Doomsday's Junk Food Glut

Descent director Neil Marshall steals everything great

Remember that scene in The Warriors where the Turnbull ACs chase the heroes in a pimped-out bus? Whoa! And remember that part in Escape From New York where Snake Plissken pulls the switcheroo on the commander-in-chief? Cool! How about that showdown in The Road Warrior with all the modified hot rods? And the fast zombies from 28 Days Later, and the death-match arena from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome? And what about Excalibur, and Streets of Fire, and Army of Darkness, and, and . . . and so writer-director Neil Marshall (The Descent) cobbles together his third feature, in the manner of a junk-food glutton topping a pizza with French onion dip, ice cream, and four bags of Cool Ranch Doritos. Actually, it's a fascinating conundrum: How can a filmmaker take can't-miss elements from a DVD stash of superior mayhem, smash 'em all together, and not end up with the most! freakin'! awesomest! movie! of ALL! GODDAMN! TIME!!! How? By not creating a single memorable character, decent line, or moment that wasn't lifted from its context in a better movie. You almost have to credit Marshall for the rampaging senselessness of this contraption, which sends a lithe ass-kicker (Rhona Mitra) into plague-ravaged, walled-off 2035 Scotland to fetch a possible antidote: Somehow the director wedges in pus-spurting ghouls, club-wielding punks, human cookouts, motorcycle chases, knights in armor, and gladiator fights, while breezing past matters as trivial as the plenitude of gas in this post-apocalyptic wasteland. I still believe with all my heart that no movie with real car stunts, a tough-chick hero, and a severed head that thunks directly into the camera can be all bad. But this is pushing it.

 
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