Dolph Lundgren (AQUAMAN, BLACK WATER) as a mercenary hired to retrieve a rich man’s daughter. We’ve seen this before but could be interesting. But rather than enemy troops or Russian mobsters, in Battle Of The Damned, the problem is a city full of zombies. And an imminent airstrike to deal with them and the bioweapon that created them. This has my attention. And there are robots, yes robots.
The 15-minute pre-title sequence intercuts Dolph’s taking the assignment and being assured there’s no danger beyond getting past the military blockade and the zombies decimating the men in his team. Of course, he survives and refuses to be evacuated to stay and finish the mission anyway. So much for logic.
We also get to see plenty of zombies being dispatched by multiple methods including stabbing, and not a knife to the head type stabbing but blade to the heart and throat cuttings, (later we’ll get to see the big guy actually choke a zombie out), so we also learn that these zombies don’t play by the usual rules. Granted they’re the result of a bioweapon accident, but it still feels wrong.
Gattling finds Jude (Melanie Zanetti TALKING BACK AT THUNDER) within a few minutes of the credits finally rolling and his men being killed, (how’s that for luck?), but of course there’s a catch. There’s a small group of other survivors led by Duke (David Field CHOPPER) who’s not willing to give up his power to get rescued, a girl who wanders around in nothing but nightgowns, a jealous boyfriend and suddenly you’re wondering why he doesn’t just toss her over his shoulder and run for it. Hell, even after they set him up and leave him for the zombies he still comes back to save all their asses.
And it’s after they head out, (and almost an hour into the movie), that the robots show up. They look like something out of a 50’s film, (and are leftovers from director Christopher Hatton’s previous film ROBOTROPOLIS). Like a Deux ex Machina with them as both the Deux and the machina, they appear out of nowhere just in time to help our heroes escape in one piece. Despite the impact they make in the trailer they really are underwhelming in Battle Of The Damned itself, although seeing Dolph getting them to say “We kick zombie ass” is great.
Apart from that, Dolph looks pretty convincing kicking zombie ass and actually looks better than he has in anything besides THE EXPENDABLES films recently. It’s kind of hard to say about one of the actors who inspired me to get my ass in the gym back in the day, but he’s been looking pretty ratty in some of his recent films. He looks great for a guy of 61 who hasn’t gone Stallone’s route of massive steroid and HGH use. But as a killing machine, he’s been a bit less than convincing lately. It may be time for him to start directing more, (he’s already directed six of his films) and acting less.
When all is said and done BATTLE OF THE DAMNED is a mashup of the horror and action genres that doesn’t really succeed as either but if you’re in an undemanding mood and have some beer on hand might be a good time killer.