Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
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.
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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.  
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