Wednesday, September 05, 2007

28 Weeks Later

The verdict: An admirable attempt at building on Danny Boyle's acclaimed not-a-zombie-movie-but-may-as-well-be: '28 Days Later', this is entertaining stuff, but falls well short of the original.

The rating: 5/10

Sometimes, sequels are easy. In the early nineties, James Cameron certainly seemed to think so. Despite Ridley Scott's 'Alien' and his own 'The Terminator' both being recognised by audiences and critics alike as excellent movies, he arguably followed both with better films (in my book anyway). More recently, Paul Greengrass proved it was possible, with each Bourne movie he makes seemingly better than the one that came before, and you might remember the first one wasn't all that bad either.

With '28 Days Later' though, I always felt that it was going to be a tough gig for whoever it was that picked up the reins left slack by the polyvalent Danny Boyle. Boyle seemingly never revisits a genre once he hits his marks, and wasn't interested in making the sequel to '28 Days Later'. That movie was a breath of fresh air for a genre dominated by dull, formulaic remakes ('Land of the Dead', anyone?). It featured the now iconic scenes of Cillian Murphy wandering through a deserted London city centre, and a chilling virus known only as 'the rage'. Nice. It was also a very uncomfortable movie to watch, with the army barracks scenes in particular harbouring genuinely nasty undertones, to the point where you're rooting for the monsters over those creepy soldiers..

The director of 28 Weeks Later is no slouch though, and bizarrely, his movie 'Intacto' provided me with the orignal inspiration for this blog. Apparently I went to see it, but I have absolutely no memory of it, except, ahem, that it was pretty good... (What a review! - Ed). Hence the decision to record each individual reaction, lest I forget another! Anyway, the director also received executive producer Danny Boyle's stamp of approval, and he even borrowed 'Sunshine's Rose Byrne for one of the lead roles.

So, to the question, where do you go from '28 Days Later?', the answer, apparently, is back to London. The virus has apparently disappeared (yeah, right) and the U.S. Military are in to restore order (Fuck Yeah! - Ed) They're doing their best to rebuild, but we know it'll all go horribly wrong, and it quickly does.

If you thought the hand-held cameras in 'The Bourne Ultimatum' were annoying, then I would recommend you stay away from this movie. The jerky hand held makes the chases seem more visceral, and the rage-infected seem more frantic, but jaysis if it doesn't half get a bit tiresome after a while!

The tension is maintained for around an hour or so, but I felt it lost its way towards the end, particularly when a few bad decisions are made. I feel that if I found myself in a horror movie scenario, I wouldn't decide to hide out in a subway station where it was too dark to see anything. But hey, that's just me.

The end is teasingly left wide open for a third instalment, and stranger things have happened. However, with this movie I think we already have a good example of the law of diminishing returns in action, and the horse has been sufficiently flogged in my opinion. It's not by any means an offensive sequel, but the original was way better. Undemanding entertainment with a few good scares, but was possibly always going to be lacking the originality that made the first instalment so special.

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