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It’s Brad – one, zombies – zero

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Jaap Buitendijk

LOOKING FOR ANSWERS: Gerry Lane (Pitt) fights to survive in an infected world in World War Z.

WORLD WAR Z

DIRECTOR: Marc Forster

CAST: Brad Pitt, David Morse, Mireille Enos, Fana Mokoena, Daniella Kertesz, Ludi Boeken

CLASSIFICATION: 13V

RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes

RATING: ***

THE film World War Z is Resident Evil, only it has Brad Pitt instead of Milla Jovovich in the lead. Luckily it has Pitt though, because he at least gives the film a core to work around.

So, even when the swarming zombies threaten to overtake the uneven pacing of what starts off as a rather bloodless action movie, which then rambles through a science lesson and ends with a whimper, we can still wallow in Pitt heaven.

He plays Gerry Lane, a former UN investigator who must figure out why the world is suddenly overrun by zombies.

Unlike the book source material, the film concentrates on one narrative, giving us Lane’s experience and it concentrates on the beginning of the problem rather than the aftermath.

But while the book was a comment on American isolationism and government ineptitude, the film has Lane at the centre, travelling the world for an answer, all in the name of protecting his family.

Lane travels a “world” peopled by American troops and interests, where only the Americans can save the day.

Still, there are some hints of underlying global political shenanigans getting tossed out during rewrites.

Lane flits around from America to South Korea, Jerusalem and then on to the UK, all in the name of figuring out how zombies originated, but always having to fight his way out.

Because the undead rise again. It’s what they do.

Then, just when you think Lane has figured it out, the budget runs out and instead of millions of zombies we get just a room full of them, and the storyline limps to an undramatic and corny last scene.

The script went through several drafts and there were extensive reshoots, which makes for a disjointed product. In some ways there’s a hint of Children of Men in the post-apocalyptic malaise experienced by the survivors Lane interviews, who question what they are trying to survive for.

But, then he’s always having to fight off really fast hordes of zombies – and look good when he does it, which makes for more action movie warrior hero moves.

The copious amount of fast-moving zombies hunting the living and leaving them no space to run, creates a thrilling blockbuster ride. It’s Resident Evil, but also every other zombie action movie.

Pitt’s character is the only one who gets to be fleshed out, motivated as he is by saving his family and trying to unpack how it all started, while everyone else simply serves to further his story.

The poster really does encapsulate the movie very well – Brad Pitt vs the zombie world.

If you liked Resident Evil you will like this.

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