18th Dec2013

‘Battle of the Damned’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Dolph Lundgren, Melanie Zanetti, Matt Doran, David Field, Jen Sung, Lydia Look, Oda Maria, Esteban Cueto, Broadus Mattison | Written and Directed by Christopher Hatton


As fans of action movies we have to sit through some truly horrible movies just to enjoy the scenes where a big action hero makes his appearance and makes some smart assed comment.  This is what I thought I’d be getting with Battle of the Damned.  The thing is though, when you put Dolph Lundgren, robots and some questionable zombies together you actually get quite a good movie!

When a city is destroyed by a deadly viral outbreak it is shut off from the outside world.  A few survivors hold up in the city, one of them being Jude (Melanie Zanetti) the daughter of the man who created the virus that now traps her.  To save the girl Max Gatling (Dolph Lundgren) is hired to save the girl and get her out of the city before it is destroyed.

Dolph Lundgren is an actor who may not be the best, but he knows his limitations and knows just how to play the action hero.  In Battle of the Damned he plays the last of a squad of soldiers with one task, to get the daughter of the man who has hired them out of the city before it is destroyed.  It doesn’t take too much acting ability to play the role, especially when all he has to do is kick a few zombies in the head, but he has help in the form of robots.  These robots at first do feel shoehorned into the plot, but it’s not long before we see their purpose. Lundgren has to save the people, the robots are the ultimate zombie ass kickers and they do their job well.

When not focusing on the action Battle of the Damned does tend to drag though. Duke (David Field) is a character that tries to keep order and save the small community he has built around him.  He’s not the most intelligent of characters and most of the time tends to be annoying.  You do understand him though to a point and can see why he does what he does, but in the end he’s an impotent plot tool that we’d not actually miss if they forgot to write him in.  Too many films like Battle of the Damned create characters that I’d describe as mini-Napoleons, and their little empires fall too easy.  It’s a shame that we have to rely on characters like that.

Although Battle of the Damned is a film that focuses on action there are times that it pulls away from that, and for the most part although it fails as a viewer it’s easy to understand why they are there.  The fact is the little community of survivors have to escape, Max Gatling is the only way they’ll do it even if Duke fights that basic fact.  It’s nice to see that a little reality pushes them to make a move, and more importantly that the characters actually have a heart.

I’m not going to say Battle of the Damned is a masterpiece, it’s far from that.  There are a lot of flaws in the movie and some predictable plot elements that push the film along, but for the most part we can focus on Dolph Lundgren as the action hero and forgive the rest of the movie for not living up to his glory (yes, I’m joking). Battle of the Damned is a film that looks to entertain, and when you have Dolph Lundgren and robots vs zombies how can it fail? The answer is it doesn’t.

Battle of the Damned is released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 26th

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