Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Watching the Clock with Osombie: The Axis of Evil Dead: A Movie Review

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*a screener of this film was provided by Signature Entertainment.

Director: John Lyde.

Writer: Kurt Hale.

Cast: Corey Sevier, Eve Mauro and Jasen Wade.

"Why are there no Walmarts in Afghanistan? Because, there is a Target on every corner." Sadly, this is as good as the jokes get in John Lyde's Osombie: The Axis of Evil Dead. This reviewer had some hopes that this film would be a little more comedic. After all, the source material involves Osama Bin Laden returned from the dead as a zombie. Unfortunately the film focuses only on some light banter between a squad of American special forces, who are sometimes strangely shirtless. The Osombie needed a devious plan to keep events tense; maybe then, the film would not have shambled about so much.

The film starts off in Pakistan at Osama Bin Laden's final hideout. The American squad goes in by helicopter and they face a horde of the undead. Osama has been playing biological scientist. One of the troops becomes infected and before you can say George A. Romero, Osama is building a second zombie army in the Afghanistan desert. And here comes a semi-nude squad to the rescue.

For a film whose target audience is young men, it seems a strange choice to have actor Corey Sevier without some of his clothes through half of his scenes. When Sevier as Chip is shooting the enemy, he is shirtless. When Chip is performing field surgery, he is without his shirt. When chip is spelunking, he is shirtless. Perhaps Sevier just finished a new workout regime and he wanted to show off the results. Or, someone in the film crew has some burgeoning homo-erotic tendencies. Either way, it seems strange for one of the characters to strip at ever opportunity. He definitely lives up to his nickname, chippendale to some eye-browing raising effect.

And Osombie: The Axis of Evil Dead also lives up to being an action film (and not much more). This reviewer has never seen so many zombie heads blown off by CGI gunfire. The tank on the United Kingdom DVD cover (seen above) is a misnomer as there are no tanks in the movie. However, there are CGI ships and helicopters. Your love or hate for CGI might, in fact, make or break this film for you. As well, there are comedic bits here. The character Joker (Paul D. Hunt) is constantly spouting lines such as "what was a murderer's final request on the electric chair. To hold the warden's hand." Groan. There are no real set-ups for jokes, but they come through in the dialogue. The horror only comes from the undead, but there really is no terror here and essentially this is a film of action only. This is most apparent when the cast dwindles from a dozen to only a few.

This reviewer's attention also dwindled as the film wore on. Director John Lyde seems to fill his scenes with repetitive battles between the special forces squad and the army of undead. After seeing the hundredth zombie offed by head shot, there is this bubbling desire to see something unique or different. That want is never satisfied. Instead, there are more scenes of the desert and ever more scenes of blood splatter via CGI enhancement. Perhaps this film was meant as a celebratory feature now that the threat of Osama Bin Laden has been removed. Because the film offers very little else.

Osombie: The Axis of Evil Dead is low on budget and low on affect. The film never realizes the horror of having Osama Bin Laden return from the dead. The film crew also does not seem to fully utilize the potential of Osama as a zombie. He is always out of camera shot and rarely threatening. An Osombie might be funny for a moment or too, but after eighty plus minutes the joke just seems stale (or rotten).

Overall: 6 out of 10 (the focus is on the dialogue and action, the antagonist is underdeveloped, predictable, repetitive scenes).

More details on the film are available here:

Osombie at Signature Ent.

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