town. There is some melodrama between
Jude and her boyfriend, but at least it is somewhat relevant
to the story so we aren't too upset with it. As far as
the performances go, Dolph does what Dolph does best, that is
being bigger than everyone and shooting stuff and kicking
stuff and talking really low. Actor David Fields
provided the requisite Shakespearean style overacting that we
really enjoyed watching actress Lydia Look who jogged, and
Melanie Zanetti was spunky.
Now we could ask questions which could blow holes in the story
as it is presented to us, but we're not going to do this on
this day. We're going to give the sense making aspects,
or lack thereof, a pass. Other than a seriously suspect
title, 'Battle of the Damned' was some quality nonsense that
we kind of enjoyed.