Battle of the Damned (2013)

With a storyline thinner than a vegetarian zombie, Dolph Lundgren leads an elite team of Gears of War-style military hardmen into a South-East Asian city quarantined and sealed off by lying government officials.

Their mission? Find some rich guy’s daughter and bring her back. Apparently ‘no longer dangerous’, the city is actually plagued by sprinting Asian zombies, who whittle down most of Dolph’s squad before the film even begins…

As usual in this kind of film our hero immediately finds his quarry – by coincidence, in a massive city – and teams up to escape the city together. Naturally Jude (Melanie Zanetti) is a spunky, cocky, aggressive, sarcastic kick-ass bitch with a secret (!) who clashes with the stoic, spectacles-wearing, aging hard man.

After finding other survivors – who tick off a number of clichés – the robots arrive. Yes, robots. Don’t ask. It doesn’t make much sense.

Impossible to avoid a back-hand compliment here, I shall say Battle of the Damned is much better than I had expected. Graded in grim greys, it is a stylish and kinetic horror with decent-looking zombies, endless violence, excellent stunt-work and only the occasional bit of godawful CGI…

…for the first 30 minutes anyway.

After the initial half hour the film stumbles and stutters, with logic fails throughout, like Max’s “let’s be quiet and not attract zombies” attitude being slightly undermined by him riding around on a freakin’ motorbike!

Clichés also pour out of Battle of the Damned like the guts of a freshly shotgunned zombie; with unwanted pregnancies, a Dickens-quoting nasty British scientist and literally zero words spoken in a foreign language (apparently most resourceful people in South-East Asia are English-speaking and white…)

However, despite all this Battle of the Damned is genuinely fun. The robots will certainly surprise and the violence is pretty consistent, furious and enjoyable. It IS utterly utterly ridiculous, but if you’re okay with that – zombies, robots, Dolph Lundgren – then you’ll have a ball.

The CGI robots – and other bits – are luckily not too distracting in their lack of quality, so if you’re expecting Megashark levels of shite CGI then you’ll be pleased (or disappointed?) to know it’s vastly better here. Someone actually put some decent time & effort into this film.

Battle of the Damned is people versus zombies versus robots in a fast, bonkers, fun and absurd whirlwind of violence and cliché. A good laugh, but only if you’re in the right mood…

Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

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