September 12, 2014

Blu-ray Review: The Dead 2 (2014)
When The Dead (our mini-review HERE), came along back in 2010, it felt like a bold new take on the Zombie film; using Africa as its setting was probably why it felt so fresh and different to us, but it was a welcomed entry into the usually familiar sub-genre, no matter what the reason.

When we heard that The Dead 2 was happening, we were ecstatic. When we heard that it would take place in India, we were even more ecstatic; India boasts a population of 1.2 Billion people, which is what, 1/7th of the World's Population?

Just think about that for a minute; a country that's less than half the size of The U.S. boasts a population that's more than four times its size... What a perfect and horrifying setting for Zombie Apocalypse. A movie like that could be epic.

Sadly for us (and you) The Dead 2 is little more than a poor story (and mostly poor acting) wrapped up in a layer of stunning visuals and perfect location.

Feel free to make of that what you will.

Nicholas is an American engineer who climbs windmills for a living, who is currently doing so in India. Ishani is the local Indian girl whom Nicholas loves, who we're pretty sure climbs his windmill, because she's knocked up. That's not a good thing for a daughter to be in India, knocked up, because they have things there like arranged marriages, and shame.

Father is not pleased.
When Zombie Apocalypse breaks out, the two lovers find themselves separated by 300 hundred miles, which of course is rapidly filling up with 1.2 Billion Zombies. Nicholas tells Ishani to stay put and that he's coming to rescue her, so that he can whisk her off to America, leaving her family behind to face certain doom on their own. Ah, romance.

Oh shit, girl, run!
Nicholas finds a cute little orphan kid on his journey, and brings him along for the ride, presumably so that he can sell him to locals should he find himself strapped for cash. They use cars, motorcycles, a fan-powered para-sail, and their own feet to travel the 300 miles through the desert-like region, all the while, fighting undead at every turn.

Yeah, I'd walk around.
Will Nicholas and Ishani be reunited? Will Ishani's father every grant Nicholas her hand in marriage? Will the ending leave us hanging, with no chance of us ever getting any sort of closure? We don't know about all of that, but suffice it to say that if they ever make The Dead 3, they need to set it in China; we'd really love to see someone try to escape 1.3 Billion Zombies on a rickshaw.

Hope he has some water in that backpack.
On the plus side of things, the locales featured in the movie were great, as India is a truly fascinating and unique country to behold. It's so massive and densely populated that it made the 300 mile trek that our characters had to make seem all the more hopeless.

The Zombies in this one were really creepy, and they gave us plenty of nail-biting moments to chew on; they felt like a real threat, and they seemed to be lurking everywhere. For some reason, we love the way that they made the zombie's eyes look.

There were a lot of great gore gags and scenes of violence in this one too, one of which made us say "wow, they went there." Visually, The Dead 2 was top notch.

Those eyes...
The Dead (2010) was no masterpiece or anything, but for a small film with a limited budget, it wowed us with how effective it was. Africa was a brilliant setting for Zombie Apocalypse, and it felt like nothing we'd ever seen before. It may have been "cheaper" and imperfect, but damn did it ever feel like a breath of fresh air.

The Dead 2, however, feels like more of the same, and is far less compelling. We can buy into the whole "going from location A to B" thing, as the point of most Zombie movies is for a character(s) to survive while heading somewhere, but that trope just felt forced here.

Maybe it was because we didn't buy into the love story between Nicholas and Ishani. Whether because of the script or the acting, it never felt like they were two lovers torn apart, desperately trying to reconnect in the midst of the end of times; it felt more like a bad soap opera that starred actors just going through the motions, if we're being honest.

These windmill turbines spin with more emotion than the love story in this movie has.
The acting in this one mostly ranged from decent to bad. The kid who played Javed was pretty good, and Joseph Millson was alright, although the script was so bad in places that many of his scenes felt overacted. Meenu Mishara, the girl who plays Ishani, was just downright bad; the scenes between she and her father made us cringe.

It could be a lost in translation sort of thing at work here, as it's never easy to have people act outside of their native language, but if that truly is the case, why didn't they just let the Indian actors speak their roles in their native tongue? That is always the best option in movies with a multi-cultural cast & storyline. We don't mind subtitles.

Nice earring, bro.
It bums us out a bit to admit that this sequel felt like little more than a retread of the first one. We expected a lot more here. This movie should have improved on the first one, expanded on it's ideas and themes, and maybe even gone in a different direction, but it honestly felt like the same exact plot and execution:

Zombie Apocalypse breaks out in ________, and a lone foreigner must fight through hordes of undead (and dilapidated vehicles that never seem to start on the first try, last very long, or work at all) to get to _______. Along the way, he meets a _______, and the two of them travel together in the hope that they can somehow survive long enough to reach _________, and be reunited with _________.

I'm really not trying to be an asshole here, but if you fill in the blanks with the appropriate words, you have the plot of both Dead movies.

Sure the characters and their situations are different, but it's basically "two people move from A to B." Maybe we're being unduly harsh here, but it just felt like the same exact movie to us, and to be honest, it wasn't as good as the first one.

Grab the parachute, he's escaping!
There's plenty of Zombie gut munching, and people dispatching of Zombies is messy ways, throughout this one. There's even one scene where our hero has to do something that kinda shocked us, because it was so stark and morally messed up. So overall, The Dead 2 is a win in the blood & gore department.

Yeah, that's the one.
Don't ever knock up a girl in India, because her father will hate you. Also, slow-moving Zombies are the best.

They may be slow, but don't stand there for too long.
As sad as we are to say it, The Dead 2 was not the sequel we were hoping for; it plays almost exactly like The Dead did, and we were really hoping that the Ford Brothers would expand on the ideas they laid down in the first one, and make this sequel better and more grand. Unfortunately, they did not.

It's still a fun watch though, so if you're in the mood for a different kind of Zombie flick, you could do worse than to give this one a rent.


The Dead 2 is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.

Since there are basically no hot chicks in The Dead 2, let us instead reflect on the many scenes of speedy driving and escape found throughout this one... Honestly, there were so many scenes of high-speed fleeing in this movie, that we wondered if it was a test reel for Fast & Furious: Indian Drift

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