The Gratuitous B-Movie Column 6.02.14 Issue #309: Battle of the Undead (2013)
Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz on 06.02.2014
A look at the Israeli zombie flick Battle of the Undead, two new batches of Things to Watch Out For This Week, a new B-Movie Babe is named, a new Douchebag of the Week is crowned, and more!
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #309: Battle of the Undead (2013)
Zombies!: Week 1
Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never been attacked by a zombie, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number three hundred and nine, Zombies! begins with the 2013 Israeli zombie flick Battle of the Undead.
Battle of the Undead (2013)
Battle of the Undead, originally known as Cannon Fodder, is one of the better low budget action/horror zombie movies of the last decade. It's chock full of interesting characters, decent action scenes, and zombie gore bits that will gross you out. It isn't anything we haven't seen before in the zombie movie genre, but it' still a kick ass bit of zombie movie making.
The movie stars Liron Levo as Doron, a bad ass Israel army Special Forces operator who is set to retire but, at the behest of his old pal/boss/mentor Gideon (Amit Leor), agrees to one last mission. Gideon wants Doron, with three other operators in tow (Roi Miller, as Daniel, Emos Ayeno, as Moti, and Gome Sarig, as Avner), to enter Lebanon and capture the number three leader in Hezbollah. It isn't anything Doron hasn't done before for Gideon, but since he's never worked with any of these operators he's cautious. Doron also wants to get this mission completed quickly as he wants to go back and retire with his wife Michal (Shira Katzenelenbogen).
So Doron and his team enter Lebanon and, for the most part, it's an easy incursion. They don't encounter any resistance and it looks like this snatch and grab mission is going to go off without a hitch. However, once they hit the small Lebanon town they need to get to resistance shows up. And by resistance, I mean snarling, strong and nasty zombie type creatures. Doron and his team react as best they can but since they have no idea what it is they're fighting one of them goes down, bitten badly on the leg. Doron's team eventually gets lucky and kills the attacking zombies and then decides to hunker down in a nearby housing structure to regroup. What the heck is going on?
In the midst of regrouping Doron's team runs into Noelle (Yafit Shaley), a heavily armed local Lebanese. She tells Doron that they are surrounded on all sides by these undead creatures, that the only way the creatures die is by destroying the brain, and that no one is going to be able to help them. Daniel doesn't trust Noelle at all as she's a "terrorist" and he "kills terrorists." Doron, though, is a little more practical. He figures out quickly that he's going to need Noelle to help him both complete his mission and get back to Tel Aviv in one piece.
I don't want to say any more about the story as the movie does contain a few nifty surprises. The flick's original title will certainly make more sense once the movie is over. The movie does drag a bit in the middle, but then what zombie movie doesn't? I enjoyed the way the movie escalates its zombie plague, making it seem as though it happens so fast that it overwhelms the Middle East to the point where there are only a few human survivors left. I also liked how the movie doesn't overwhelm itself with the obvious politics of the story. The politics are there but the movie isn't really about that; it's actually about something a little more personal and small. George A. Romero would be sort of proud.
The action scenes get better as the movie progresses. I was worried that all of the action scenes would be blurry and hard to figure out, but the movie only does that at the beginning. After about a half hour the gun fights and zombie attacks are easier to figure out. And the gore? Again, I didn't think the movie would be all that bloody. There's quite a bit of what looks like CGI gore in the first few attack scenes, but then the practical effects (or what look like practical effects) kick in and it's blood and guts everywhere. And when I say "blood and guts" I mean blood and goddamn guts. We see flesh, intestines, other guts, and blood everywhere. There's one scene where a group of zombies eat a guy on the street. We really don't get to see all of the munching and whatnot but we see just enough viscera to make you queasy (it's like watching someone pull the skin off of baked chicken with his or her teeth and there's gravy dripping from everything). And there are some excellent head shots spread throughout the movie.
Levo does a great job as Doron. He just oozes coolness and comes off as a guy you don't want to mess with. He also comes off as the kind of guy you would follow into battle without question. Yafit Shalev is awesome as Noelle. She has tremendous chemistry with Levo and she comes off as quite the badass with a gun.
Amit Leor is interesting as Gideon. You're not quite sure how to take him as he's a spy and, regardless of the country, you can never completely trust a spy. And the eye patch he wears automatically makes you think he's up to something (is the eye patch just for show or does he really only have one eye?).
And then there's Roi Miller as Daniel. Daniel is a badass soldier and the kind of guy, tactics wise, you want on your team when infiltrating a hostile area. He's tough, he's mean, but he follows orders and he carries around a big machete (you never know when you might need one of those). He's also a spectacular racist. He constantly berates his teammate Moti for being black, which would have been a sign of macho acceptance if it only happened a few times (you know, all of that insulting jock male bullshit that guys do) but it happens throughout the movie. What the heck is Daniel's problem? Is he really a full on racist or is he just being an asshole?
The movie's ending leaves room for a sequel, something I would absolutely love to see. There's more to see in this zombie plagued world and, hopefully, we get to see that someday. And the final sequence that appears to be a TV chat show parody? Hilarious.
I loved Battle of the Undead. It's a damn good zombie flick. It's got everything a damn good zombie flick needs.
See Battle of the Undead. See it, see it, see it.
So what do we have here?
Dead bodies: Around 9.
Undead bodies: Hundreds, maybe even thousands.
Explosions: Multiple. And they actually look like explosions. They don't look like superimposed bits of CGI animation.
Nudity?: None. It's not that kind of zombie movie.
Doobage: Drugs, a bloody dead body that suddenly becomes undead, paper signing, soldier horseplay, racism, a big ass machete, a discussion about orthodox Jews, homophobia, yogurt drinking, urinating on a chain link fence, a severed foot, standing around, crawling, dog tags wrapped in human intestines, running zombies, exploding head shot, multiple neck stabbings, leg eating, a wall covered in chunky blood, bondage, body disposal, zombies eating a guy, contagious blood, deserted streets, multiple threats of violence off screen grenade attack, night vision, morphine pills, zombies eating people in the woods, a mass feeding, zombie head smashing, blood taking, exploding zombies, a zombie on fire gag, exploding science lab, running zombies, knife to the head, machete to the side of the neck with decapitation, spitting on a zombie, a lack of cell phone reception, smoking face slapping, van attack, a zombie beach assault, a big knife attack, multiple grenade attacks, zombie children, bloody arm removal, and a funny TV chat show bit at the end.
Kim Richards?: Sort of implied. It is the zombie apocalypse.
Gratuitous: Slides of human cells, October 5th, a guy with an eye patch, soldier horseplay, Mideast politics, a guy with a machete, racism, homophobia, a severed foot, multiple bloody zombie attacks, contagious blood, a teddy bear, zombies eating people in the woods, exploding zombies, zombies on a fence, a lack of cell phone reception, and a zombie beach assault,
Best lines: "Who is this civilian?," "Everyone knows blacks are the fastest runners," "We're here! Lock and load!," "Are you sure you're a reservist? Who said I'm a reservist?," "What are you doing, trying to kill me? Center of mass, sound familiar?," "She's pretty hot," "There are more coming! There are more coming!," "Shoot them in the head! It's the only way they die!," "Don't do that! They smell the smoke!," "You are so smart you must be half white," "Are you sure your father s patient zero?," "You want to be a buffet? Go for it," "Don't you want to be a more complete person?," "Fuck. He really was hungry. Do you think he was kosher?," "You are not one of us! You are a terrorist!," "No terrorist bullshit. Yes?," "You homo. It was my honor to serve with a fag like you," "You're on the map motherfuckers!," "I promised you yesterday that I would fuck you up. Promises must be kept," and "Need a hand? Bastard."
Next week: Zombies! continues with After Effect (2013)!
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Facebook Page!
Please check out The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Facebook page, which can be seen here. There's not much there at the moment, but, as time goes by, expect to see daily questions and musings and other B-movie hooey (this really is going to happen at some point). And it would be cool if you "liked" it, too.
And please check out my interview with director Brett A. Hart about the Ain't It Cool internet show and more!
Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 1
-Robocop: I was against this remake when it was first announced and grew more and more uneasy with each production update. It just seemed so pointless, especially when the original is a classic and one of the greatest movies ever made. Thankfully, Robocop the remake turned out okay, and it is definitely worth checking out. It isn't as good as the original, obviously, but it's still quite good. See it.
-In the Blood: The great Gina Carano stars in this action vehicle that sees her trying to rescue her kidnapped husband or boyfriend or something. The flick did get a small theatrical release earlier this year, so there's a chance you may have had a chance to see it in a theatre. Danny Trejo is in this, too, which shouldn't be surprising to anyone. The man has a new movie out every week.
-Lone Survivor: This "based on a true story" action flick got solid reviews and kicked ass at the box office. It didn't get nominated for much in the way of awards, but then I'm not sure why anyone thought that it would. I wish I had seen it when it was in theatres. It looks great.
-Falling Skies Season 3: This great cable sci-fi TV show is about to begin its fourth season, so picking this up is a good way to get caught up on the humans and the aliens and whatnot. I can't wait to see where the next season goes. I mean, there's that alien-human hybrid kid, right? Where the hell is that going? And will there be any new alien visitors to Earth to get involved in the invasion/occupation/ongoing war.
-Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide: This is a documentary about the hysteria about horror flicks in video stores in Great Britain back in the 1980's. It looks like it provides a good background on the issue, something I only know a little about. Anyone out there an expert on this subject? Anyone out there have to deal with this back in the 1980's?
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Theme of the Week
The First Big Question: When will the "zombie thing" end?
We are still in the midst of a zombie thing pop culturally speaking. The Walking Dead is one of the most popular shows on TV, there are still oodles of low budget zombie movies getting made, video games are filled with zombie modes, and every parking lot has at least one car or truck with a "professional zombie hunter" bumper sticker. The monsters are everywhere. So when do they leave us? When does the culture move on to something else? What is the next monster we're all going to fall in love with?
I don't know when the zombie thing is going to end. However, I do think that when zombies do leave us it's going to be a sort of instantaneous thing. It isn't going to be one of those things where it lingers a bit for a few years, like with vampires. People are just going to one day stop loving zombies, and everything zombie related that comes out after that is going to suffer mightily because of it. The Walking Dead is probably safe because that's ultimately a show about people living with zombies as opposed to just a show about zombies. And the Resident Evil video game franchise will probably be okay because it's been around for twenty years. But everything else with zombies in it is just going to die badly.
I also don't know what is next on the monster love horizon. Mutants? Grotesque aliens? Are we going to go back to vampires? Will we get werewolves again? Giant snakes maybe?
What do you guys think? What's next for the world? What is going to be the next big monster?
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Babe of the Week: Sarah Polley
*** Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 2
-Goodbye World: This is some sort of post-apocalyptic drama deal that could have been given a biggish theatrical release. You would think that Adrian Grenier and Ben McKenzie would warrant a 500 screen release or something.
-Ghostlight: A low budget haunted house flick that actually looks promising? Holy hooey those kinds of movies don't come along every week. And I'm usually not a big fan of these kinds of movies, so for me to say that one of them looks worth renting is high praise indeed. I do wonder why, though, the movie isn't Ghost Light. That would seem to be better title.
-Blood Widow: A slasher movie where the slasher in question is some sort of ninja killer? Is that what we're looking at here? And am I the only one freaked out by the DVD cover? It could make a bitching T-shirt.
-Cowboys vs. Zombies: I wish I had known about this movie before I came up with the idea of reviewing zombie movies in June because it would have been included in the mix. It's a great idea and it looks decent. If I end up doing this Zombies! thing again this movie will definitely be a part of the month.
-Beyond the Trophy: Michael Madsen, Eric Roberts, and Tommy "Tiny"/"Zeus" Lister are all in the same low budget action movie? Who gives a flying hooey what it's actually about? It's Michael Madsen, Eric Roberts, and Tommy "Tiny"/"Zeus" Lister, man! It has to be awesome stuff!
*** The Second Big Question: What Should I Review in November ?
I asked this Big Question a few issues ago and managed to get a few responses, so I figured why not ask it again? I'm still not sure what I should do. On to the now Second Big Question for this issue:
The "year of themed months" thing that I'm doing for The Gratuitous B-Movie Column has, for the most part, worked out. I've been finding interesting movies to include for each themed month and, most importantly, I'm not bored doing it. Every month except one is set up with a specific theme. I still haven't figured out November.
What the heck should I review in November? My first thought was to look at documentaries as there are several B-movie centric documentaries out there that I'd love to look at (like that one about the making of George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, Birth of the Living Dead).
But then a few weeks ago I thought about reviewing Troma movies, something I haven't done enough of (Troma is still a big deal in the world of B-movies). And then I thought perhaps I should do a month of movies from the 1990's (you know, "November: A Month of 1990" or something like that). Each idea has appeal, but I don't know which one to pick.
So which one should I pick? Should I do a month of documentaries? A month of Troma movies? Or should I do a month of movies from the 1990's? What do you guys think? Please, tell me. I really need to figure this out.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week
This week, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week goes to Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday, for floating the idea that the recent California mass shooting had something to do with Seth Rogen getting hot women in movies. Because the shooter whined on the internets about being a virgin in college and hated women Rogen and producer/director Judd Apatow had to share some blame because they continue to perpetuate the idea that schlubby, unappealing fat guys can win the hot babe. Ridiculous? Of course, but then people like Hornaday, when it comes to media criticism, end up sounding like ultra-right wing religious fanatics. It's one of the annoying aspects of modern liberalism.
Fat guys have been getting hot women since the beginning of television. Ralph Kramden, Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin, Doug Heffernan, Bill Miller, etc. Are the people behind those shows responsible, too? Don't they help perpetuate the idea that allegedly "played a part" in this massacre?
And then there's the internets community that believes that the recent mass shooting in California is all part of a massive plot by the American government to take away America's guns. It's a "false flag" operation, they say, yet another part of a larger scheme to subjugate Americans and rule the world. It's all ridiculous bullshit, of course, but then that has never prevented people from believing in total nonsense. And that's what this and every other "false flag" claim is; bullshit. Why would the government go to all of the trouble of concocting these elaborate events? If the government wants to take away your guns why doesn't it just do it, especially if the government is run by dictators and whatnot? What's preventing it from happening?
Please, people. Think about this stuff before you sign up to believe in it. Think about it.
And finally there's Douchebag Hall of Famer Cal Thomas, for once again whining about how the Democrats and "liberalism" have destroyed the American work ethic and made poor Americans "dependent" and "feeling entitled." Cal wants to know why there aren't more people striving to become self-made millionaires and why poor people are now so envious of rich people. First off, there are more self-made millionaires now than ever before. Every goddamn year there are more rich people on the big "rich people" lists. Second, when did envy become a bad thing? Isn't envy, the need to get what other people have, a cornerstone of capitalism? And third, since when did poor Americans, by and large, start hating rich people? What fucking country is Cal living in exactly?
Asking the people who have everything to contribute slightly more than before is not the end of capitalism, America, or the return of the Soviet Union. It's not even "fairness." It's goddamn reality. You can't ask people who have nothing to pay more. They have nothing. And rich people in general, who run and control everything, really need to calm the fuck down and stop acting like they're victims of something nefarious. It's just ridiculous.
NASCAR and Indycar thoughts
Going into Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover the big story was Kyle Busch. Busch had dominated both Friday night's Camping World Truck Series race and Saturday's Nationwide and he was on the front row for the Sprint Cup race. Would he be able to make the weekend clean sweep? At the start of the race it certainly looked like Busch was going to be the dominant car of the day. No one could catch him. But then he wrecked, and after that the race was all about eventual winner Jimmie Johnson. Would Johnson last until the end? Would he be able to use pit strategy to beat everyone and hold on to the lead?
I figured that unless Johnson got caught up in a wreck with lapped traffic or had some sort of engine issue no one was going to catch him. Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick both had good cars and tried valiantly all day to get ahead of the #48 but there was just no stopping the six time Sprint Cup champion. I thought the race was pretty decent right up until Jamie McMurray hit that chunk of race track, causing a red flag so officials could repair the big hole in the racing surface. Once the race restarted it was obvious that it was going to be a Jimmie Johnson romp.
Clint Bowyer had a good day and he sort of had a chance to win (he played good pit strategy towards the end), but the last caution flag caused him to get shuffled back to fourth. I did see on yahoo that Bowyer was upset with that last caution, so don't be surprised if he ends getting fined later on this week.
I still think that the Dover races need to be reduced to 300 miles to make them more interesting. 400 miles is still way too long. And I do think it's time that Dover race at night, at least during the summer, as it's just way too hot for people to be sitting in the grandstands for 400 miles. And heck, if Dover did do a night race maybe those huge areas of empty seats would be filled.
I saw a good chunk of the Nationwide race on Saturday but it was a bore. Kyle Busch had the field covered and there was never any doubt that he would win. I saw a portion of the Truck race on Friday and that, too, was a bore because of Busch. The Nationwide and Truck regulars really need to find a way to take his ass out so they can have a chance when he competes. He's just too strong at the moment.
Pocono is up next for the Sprint Cup Series, which will be on TNT (thank Jesus). The Nationwide Series doesn't race again until June 16th at Michigan. The Trucks race this Friday at Texas.
Over in Indycar the series raced on both Saturday and Sunday at the Belle Isle street course in Detroit. The race on Saturday was okay for a street race. Will Power won the race, but there was plenty of action in the back of the pack as drivers tried to figure out ways to pass. I had high hopes for Josef Newgarden but he crashed. Graham Rahal shocked the world by finishing second (he actually challenged for the lead a bit at the end). And Tony Kanaan, who is having a terrible year with Chip Ganassi, finally had a good day and finished third. And Mike Conway, who won at Detroit last year, looked god for the first part of the race, but then he, like Newgarden, crashed and he was done.
The race on Sunday was, in general, a bore. Will Power should have been benched for taking out four cars in the first corner on the first lap as he had absolutely no business trying to make that move on the first lap (and, as Scott Goodyear said during various replays, Power should have known that driving up on the curb would cause his car to jump left and send any car to the outside of his into the wall). Helio Castroneves, who was fast on Saturday, dominated the day, leading the most laps and showing his car owner that he can win in Detroit. There was some good stuff in the back as Indy 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon had to drive from the rear of the field and Simon Pagenaud tried to make up for the disaster that was Saturday (Pagenaud crashed on the first lap Saturday). And it was kind of fun watching Mikhail Aleshin bully his way to the front, sliding around and almost crashing every lap. And Charlie Kimball finally had a good day, finishing third (his last lap battle with James Hinchcliffe was great stuff). The middle part of the race needed more action.
Texas is up next for Indycar, the second oval of the year. It should be a good show and, hopefully, the race attracts a crowd because it sounds like the series wants to leave the oval and race instead at the Austin F-1 track. The race will be on NBC Sports Saturday night at 8pm EST.
On June 30th he returns...
Well, I think that'll be about it for this issue. B-movies rule, always remember that.
If there's anything you want to see reviewed here in this column, feel free to offer a comment below or send me an e-mail. I'm always on the lookout for new stuff to watch.
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Battle of the Undead
Liron Levo- Doron Yafit Shalev- Noelle Roi Miller- Daniel Emos Ayeno- Moti Amit Leor- Gideon Shira Katzenelenbogen- Michal Gome Sarig- Avner
Directed by Eitan Gafny Screenplay by Eitan Gafny, with script editing by Amit Lior