Tuesday 28 December 2010

Post Apocalyptic Ferrigno ...

Desert Warrior

‘‘Law is meant for man, not man for the law’’

It is twenty years following the Third World War, and the planet has been plunged back into an age of barbarianism since the nuclear holocaust. Scavengers roam the desolate landscape, preying on whatever they can to eat, including each other !.

One bright hope for the future of mankind emerges. The Drones. Civilised survivors intent upon reviving order from chaos, and rebuilding a new civilisation. A noble cause, threatened by the nomadic savages.

In a world with no law the strong rule and under their tenure those that dare oppose the regime of Baktar, leader of the Tyrogs, must fight for their lives in a makeshift arena in a battle to the death. Like gladiators before their Roman Emperor, in an open domed basic construct, akin to that in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), those foolish enough to cross Baktar have to stand against his champion in combat. That champion is none other than classic TV’s The Hulk, Lou Ferrigno. An eye patch wearing goliath of a warrior named Zerak.

Baktar’s self prophetic legacy is to spawn the first newborn free of infection from radiation poisoning. His opportunity comes along when the feisty Racela, from the race of Drones, patrols with her male companion beyond the designated safe perimeters of their underground community. Their advanced tech all terrain craft, replete with laser weapons, is attacked by the savages and Racela is taken hostage.

With news of Racela’s disappearance reaching the Drone high command, her father General Cortaz beseeches with the governing council permission to breach protocol and send out a search party. His request is immediately denied, only to be overturned on the strict adherence to the ruling that should he choose to leave the confines of the Drone domicile, then he, and whomever volunteers to go with him, may never again return.

Clearly green with envy at the scavengers having a pure and clean female specimen, and under order from Baktar, warrior of the wasteland Lou Ferrigno gets astride his retro three wheeled motorcycle, and along with his men roars to the rescue. It’s not long before he clashes with the scavengers as they go head to head with all manner of old fashioned weaponry. Top trumped only by a grenade launcher and of course Zerak wielding his mighty sword. Well it’s only to be expected when you make him angry !.

Zerak saves the girl but is injured in the process and only a grateful Racela can assist him in getting back to his own people, the Tyrogs. Unbeknownst to them whilst they struggle across the desert terrain, Racela’s father and two companions are not far behind, following their tracks in order to rescue her.

Back in the bosom of Baktar’s domain Zerak soon realises that he has feelings for Racela, and she for him. He cannot allow Baktar to force himself upon this innocent who in turn saved him from surely dying alone in the wilderness. In order to save her he must turn against his own people and align forces with General Cortaz to escape the clutches of Baktar.

Ferrigno fulfils his role as the resourceful anti hero pretty well in what is clearly a low budget outing, and his ‘B’ movie bravado comes into its own when he is allowed some clobbering time.

It’s a struggle to get back to the Drone complex, and to share in the news of a breakthrough by their scientists regarding the radiation poisoning, and an even greater one to overcome the mandate of the no return policy !. A battle ensues outside the underground complex as the location is compromised. The fight for dominance prevails as guns and knives go up against laser beam weaponry and organised tacticians, but the shear number of barbaric Tyrogs is more than enough for the Drones to cope with. It is up to General Cortaz, Racela and the hulking Zerak to bring order from chaos between the fighting factions. With Lou Ferrigno leading the way the planets future surely must be green.

Movie Rating: 6/10

Review Paul Cooke / Source Japanese NTSC VHS

Desert Warrior (1988)

Director Jim Goldman
With Lou Ferrigno, Shari Shattuck, Mike Cohen,
Anthony East & Mike Monty

Monday 20 December 2010

Seasons Best Wishes ...

A Very Merry Christmas
& A Happy New Year

To All The Die Hard Action Fans
And Friends & Followers Of

Ballistic Blood Bullets

Thank you one and all for your support and continued readership. Here's looking forward to a Filmtastic 2011 where even more huts will explode, scenery will be chewed up & quirky one line delivery dialogue will send us into fits of hysterics.

The mystical worlds of Asian film to thrill and astonish, and the mind bending banality that is Indonesian cinema to perplex and dumfound in equal measures of delirious wonderment. To amaze and flabbergast even the most seasoned of viewer.

Be safe, be well, be good, and be kind to one another.


Saturday 18 December 2010

Project UFO: The Phillip J. Roth Files

Rapid Exchange

When high tech thieves Ketchum and Brooks are out trumped by rivals, seeking to steal a nine million dollar sceptre from a museum, they have disgruntled employer Lance Henriksen to answer to. He reacts by giving them the opportunity to work off the loss incurred by making them part of a select criminal crew, with a far loftier assignment involving millions of dollars. Star Lorenzo Lamas and Matt O’Toole go from being Hudson Hawk (1991) partners in crime to sky jacking wing men , in a daring heist of a governmental 747 transporting a multi million dollar money cargo.

The slick production values are immediately and rewardingly evident as is the quirky nature of the unravelling events, all snappily edited together under the stylish Direction of Tripp Reed.

The audacious heist is planned down to the finest of detail, akin to a Reservoir 'Sky' Dogs. Colourful in character if not in names the eclectic crew each have their own individual skill they bring to the collective table. The presence of team leader Daltry is a moot one for Ketchum and Brooks though as there is a distrusting history between them. Daltry is the consummate thief who thrills in the high life of a criminally recompensed playboy lifestyle, founded off looking out for number one. Reliant on team work but with so much to gain can they all rely upon each other to see the job through to completion !?.

It is with Mission Impossible (1996) smartness that they work their way aboard the aircraft with all manner of disguises and clever ingratiation. Lorenzo Lamas is clearly relaxed in his role and having the most fun since freely allowed to roam the byways in his heyday as televisions Renegade. Starlet Aviva Gale also stands out as the very cute young lady thief Sophie, a choice role for a cute face and a personality to watch out for in the future.

The excitement value takes off with the bodacious retrieval unit of operations riding the undetectable slipstream behind the 747 in their own jet. The hook up between the two planes is a neat sequence to behold and one which is cleverly played out, as the special effects crew get to deliver a thrilling visual. James Bond meets Air Force One (1997) in an exciting transfer of Ketchum, Brooks and companions from jet to jumbo without the aid of a safety net.

Aboard the plane both parties work their way into the code locked on board vault with an ingenuity that is seldom thought out for a major Hollywood Blockbuster let alone a low budget gem such as this. Without any force the industrious crooks outsmart the on board treasury guard whilst in uninterrupted flight, and even forgo the on board tutorial detailing safe exit ways as they bag the swag to jump ship. With the alarm raised though and old scores resurfaced its time to find out who jumps first and who jumps farthest. There’s a very well paced twist or two before the final pay off, as Rapid Exchange proves to be another first class production from the Unified Film Organisation studio.

Movie Rating: 7/10

Review Paul Cooke / Source Region 1 NTSC DVD

Rapid Exchange (2003)

Director Tripp Reed
With Lorenzo Lamas, Lance Henriksen, Aviva Gale,
Matt O’Toole & Wayne Pere

Sunday 12 December 2010

Infectious Brit Flick Horror Bites Back ...

Devil's Playground

‘‘They bite you, and then you become one of them’’

London becomes the plague playground for ravenous victims of a purported life enhancing super drug, that proves to be the harbinger of death and the catalyst for a metamorphosis to exist beyond life as the un-dead !.

Pudding Lane may have sparked the Great Fire but Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later (2002) ignited the film furnace that enabled many a contemporary British made Zombie movie to follow, and Devil’s Playground smoulders in its back draft like an old flame rekindling that spark of interest.

RAK 295 is a modern day lifestyle pep tablet designed to eliminate the stress and strain of everyday life. Produced by N-Gen Industries for the purposes of giving the populace a performance enhancing boost to their lethargic lives. Thirty thousand volunteers undertook the testing programme over a two month period. After just one month extreme side effects became evident. Multiple organ failure, vomiting, vascular collapse and external excretion of blood.

The doctors after just one week of the study decided to quarantine the very first test subject due to his obvious allergic reaction. His physiology and cellular makeup altered, and only a test viral suppressant keep the maliciously malignant toxin from fully manifesting, this test subject fully transforms once his anti viral injection is withheld. What follows is an aggressive reaction and the test subject transforms into a feral being with super enhanced strength and great agility. Throwing himself at doctors and N-Gen assistants he rips and tears at their flesh with his nails and razor like teeth. Leaping high into the air from a standing start, and bouncing off the walls like a gymnast high on Beta Blockers. This is no longer a human medical test subject, it is a vicious monster in human guise, hungry for flesh and thirsting for blood !.

All but one volunteer, a young woman named Angela Mills, was unaffected in any shape or form. Every other intern to the N-Gen programme eventually dies.

N-Gen Industries want the whole experimental undertaking results kept quiet from the government, and the public in order to instigate a cover up and escape a crippling lawsuit. They call upon head security and company problem solver Cole (Craig Fairbrass) to take care of loose ends, but most importantly to find Angela Mills and bring her back to the facility, as she is the only living antidote known to this cause and effect. When Cole himself gets bitten he only has eighteen hours to locate the girl before his self inject able suppressants can no longer keep him, human !.

With the outbreak all over the news panic and pandemonium hits the streets of London and amidst it all is Angela Mills trying to escape with a friend to a rural retreat. Their objective is to meet up with her brother who is in the police, and has a colleague who is a helicopter pilot. They know the whereabouts of a four person helicopter and its location is secluded away from general notice.

Danny Dyer plays the role of Joe, his wife to be was Angela, until their lives were turned upside down by events affecting Joe’s position as a police officer. Now a disgraced cop having been deemed irresponsible in the act of detaining a young man involved in dealing drugs, who is killed in the line of duty. Joe is released from prison on bail, eaten up by the guilt of the incident but determined to prove his innocence and dedicated to winning back the love of his life Angela. They are thrown together again in the spiralling events that overtake their lives in the combined need to stay alive. They reunite at a friends car auto repair shop on the outskirts of London, where joined by an American and his wife, they are soon attacked by the infected and are defending their retreat against the blood crazed inhuman creatures.

Assistance arrives in the form of Cole, having tracked Angela Mills to the location, and he immediately takes charge. Securing the ramshackle repair shop, and despatching the remaining rabid infected in brutal and bloody fashion, Cole unites the fractious group into putting a plan of survival in place. The helicopter being the objective, but knowing that it has room for literally four occupants self preservation within the group becomes an evident issue that has to be dealt with. Cole’s priority is to get Angela to a medical facility, anything and anyone else is unimportant. She discloses that she is pregnant however, and with Joe the father, his objective is precisely the same !.

What transpires is a battle to ensure the safety of Angela, and a fight for survival against the growing hordes of those infected by Rak 295. The Action is pretty much full on from the start, but the overall fraught tension plays out during the second half of the movie as everything plays out at night. The streets of London are ablaze and the feint flicker of optimism is never far from being snuffed out.

Craig Fairbrass turns in a strong and dogged performance that injects depth and believability into the character of Cole. When he runs out of bullets he uses whatever is available to fight his way through the flesh craving infected denizens, bludgeoning and pummelling with his bare fists at times, smashing skulls and breaking limbs. The blood quota is pretty high and mostly well done. Reliance on old school make up and stunts make redundant the usual over domination of CGI to enhance the overall enjoy ability, of what is essentially a budget movie doing its best to cleverly mask its shortcomings. It does it well and achieves its primary objective, and that is to deliver a solid if somewhat unoriginal story with a decent impact upon a willing audience.

Zombie movies are in abundance but when they are done right, and still deliver entertainment like Devil’s Playground, there’s life in the Dead genre yet.


Movie Rating: 6/10

Review Paul Cooke / Source Region 2 PAL UK DVD

Devil’s Playground (2010)
Director Mark McQueen
With Craig Fairbrass, MyAnna Buring, Danny Dyer,
Jaime Murray, Sean Pertwee, Colin Salmon,
Lisa McAllister, Shane Taylor & Craig Conway

Sunday 5 December 2010

Japanese VHS Goodness Hits The 'Bay


Ballistic Blood Bullets followers and those that know me well will appreciate my love for All things Action. From the likes of Antonio Margheriti to Enzo G. Castellari & Bruno Mattei, to list just a very small example.

Over a very long period of time, including over ten years of dogged determination and last second computer key pressing in high anticipation of snagging a rarity on Ebay, I have amased many hundreds of Original Japanese VHS Tapes. Even these in their hundreds are but a small part of my movie collection, but amongst all of the films I have acquired these Japanese Tapes most definitely represent some of the very most rare & highly collectable movies. Most are still not, and indeed many most likely never will be, available on the shiny format of DVD. I recall spending many years desperately trying to get hold of Ferdinando Baldi's Action movie Ten Zan: Ultimate Mission, and one day finally the Japanese VHS appeared on Ebay. I spent many a fraught moment anxiously anticipating the close of the Auction and praying against fellow last minute bidders. I did manage to secure, but of course at quite a price, but it was finally mine. I must have watched the movie about five times in the first month of receiving, but it sure was worth it and that movie never showed up anywhere again for a very long time. When it did eventually show up again on Ebay it went for an even higher price. A further long while later, amazingly a second opportunity arose for me to grab a second Tape of the movie, in the early hours of the morning I stayed up and Incredibly no one else seemed to know it had been listed. I did feel kinda bad at gazumping the bidders already in place, suspecting that at 4.00am in the morning it was a little too much for them to stay up and last second bid like the crazy fool I was. A very happy crazy fool mind you come closure. That second Original Ten Zan: Ultimate Mission Japanese VHS Tape in a marginal Widescreen presentation is just one of the movies that I now offer the opportunity to someone else to have and to hold, and to proudly place amongst their own treasured collection.

The purpose and reason behind offering these movies now for Auction you may ask ?. Well, perhaps like the great Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry delivering his infamous line ''I know what you're thinking, did I fire six shots or five'' (paraphrased but applicable), in all the years of excitement there were many times passing on such rare movies, even when that rare gem had already been snagged, I just could not resist ensuring I had an extra version ... you know, just in case !.

With the safety measures now of the fabulous format back up security of DVDr I can rest at ease and so now give a little something back to the collector community. Please, if you will take the time to check out my Ebay Auctions in the coming weeks and months as there will be many a Rare tape and Fabulous Japanese VHS Original Tape on offer. ALL of my Tapes have been genuinely cared for and cherished. Every single one of them I took the time to carefully clean of rental stickers where applied by the stores and also thoroughly cleaned the cassettes of all dirt and sticky labels. These Tapes look as near perfect as the day they were first produced. The insert card artwork is almost exclusively blemish free and I promise each potential interested fellow film fan and collector that what you receive upon securing a bid is a trouble free exchange and a bonified VHS Movie Tape to be proud of in your own collection.

Currently up for grabs on Ebay are All of the movies listed below and the scans shown are the very inserts from the films that are on offer. Please do check out the Auctions and thank you in advance for doing so and for your consideration in acquiring. The very best of luck to any and all interested bidders.

Prepare for Action ... as the Great Brent Huff would say ... It Can Be Done.

Thank You

Tuesday 30 November 2010

Post Nuke 'Bots Kinda Rule In ...

Robot Holocaust

‘‘The Dark One has consumed your father’’

The Post Nuke genre has provided great entertainment from many a low budget filmmaking auteur, particularly during the Eighties when the cycle of Mad Max (1979) clones was most prevalent, but with Robot Holocaust something far more devastating than a global disaster brought this to be !.

The opening credits have the traditional serious toned foreboding voiceover, post script the nuclear devastation, and telling of the age of the Mechanoids and the great robot rebellion of 2033. Earth is now known as New Terra, after the robots turned on their masters. The planet is governed by an unseen being known as The Dark One. This all powerful entity rules by enslaving the surviving human race by controlling the planets oxygen. His source is a structure known as the power station. Here the mighty mechanical machinery siphons the atmosphere and The Dark One’s robotic minions, aided by the still human supreme bitch Valaria, in order to rule over the populace. The enslaved people are known as Air Slaves, as they are kept in order by The Dark One’s constant threat of any and all being intoxicated by air restriction, and lethal exposure to New Terra’s true toxic environment.

From the ashes of the destruction, and from out of the wastelands comes Neo, a new champion of the people and a nemesis to The Dark One. Oh dear lord, if only the premise could deliver !. In all honesty the best, and truly only way to derive any pleasure from this shot in a few days, on the budget of the revenue from a car boot sale, is to buy into the fact that this is trying it’s best to actually pay homage to the Italian Post Nuke movies of the Eighties, ironically putting a spin on the fact that the European market at that time was of course cashing in on the far bigger budgeted Hollywood movies.

Any true lover of the Italian futuristic Sci-Fi, after the bomb type delights such as 2019: After The Fall Of New York (1983), The Bronx Warriors (1982), Bronx Warriors II: Escape From The Bronx (1983) and The New Barbarians (1982), will be able to recognise many elements of plagiarism. Mutant gangs and characters, along with costume and defiant swagger are noticeable, but truly only if you are an aficionado of the genre, anyone else is going to wonder what the heck is this dreck !. And to be fair, that would perfectly sum it all up.

For a general audience, without the benefit of having glorified in the delights of Post Nuke goodness Robot Holocaust is like a puerile futuristic variation of The Wizard Of Oz (1939) . Certainly the overall experience is a brainless mess, the movie lacks any real heart and it surely took all the courage of those involved on screen to ever show their faces at the screen actors guild again !. Up on the celluloid though is Nero, who along with his humanoid robot companion Klyton, unites with various futuristic misfits, including a barbarian she wolf Amazonian, a Tarzan look alike and a scientists daughter with the ability to breathe both pure and contaminated air unaided.

The band of misfits come together during Neo’s trek to the power station, and not with the purpose of seeking out Robert Palmer to sign him up for a record label deal with a couple of disenchanted members of Duran Duran at that time, as Neo and new metallic tag along buddy Kryton seek to bring down The Dark One !.

It is genuinely laugh out loud hysterical clearly recognising that the journey undertaken is through Central Park in Manhattan, New York. There isn’t really any great attempt to disguise this fact, but it is stupefying brilliant that director Tim Kincaid still rallies proceedings along with interjected action silliness, and designer disaster characters to at least create the illusion of delivering entertainment.

Inferred bog creatures, and pool creatures in the Central Park scenic ponds is creative only to the degree that the camera is kept low level to hide the obvious fact of where they are actually filming. Shooting at a restricted degree at these times is often through conveniently placed reeds and plants to create the illusion of futuristic foliage. At times it most definitely is cringe worthy stuff, but gorilla film making at its most desperate for sure.

There are a few Fun moments to be had, one of which is the scene in which Neo and followers first enter the underground tract in order to gain undetected access into the realm of The Dark One, in order to storm the power station. Here they are beset by sewage worms, bloodthirsty oversized blind slither critters that dwell within the walls of the sewer. Okay so they’re hand puppets, but use your imagination and role with it for cripes sake.

The overall tone and colour of the under ground segments show the movie in its best light, now let’s not get too excited, we are not talking Mario Bava here, but clearly the Roger Corman school of lighting, set decoration, and good use of what is naturally at hand, is to be fair, put to good use. Look out for an inferred big spider creature effect as the scientists daughter is ensnared within a web, only to be teasingly pawed by an off screen beastie shyly reaching out to our maiden in distress with a briefly seen wobbly hairy leg with a clawed foot !, The Giant Claw (1957) should be considered an Oscar winning feature on the back of this display !.

Robot Holocaust, likely to cash in on its piggy back European veneer, even carries the title of, I Robot Conquistano Il Mondo, cleverly slipping out onto Eighties VHS no doubt to return a modest sum very much in line with the Italian faux film Xeroxed clones of the time. Due accolade to the film makers on that score, exporting American garbage cleverly packaged back to Italy as if produced in Europe, but overall Robot Holocaust is without doubt a Post ApoCRAPalyptic disaster.

If you truly need to experience then seek it out on the MGM HD channel, as it at least cleans up very nicely, and those underground scenes do look fresh and vibrant in colour and hue with a high definition enhancement. The movie also runs out at sub eighty minutes. Be sure to disengage brain, and imbue yourself with plenty of to hand cold brews if deciding to still pursue the Post Nuke abomination that is Robot Holocaust.

Movie Rating: 3/10

Review Paul Cooke / Source The MGM HD Movie Channel

Robot Holocaust (1986)

Director Tim Kincaid
With Norris Culf, Nadine Hartstein,
J. Buzz Von Ornsteiner, Jennifer Delora,
Andrew Howarth, Angelika Jager,
Michael Downend & Rick Gianasi

Friday 19 November 2010

Get Infected On ...

Dark Island
aka Infected

‘‘If you’re receiving this message, Test Forty Eight did not go as planned’’

Insidious biological government experimentation is taking place on a remote island and all indigenous species are dead. Only a small unit of scientific researchers remains at the testing ground, but when all contact with them is lost another team of specialists is sent in to investigate. What they discover cannot be allowed to leave the island with them !.

Multi corporation Altracorp are developing a safe energy program with radical results via secret testing, outside of the USA governing practices, and well outside of ethical constraints. Development of a biological weapon, intended to aid mankind against the threat of global terrorism, in order to act as a deterrent against war. Just how far do you go though in order to create something so all powerful in order to stop something just as all consuming and devastating as that which it is intended to counteract !?.

Dr. Sophie Miller, a highly regarded toxicologist, joins an Altracorp reconnaissance and rescue team, suitably kitted up and destined for the secluded island. Their mission to determine what has happened to the original scientific team and to re-establish contact with Altracorp to relay back information as to the test results carried out.

The team is made up of three guys and two women, and immediately upon arrival at the beach of the island it is very clear that all is not well !. There is not a sound of any wildlife at all, and at the tree line of the dense tropical jungle is littered with dead birds. The flightless and lifeless organisms are saturated with a bizarre black treacle like substance, oozing from their carcasses.

The plot is standard fare but the Action is maintained throughout proceedings, and there are a few nice moments to keep an audience embroiled in this low budget horror. Fans of top TV show Lost will draw semblance from the foreboding presence of the evil entity that terrorises the human survivors. An all enveloping mass of black cloud like being possesses, eviscerates and re-manifests itself in order to take control of any living host. This tremendous force is a destructive living entity born out of human experimentation and in its unfettered form is free to do what it wants to !.

The team must gather important test data and formulate a counter agent against this malevolent entity in order to harness its force. A makeshift repellent gas gun keeps the aggressive formation at bay but does little against its intuitive ability to manipulate what is around it. There is an Evil Dead (1981) segment where the jungle tree vines attack the retreating Altracorp people, along with several splurges of blood letting to add to proceedings.

It’s up to the doctor to attain a direct sample of the black gloop living organism from a possessed living host in order to reverse engineer the substance and develop an antidote

With an evacuation swat team preparing to storm the island and retrieve whatever they can before destructively pulling the plug on the project time is running out for the few surviving. In the heart of the jungle at the main testing site a battle for supremacy plays out as an Altracorp insider strives to take control of the entity, whilst his rational counterpart fights to directly feed the antitoxin into the heart of the island to bring an end to the abomination.

There’s plenty of edge of the seat Action at closure and still enough time to deliver a reveal to turn events, leaving things up in the air with a suitably sinister twist.

Movie Rating: 6/10

Review Paul Cooke / Source Region 1 NTSC DVD

Dark Island (2010)

Director Sam Gorski & Niko Pueringer
With Jai Koutrae, Zero Kazama, Mary Christina Brown,
Rob O’Brien, Eric Raymond Lim & Rodney Wiseman

Friday 5 November 2010

The Undead Uprise In ...

La Horde

‘‘Religion is just death insurance’’

Cops, criminals and an army of undying human carnivores square off in a Zombie Armageddon. Another flesh feast from France, and this one thunders along at a cracking bloody pace.

Seasoned cops treading a very fine line between call of duty, and traversing the same path taken by those they seek to bring to justice, seek to take violent revenge when one of their own is killed.

Attending the cemetery during the day to pay respects at the funeral, by night the resolute agents of the law turn vigilantes and seek vengeance upon a gang headed up by a notorious Nigerian villainous savant. The acquired intelligence on their targets leads them to a near derelict super high rise middle class residence. The building is empty apart from a few stubborn residents ignoring notices to quit, and the pocket of drugs and arms dealers headed up by the Nigerian named Adewale.

Storming the high rise for violent reprisal the cops more than meet their match in Adewale and his better organised men. Two are viciously killed and one is badly wounded as the diversity of weaponry at the gangs disposal is brutally displayed.

With the remainder of the cops, including one feisty female officer, at the mercy of the gang suddenly there is a cataclysmic turn of events that occurs outside. The surrounding city is turned into chaos as the night sky is turned into a pulsating pastel of explosions. An epidemic has broken out and is immediately affecting the populace. People are turning on each other and those that are killed within a few minutes return from the dead, imbued with an overpowering strength of adrenalin and a hunger for flesh.

Described by most as a Zombie movie, and in certain quarters criticised for its lack of character development and perceived as being without anyone to cheer for or get behind, it really is deserving of neither attribute. It’s intent is not to atypically compartmentalise but allow for a fallow dichotomy, empathic to a contemporary society. The film is a frenetic Action movie with the fast paced humans infected by an unknown contagion. The unexplained virus also reanimates the recent dead but at no time in the film does it show or imply that the rotting corpses of long deceased people are reviving.

La Horde is at its best enjoyed as a non Zombie film as the super enhanced manic delivery is far more striking and realistic buying into an outbreak of unknown origin. Watching the two diverse groups of gang and cops having to pull together in order to defend themselves against a far greater threat adds heightened believability to proceedings. There is a multitude of close quarter street fights where the anti hero’s have to use their hand to hand combat skills against the unyielding mutants. The results being some of the most intense pummelling witnessed on screen in a long time.

It is, however, incredible that each time a new ‘Zombie’ type take on the genre comes out how hapless the protagonists are in not working out that the only way to stop these monstrous manifestations is to shoot them in the head. It certainly adds to the deliriousness of the wanton deluge of blood and guts spillage as the infected are riddled with bullets in every other part of their bodies, but please, get serious, splatter the grey matter by blasting the damned things in the skull !.

The close proximity setting of floor after floor of corridors in the high rise make for some claustrophobic encounters, and the darkly lit environment more than adds to the effectiveness of this Action horror.

With their combined numbers dwindled down to just a handful the unified group meets up with a quirky old timer, survivor of a great war and a veteran stubborn enough to remain resident in the complex in his solitude from society. This old timer knows how to look after himself, and the groups first encounter with has them witness his ability with a long handled mighty pickaxe, repeatedly dispatched upon the flailing mutant beings with dissecting effectiveness. Looking a little like a more seasoned version of Hannibal Smith from The A Team, this guy definitely loves it when a bloody plan comes together.

With news of the contagious outbreak hitting the city, witnessed upon a weak signalled television set in the old mans apartment, Adawale and his beleaguered cohorts join with the veteran, making use of his apparent skills and knowledge of the complex, in order to exact a passage to the outside and a better chance of survival.

There is always an edge to proceedings with a volatile element of tenuous trust between all, and combined with the all too prevalent threat to them all this brilliantly enhances the realistic flavour of the movie.

Blood, guts, gore, guns, grenades and a joyously unbelievable Mexican stand off as one of the main lead cops squares off against a surging mass of flesh hungry ghouls, within the high rise parking facility, propels La Horde into crowd pleasing rapture.

Throw in a suitably down beat and bleak closure and this stands up there with some of the best implied ‘Zombie’ type films produced. This is without doubt an accomplished ghoulish Grenache of Gallic gruel to revel in.

Movie Rating: 7/10

Review Paul Cooke / Source Pal Region 2 DVD

La Horde (2009)

Directors Yannick Dahan & Benjamin Rocher
With Claude Perron, Jean-Pierre Martins,Eriq Ebouaney,
Aurélien Recoing, Doudou Masta, Jo Prestia,
Antoine Oppenheim, Yves Pignot & Adam Pensawang