Sunday, December 16, 2007

Meat Market – review

Director: Brian Clement

Release date: 2000

Contains spoilers

For the first thirty minutes or so of this flick you would be well within your rights in wondering what I was doing reviewing this. For the first thirty minutes this is a standard, low budget zombie flick with the walking dead taking over a city and spreading their plague in the ubiquitous shambly way that zombies do. Then Clement decides to throw everything, bar the kitchen sink, into the mix. Including vampires.

Yet strangely, despite this attempt to throw everything at the film, there is very little in way of story – plenty of back-story and lore but precious little plot. As I say, for the first thirty or so minutes we follow the exploits of Argenta (Claire Westby) and Shahrokh (Paul Pedrosa) as they fight to survive the encroaching zombie plague. Of course, they had a heads up as they were mercenaries for the company that accidentally unleashed the rotting menace.

We get various scenes of the plague spreading and, to be honest, sometimes it is too much. Characters we don’t know and care less about appearing for a few seconds. Gratuitous sex scenes, for no reason other than to titillate, lots of gore – which given the alleged $2000 budget was very well done, okay it looks like crap but for the money they went above and beyond. Our two gun wielding heroes hold up in a bunker in the desert.

Then Argenta decides that she wants to find her sister – 'cause like that’s going to happen (and if it did it might be a spoiler!) – and they head back into the devastated city. Whilst there they meet three women, Valeria (Teresa Simon), Tiamat (Chelsey Arentsen) and Nemesis (Alison Therriault), whom they take back to the bunker, where they reveal they are vampires.

Yup, just like that – although we have already seen the fangs and, of course, they are wearing PVC. Someone really needs to make a decent vampires vs zombies movie, as the film of that name really didn’t have much vampire killing zombie action. This, unfortunately, is not the one.

The girls are vampires but we see little vampiric power. To get into a closed room Tiamat turns to mist – that’s about it. They are less than pleased that the zombies are zombifying their food supply and zombie blood tastes awful. For some not really explored reason they have ray-guns and the sun makes them feel off. Hmm... Yes they are vampires, but they could just be angry Goths for all the good that does.

We also discover that they are lesbian vampires (well, truthfully, bisexual but whose counting). This occurs when another character thrown into the mix declares them vampiros lesbos. This character is El Diablo Azul (Cam Pipes, voiced by Ivan Meade) a Mexican wrestler.

Regular readers will know I have a soft spot for Mexican wrestling movies but what was the point? He refers to Santo at one point and fought the vampires in Mexico years before and, yes, he does use wrestling moves on the zombies. The problem here is that it just isn’t funny – perhaps it was meant to be but, if so, the humour missed the mark. The character is obviously dubbed – thus his voice is actually easier to hear than the other dialogue – no boom mikes were used and the main dialogue is very low in the mix.

As for the zombies. Well someone watched too much Star Trek Voyager. They have been created through infection (by bite only it seems) with nano-machines, designed to eat diseased tissue that have taken over their hosts and made zombies out of them. They thus have a collective consciousness – making bee-lining for survivors easier and explaining why (when they took an injured soldier back to the bunker) the zombies found the good guy’s hideout. It might also explain why one talks at the end – informing the heroes that “This is our world now. You cannot stop us.” To be honest, walking dead with no further explanation would have done. There is a suggestion that the cold of winter should destroy them by destroying the nanos but, as the film progresses, head shots are the order of the day.

I mentioned the sound being awful but the dialogue is rubbish and the acting as wooden as Hell. That doesn’t matter so much in a zombie flick, I guess, but I still feel there should be an underlying story – and one without plot jumps, just how did the split up group of heroes find each other in a random flat? The film just meanders with no direction. I guess shooting straight onto video doesn’t help either as it looks fairly rubbish.

I’m still waiting for a decent vampire vs zombie flick. 2.5 out of 10 for efforts above and beyond given the budget.

The imdb page is here.

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