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Yojimbo's Movie Reviews (2314)

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Dawn of the Dead (2004) 
"Dawn Of The Dead" by Yojimbo
3/4 stars

A group of survivors of a zombie holocaust hide out in a shopping mall which is under siege from a horde of the undead. Zack Snyder's update of George Romero's seminal classic impressed me a lot when I first saw it, but upon a rewatch its quality is obviously a result of its riffing off of the superior idea of another rather than because of its own merits. The most glaring problem for me is the whole "fast zombie" idea. Somehow, it's far more unsettling to be besieged by shuffling, decaying, mindless zombies than the hyperactive speedfreaks we have here, which means the oppressive air of crushing inevitability of Romero's film is sorely missing. As is any semblance of the social commentary and sly wit that coloured the original. The characters are really just a bunch of action movie stereotypes so it's very difficult to give a crap about any of them and it all chugs along at a pace that leaves little room for the building of tension or suspense. It does have some nice ideas; the disturbing zombie crack baby for one, and the inclusion of near cameos by Matt Frewer and the neighbouring gun shop owner Andy make for the most interesting characters in it (which does also kind of highlight the inadequacies of our heroes in comparison). Snyder does fall into the MTV trap of getting too bogged down with slo-mo ammo porn but the action sequences are very well done and the effects are great which makes the film feel far more like a good, solid sci-fi action thriller than a true zombie flick. More Land Of The Dead than Dawn Of The Dead, but if you enjoyed that you'll no doubt enjoy this. And it's the best remake of a Romero zombie film by a country mile.


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