Friday, June 06, 2008

Movie Review: Army of the Dead

Genre: Action/ Thriller
Director: Joseph Conti
Cast: Ross Kelly, Stephanie Marchese, Miguel Martinez, Mike Hatfield and others

How many treasure hunting movies can you recall? Quite a few I am sure. There have been quite a few movies about Inca treasure and how adventurers have been trying to get at it from time to time. From Mackenna’s Gold in 1969 to the Army of the Dead in 2008 the story has remained the same, groups of treasure hunters seek out the gold, find it and then fight over it, and at the end of the movie only the hero and heroine remain alive. Well Army of the Dead is a movie with a similar plot but with a little difference, here the hero and heroine don’t get any treasure at the end.

Army of the Dead has all the elements of intrigue, death, gore, death and heroics, but somehow fails to make its mark. While the movie is entertaining, with fast paced screenplay and enough thrilling action to keep you at the edge of the seat, it has nothing new to offer. It is quite understandable that it didn’t do very well in the box office.

The movie starts off with a group of students set out on an off-road driving cum camping outing into the deserts of Mexico. The trip is organized as a surprise birthday party for one of the students by classmates and their professor. But the professor has an ulterior motive, he wants to go into the Mexican wilderness and search for the ancient treasure. If it was just a treasure to be hunted it would be easy, but this cache of gold is fiercely guarded by an army of skeletons, who kill anybody and everybody who try to steal their gold. Whenever someone gets close to the gold, the stars turn black and the moon turns red and the army of skeletons is unleashed upon the treasure hunters.

Does the screenplay sound familiar? Of course it does, we saw armies of skeletons in The Mummy, The Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness. Now coming back to the Army of the dead, the skeletons in this movie are invincible, bullets do little harm, but fire does burn them to embers and electricity shocks them out of their wits.

The story is the same old plot, so there is nothing new in that. The acting is quite mediocre. I particularly hated the part when Miguel Martinez (the professor) gets a shock attack and starts jabbering and mumbling in praise of the army of skeletons and that nobody can escape. The love triangle in the film is totally unnecessary and the mercenaries hired by professor to help in getting at the treasure are pathetic.

In the final judgment I would give this flic 2.5 out of 5. Hopefully next time around Joseph Conti will do a better job of choosing the star cast and also drafting the story.

Here is a trailer of the movie:

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