FTP: Redcon-1 (2018)

JULY 18, 2019


I'll give Redcon-1 this much: for an independent zombie movie, it has better production value than I'm used to seeing. The cast is huge, the zombies are plentiful, and the characters are almost constantly on the move, so in terms of scope, it's clearly not a "hey we have this office building and my buddy knows how to do makeup so let's make a zombie movie" kind of deal like you unfortunately can run into in this post-Walking Dead world. Unfortunately that also ties into its most crippling flaw: it's kind of an overlong mess, too - they could have saved some money on the budget AND had a better movie if the script was reigned in a bit.

Coming in just under two hours, the movie is another "there's a scientist who might have the cure for zombieism and we need to rescue them" men on a mission movie that any good zombie movie fan has seen before (possibly seen *enough* by now)... but only for its first half, by which point most of the men (and one woman) are dead. Then it becomes a more "personal stakes" kinda deal, as our hero is trying to save a little girl who might also be the key to the whole thing, but they're both targeted by an evil human (sigh) who wants to wipe them and the rest of the area out to contain it. This is another scenario you've seen countless times, but the two don't blend together as much as director Chee Keong Cheung (who also wrote with two others) probably hoped - it's more like the movie just changes gears entirely.

This means that the rather action-packed first half slows down for flashback scenes (many of which exist to re-contextualize things we have already seen) and an increasing absence of zombies, which is an odd choice for a fairly long film. You'd think they'd want to go the other way, slowly building up to an all-action second half and sending us out pumped (or at least, forgiving of its slower first hour) but instead I found myself getting restless at the point where my investment should be at its highest. It doesn't help that the characters are largely generic stock characters and the constant movement means we're still meeting new people in the 3rd act (a woman who plays a crucial role for the finale is barely seen beforehand; she's like 12th billed but if one were to just watch the final 15 minutes they'd assume she was the 2nd lead). Maybe it was a planned TV show that got scaled down for a movie?

But again, it looks pretty good (save for some bad digital blood - they have a lot of the real kind too thankfully) and was rarely flat out boring, so if you're in the mood for some mid-grade zombie action it should suffice. And if you're a fan of the cinema of 1997, you should be happy as it has what seems to be a direct homage to Con Air as well as "Female of the Species" from Austin Powers over the end credits, for some reason (a song that's most recognizable line is "the female of the species is more deadly than the male" is a weird choice for a movie where a female is the key to humanity's survival and the men do the majority of the ass-kicking). However, this just reminded me of a time when zombie movies were much harder to come by - had it COME OUT in 1997 maybe I would have had more fun with it on novelty alone. Nowadays, there's just not a lot here to separate it from the others.

What say you?


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