Summary: Actually horror-film scary, Brad Pitt is handsome, Woman kicks zombie in face.
World War Z is about as Hollywood as you’re going to get this year — Brad Pitt, high budget, explosions, action, etc. etc. YAWN. And despite all the reviews trying to validate it with the “action-adventure” tag, it is clearly a horror film. An actual, enjoyable horror film, although I can understand the confusion at this seeing as it isn’t “brought to us by the creators of Paranormal Activity and/or Insidious.”
Naturally, all the main characters and anyone you’re supposed to give a shit about are as white as snow, aside from maybe Fassbach, the stereotypically loveable British-Indian genius, destined to find the cure yet cut down by his own stupidity so early on that you can forgive the folks at Paramount for not realising he was brown. And yet the inclusion of other countries and ethnicities is at least somewhat hopeful, if not ideal.
Despite the pretty problematic and stereotypical North Korean government-sanctioned torture of pulling out everyone’s teeth to stem the spread of the disease, and the cliché fevered prayer-through-song behind the eventual downfall of the Jerusalem safe-zone, World War Z at least represents the first time I’ve seen the “action star” of a Hollywood film go to the Middle-East for anything other than the blood of villainous “terrorist” types. The scenes set in Israel did not hide from the history and culture of the location or the people, and yet didn’t portray them as wholly alien either. There was obviously some pretty horrendous political messages attached to these scenes, but honestly I can get on board with pretty much anything that critiques American culture. Gerry Lane’s (Brad Pitt) surprise at the realisation that Israel’s walled-in haven was peacefully admitting more refugees, for example, ham-fistedly highlights the dog-eat-dog survival tactics of Philadelphia’s store-looting, RV-stealing mayhem.
Also, regardless of what some people seem to find a laughable plot climax, it was actually somewhat refreshing to see a Hollywood film conclude in Wales. It’s a country that never really gets any time on the silver screen, and realistically, would probably not end up with that many zombies, just due to the sheer remoteness of the place. (Sorry America, but not every single disaster in the world has to be set in New York.)
Whilst Karin Lane, Gerry’s wife and typical mother trope stays safely, obediently and uselessly on the boat with her newly adopted ethnic son, actress Daniella Kertesz is bringing up the women’s’ side of the cast with her bad-ass, buzz-cut lieutenant character, Segen, who amazingly manages to get through the entire film without anyone mentioning that she has a vagina, and literally single-handedly kills at least a dozen zombies. (If the pun is there, I’m going to have to make it, sorry guys.) She also doesn’t fulfil the character of “butch woman who is simply too damaged to be an actual woman or human being”, as the audience does see a certain amount of emotion and pain from her, proving that women don’t have to be even more manly than the men to get to be a hard-core character.
And really, how bad can a film be where the most useless woman in the entire film still manages to kick a zombie in the face off a helicopter and seemingly carries emergency flares with her everywhere, even when she manages to forget her daughter’s asthma medication?