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"28 Weeks Later"

Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo.
Written by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Rowan Joffe, Jesus Olmo and Enrique Lopez Lavigne.
Starring Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner and Idris Elba.
Release Year:  2007
Review Date:  5/15/07


Hey, for a sequel, "28 Weeks Later" does enough of what made the first film, "28 Days Later", great, even if it does it in a different way.  Sure, we get crazy, flesh-eating "zombies"--conveniently re-imagined as a virus, to allow for these zombies to run just as fast as normal humans--but, we also get to imagine a world where quarantine has changed the lifestyle of those who have managed to survive in this apocalyptic vision of the near future.

Strangely, the plot of "28 Weeks Later" is a nearly-exact ripoff of the most recent "____ of the Dead" zombie film, "Land of the Dead", as we get to see a world where a major city has zoned off one neighborhood to make itself a "safe zone" where, in "28 Weeks Later", the US military has taken over following the awful events of the first film.  Led by the exacting Commander Stone (Idris Elba, from "The Wire"), the American military is trying to make sure that the few hundred survivors of the initial "Rage" virus epidemic are clean and able to start their new life in their old home of London.  Meanwhile, the safe zone's administrative chief, a bloke named Don (Robert Carlyle) who escaped a pretty tight zombie situation to open the film, waits at the safe zone's train station for his two young children (Imogen Poots and Mackintosh Muggleton), fresh off the boat from somewhere safe.  Thanks to some incredibly poor decision making, some people get infected, all hell breaks loose, and then the movie turns into an action film as we follow a handful of survivors as they try to make a break out of England altogether.

The scares in "28 Weeks Later" are mostly solid (although nothing beats that opening number) and the overall character acting was slightly better than in the original.  Elba has presence, no doubt, and Carlyle is as reliable as always; the supporting cast members (and, the ones we follow for the majority of the film's second half) are good enough to make this thing roll, thanks mainly to Jeremy Renner and Rose Byrne, who lead the group of survivors on their way out of town to avoid being chomped by zombies and firebombed by the military.  The kid actors aren't bad, innocents die quite well, and the general pacing of things really kept me on edge, much like the first film.  The editing is almost as violent as the slaughter, with all of the crazy camerawork and angles we get as we try to watch people getting chomped; this did not make me sick, but it should have, that's for sure.

And, as brains-turned-to-mute entertainment, this is all you ask of "28 Weeks Later" anyway--a good-looking, low-cal thriller where, even when it's over, you know you could watch five more movies like this if they were reasonably well made, and the ending leaves an opening for that.  You realize afterwards that much of the killing was amazingly senseless and a decision by one of the kids at the very end of the film leaves you a bit confused, but those are just details, right?  If you like a changeup to PG-13 "action" films and the inevitable family fare coming down the pipe over the next few weeks, check this one out...

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09