Review: Battle of the Damned / Cert: 18 / Director: Christopher Hatton / Screenplay: Christopher Hatton / Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Melanie Zanetti, David Field / Release Date: December 26th
Biotechnology companies seeking to avoid regulation have found a haven in Southeast Asia. A breach in security of a top-secret research facility unleashes a deadly pathogen into an urban populace. A city is quarantined as the infection quickly spreads, transforming people into rabid carriers, hungry for human flesh...
Max (played stoically by Lundgren, who fits the role like a well-oiled glove) is a take-no-prisoners action hero who throughout The Battle of the Damned goes hand-to-hand and toe-to-toe with the zombie hordes. After the unpleasant deaths of his team mates, Max soon locates Jude. But she has fallen in with a group of survivors, lead by Duke (Field) and calling themselves the Damned (not to be confused with the band of the same name). Duke is torn between doing what is right for the group and his own sense of self-preservation. He is soon at odds with Max over... well, pretty much everything.
As the tensions in the group rise and the zombie menace – in time-honoured fashion – remains never-ending, a platoon of robots show up. Apparently, after a malfunction in their commands, the robots have wandered the city looking for something to do. To the Damned they are a ticket out of the quarantine zone, and what follows is a long and bloody trek across the city that soon becomes a guessing game of who lives and dies.
Battle of the Damned has a low-budget, shaky-cam feel to it and suffers at times from poor directing and questionable acting. But none of that really matters if taken in the spirit in which the film is intended, i.e., as bloody good fun. Watching Dolph handing it to zombies in a no-nonsense, won't- change-my-expression-for-all-the-tea-in-china kind of way, makes for compelling viewing. He even comes up with the occasional outstanding one-liner that could match Bruce Willis any day of the week.
Forget The Walking Dead, Battle of the Damned takes the genre back to its grass roots of horror.