Gangsters, Guns, and Zombies

GGZ1

Six people decide to rob a bank on the worst day ever, the day the dead begin rising from their graves, leading to a showdown that will make their ill-gotten goods inconsequential.

It’s a well-known fact that the worst kind of gangsters are the undead kind. It’s not so much because their undead either. Sure, it helps to be undead if you really want to be a gangster type, make yourself look normal enough and people won’t immediately assume you’re a zombie. That might not seem like much, but it does a world of difference if you’re committing a crime or going against a rival gang banger, mobster, or thug that remains among the living. If you can fool someone trying to shoot or stab you for even a short while, then they’ll most likely go for your center of mass instead of aiming for the head. That’s what most people’s instinct tells them to do, go for a person’s midsection and chest, that’s even what police and military personal are taught when being trained in defending themselves. It gives you just enough time to rip out an attacker’s throat when they don’t realize going at your midsection isn’t going to do a damn thing, many a zombified gangster has been saved that way, but that’s not what gives them such vicious, insane brutality, clever planning, and a power most living gangsters only wish they had. No, it’s the fact that once a zombie, all previous ties and any remaining loyalties to the gangs they were a part of disappear. Once they’re dead the only kind of gang that matters is the undead kind. That means they get experience from gangs all over the world. Russian mobsters, Italian Mafia, Hell’s Angels, Yakuza, Triad, Latin Kings, Crips, and Bloods all come together to form one large undead organization, each lending their talents and skill to make for one formidable group. Personally, I try and stay away from them. It’s not necessarily that they’re bad people when it comes to zombie kind, they can actually be quite helpful as long as you’re already dead. They just scare the living hell out of me, or unliving hell, I’m not sure how that phrase works when you’re dead. One thing I will say for them though, no party is ever boring when they’re around, and the drinks are served pretty damn strong, plus their knife tricks are impressive. Now that I think about it, those guys are a blast. Why haven’t I been hanging around them more? I need to get on with this review, they’ve got to be having a party somewhere right now.

Our film begins with a bank robbery gone wrong. Six associates, newbies Danny and Q, Q also being the driver, Tony, the slightly psychotic man in charge, cynical Pat, strongman Muscles, and Crazy Steve, who is, well, crazy, made a plan to score big by robbing what turned out to be a well-guarded bank, and Danny ends up shot, the man now dying in the back of their van as they try desperately to make a getaway. They quickly find out that they have bigger problems than Danny bleeding to death, at some point during their robbery a zombie epidemic began sweeping England, possibly the entire world. They try to take Danny to a hospital to get the help he needs, but the zombies prevent them from getting him medical treatment, and they are forced to flee. Though they are confused about what exactly is happening, they figure that getting to a nearby safe house is most likely their best bet, but Danny expires halfway there. The remaining five members of the robbery team make a stop in some woods they are passing by to give the man a proper burial. Before they can finish his impromptu funeral, Danny reanimates and attacks them, forcing them to not only put him down permanently, but fight off a small group of zombies that assaults them at the same time. After nearly becoming zombie chow, they finally realize that the dead are coming back to life, and they’re going to need to make it to their fortified and weapon stocked safe house if they expect to survive, but in between them and their destination are a horde of the undead, a nearly empty gas tank, and their own mistrust of each other.

GGZ3{Yeah, I wouldn’t have much hope for them either}

Gangsters, Guns, and Zombies reveals a major flaw in the “ZomCom” subgenre of comedic zombie movie, if not well balanced it can fall into silly jokes and bad humor that utterly ruins the experience. I’m a huge fan of humorous zombie movies for the most part, with some of my favorite undead flicks being those in the comedic vein, from bigger name films like Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, and Fido to smaller productions like Deadheads, George: A Zombie Intervention, and Stalled. When done right a zombie movie can work perfectly with comedy, the humor adding an extra layer to what is otherwise a gruesome play on what a human would be stripped down to the basic, instinctual elements. It has to be subtle for it to work right though, otherwise it’s just a ridiculous mess that not only isn’t funny, but isn’t fun to watch either. A great zombie comedy walks a balance between horrific and funny, lean too far to the funny side and the whole thing falls apart, lean too far toward the horrific side and the comedy gets lost. The horror and the comedy intertwine if it’s balanced with both styles complementing each other, the comedy strangely accentuating the horror by lightening the mood, the horror then being all that more shocking because of the lightened mood, and it will go back and forth the entire film so that you end up laughing nearly as much as you end up gasping. Sadly Gangsters, Guns, and Zombies does not have that balance, even the most serious of moments are handled in a silly way that, instead of eliciting a gasp, will only produce a groan. Even the damn zombies act silly, not so much biting anyone, just throttling people before nuzzling up to them, at least that’s what it looked like when they attacked anyone. Then they go out of their way to humorously portray different groups of particular zombies like clown zombies, larping zombies, and rugby zombies. It’s funny when it isn’t used heavy handed, I thought it was hilarious in Cockneys vs. Zombies when they run into two groups of zombified rugby fans who can’t stop fighting each other even as the undead, but when it’s done over and over again it loses the humor quick and becomes kind of annoying. They try far too hard to be funny and fail miserably.

GGZ4

{Yes, that is a larping zombie using real armor instead of the more standard foam}

While the comedy is way over the top, the movie is mostly mediocre, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I sure as hell don’t want the whole movie to be over the top, but it’s kind of boring otherwise, for the most part anyways. The last half an hour of the movie is surprisingly good considering how bad the rest is. The bad comedy even calms down in the last half hour, and the film picks up in pace and enjoyment. The first hour on the other hand, or almost an hour, it’s actually about fifty minutes or so, is just our bank robbers in a van driving toward their safe house, stopping along the way to try and bury Danny, fight groups of zombies, and obtain more gas. It’s all rather boring to be honest, I kept waiting for something to happen and nothing really does. You instead get stuck listening to what I imagine someone thought would be clever dialogue, but is more inane banter mainly involving the bank robbers swearing at each other for long periods of time, thinking themselves witty by seeing how many times they can add “fuck” to a sentence. Sure, they make stops along the way where things get heated, but those stops are always full of the bad comedy frequent throughout the film, don’t last very long before they’re back in the van acting like British versions of goodfellas, and feature horrible looking zombies that spend more time half ass slapping people than trying to eat them. Seriously, these zombies look terrible. It’s bad enough that the actors hired to portray the zombies do an awful job with their parts, coming across just as silly as the rest of the movie, but the makeup used to design them is lazy and poorly conceived. They don’t look dead so much as tired, with awful contacts like the cool kids used to wear back in the late 90’s, the ones that kind of glowed with a tiny black dot in the middle of an overly white eye. I don’t know why I was so surprised considering how bad the effects were. Expect lots of bad CGI that doesn’t come anywhere close to looking realistic or well done, the overly red, computer generated blood actually floats in the air when someone is shot or otherwise made to bleed. It was almost like they didn’t even care. My fourteen year old cousin can do better work on their laptop in a afternoon. I’m guessing that laziness is why the living spend more time punching the zombies then trying to shoot or bludgeon them. I’m pretty sure with the amount of times our bank robbers get into fist fights with the undead they would have all ended up zombies themselves, punching a zombie in the mouth being a pretty quick route to contracting the infection yourself.

GGZ2{Those contacts look awful}

With everything done wrong, there was one thing done right, the actors used to portray the surviving group of bank robbers are very good, making you enjoy their characters despite the bad dialogue during their van ride. Muscles, the group’s strongman who seems to be the smartest in the group despite not being very bright, was so great in fact that you almost instantly loved his character. These had to be talented people to do well in a movie this bad. Still, with so much done wrong, I wouldn’t recommend bothering with this one. Gangsters, Guns, and Zombies is a boring, poorly written film with awful effects and even worse zombies. With the amount of other zombie flicks you could be watching, there is no reason to waste time on this one.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: Matt Mitchell (It Never Sleeps, Kuklops)

Starring: Vincent Jerome (Gone Wrong, The Devil’s in the Details), Huggy Leaver (Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Gun of the Black Sun), Frank Rizzo (Doghouse, Modern Life is Rubbish), and Charlie Rawes (It Never Sleeps, Skiptrace)

Written By: Matt Mitchell (It Never Sleeps, Kuklops) and Taliesyn Mitchell (It Never Sleeps, The Rizen)

Released By: LMV Productions and XLrator Media

Release Year: 2012

Release Type: Straight to Video

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Rotten Heads: One and a Half Rotten Heads Out of Five

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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