Wednesday, April 7, 2010

'Against the Dark' is weak all around

Against the Dark (2009)
Starring: Jenna Harrison, Skye Bennett, Emma Catherwood, Stephen Hagan, Daniel Percival, Danny Midwinter and Steven Seagal
Director: Richard Crudo
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

A plague that turns humans into crazed cannibals has swept the planet. Martial arts master Tao (Seagal) and his band of warriors sweep the city for survivors and help them evacuate to military posts in the coutryside. But will his attempt to rescue hapless survivors from a zombie-infested hospital before the Army bombs the area to rubble lead to all their deaths?

"Against the Dark" is Steven Seagal's second foray into horror movies... and it's a rather sad affair. Seagal once again shows that he is unable to handle the physical demands of extended fight scenes anymore. Based on his performance here, I wonder if he's even able to walk more than a few steps before needed to sit down, because that's basically all he does: He walks down streets, walks down halls, and waves a sword around in front of the camera in an attempt to make it look like he's actually engaging stuntmen in fights. This is no "Resident Evil", "Underworld" or even "Blade".

But, Seagal's insistence on embarrassing himself instead of finding a different niche within the world of film production is a fairly small part of the overall picture. Most of the film is spent following a group of generic survivors who are (for reasons that make absolutely no sense) trying to make their way through a hospital to the back door of the parking garage. The mutant zombies must be scared of driveways or something along those lines. These survivors are so generic and uninteresting that I've already lost the ability to keep them straight in my mind, with the exception of lead survivor/victim-to-be-rescued Jenna Harrison and the obligatory cute survivor kid Skye Bennett.

With the generic nature of the characters comes a state of being uninteresting. Couple that with a boring script that borrows from superior movies (ranging from "Dawn of the Dead" through "Resident Evil" and even "House of the Dead" [although that latter film is only slightly better than this one)) and is 100 percent predictable from beginning to end. The film is so badly written that they can't even properly pull off what should be a chilling moment--when one of the main characters returns as one of the zombies--and instead ends up like a ho-hum bit of violence punctuated by a lame quip.

You can read reviews of other Steven Seagal films at Watching the Detectives by clicking here.

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