Saturday, November 9, 2013

Cannon Fodder

Our backup theater in North Hollywood played host this year to the Los Angeles Screamfest. Now in it's 13th year, I was not even aware it was a thing until seeing its movies turn up on familiar screens. And I wouldn't have been aware any other way. The After Dark Horror Fest had a billboard/newspaper/radio budget.

But, of course, that's not around any more, and maybe that ad budget is part of why.

The Screamfest features dozens of films shown over a ten day period, so you can't really see them all. I talked The Boy into going to one show, which kind of interestingly turned out to be an Israeli zombie flick.

So, even here, we had subtitles.

Cannon Fodder is a low budget World War Z and unfortunately, that's about all you can say about it. The premise is as hoary as any you'll find: Basically, a mad scientist working for the government created a disease to turn the enemy into zombies, or maybe to turn soldiers into zombies or something.

A special forces squad is required to go into the enemy territory and retrieve the scientist, or maybe just his blood (which for some reason would hold a cure). The Boy called it "Call of Duty: The Movie", based on the movements and capabilities of the team.

The acting is strong here, and the characters are pretty decent, with a conservative Jew, a Russian and an African alongside the squad leader, a disillusioned intelligence agent called in for that one-last-job, and Yafit Shalev (who has a producer credit) as the Scientist's Daughter.

Shalev looked very much like another Israeli actress we've seen recently but is not, in fact, that actress, having no other feature credits than this.

This movie makes a lot of rookie mistakes, sadly, that keep it from ever getting very engaging. Instead of enforcing the movie's strengths, which is the acting, it goes with a more big budget formula of knocking off the characters and having lots of cheesy action sequences and explosions, none of which it had the budget to pull off convincingly.

Like a lot of big budget movies, it's more a series of things-that-happen rather than a logical sequence of events, carefully plotted out.

Even at 90 minutes, it seems to drag on. It was bad enough that The Boy figured that was enough movies for the day, and we would've headed home until I read him the description for the NEXT feature...

(By the way, this movie has some awards attached to it, and some critical praise. I believe that's because the Israeli government is the villain of the piece.)

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