What I'm Watching: Age of the Living Dead

British show on Amazon Prime, and it often shows in their hilariously inept, incompetent, outright stupid misunderstandings of US distances, environments, politics, and military forces, and many of the actors can't manage an American accent. Best not to take this seriously.

Vampire plague spreads across the eastern US, Humans flee West, and somehow, explained in ham-fisted exposition, there's a no-man's-land established across the Midwest, borders with Canada & Mexico walled off, and mighty England and China embargo communications and shipping.

So, the vampires are the least fantastical element here. The orange cheeto criminal's border wall with Mexico is a fiasco, and somehow during an emergency plague they accomplish this and thousands of miles of Canada are also walled off? No. Anyone on Earth is capable of stopping US warships from leaving? No; and that it's China is incredibly funny, since they have one of the world's worst navies. If it was Russians at least it'd be competent if underpaid, underequipped sailors & ships. Anyone's capable of stopping US-owned satellites from sending and receiving? No, the ESA and Russia together might conceivably be able to take out US satellites, but it'd be WW3. And why block comms for 10 years? It makes no sense. Vampires can do business as well as corporate executives can (who can tell the difference?), and they can't suck your blood on a phone call.

At one point a vamp Predator drone shoots missiles at a Human base; except it's launched from New York, and the base is in New Mexico, 1800 miles away. Predators have an operational range of 777 miles (according to Wikipedia, I didn't go all Jane's Guide on this). The writers are uneducated children.

Why didn't they set this somewhere plausible, like Australia, or England? You could cut off AU with some effort and no border walls, their states are isolated enough making the outback no-man's-land is doable, and they have almost no ability to project their military outside their continent except to murder boat refugees.

Using England treads on 28 Days Later, and the vamps could just swim or walk underwater across the Channel or to Ireland, but mine a couple military harbors and it could be patrolled. England has minimal air & rocket capability, and their navy's fine for murdering Argentine farmers but not able to fight the US or Russia.

So back to this increasingly preposterous show. An arrangement has the Humans somehow get fed even though the best farmland is in the no-man's-land, and donate blood to the vampires every Sunday to keep peace.

The vampires of course call themselves names like Viktor and Viggo, and dress like dead Eastern European aristocrats, and play shitty baroque chamber music while torturing and draining Human victims because of course that's what vamps do. I love these shit-sucking vampires. Most of them are burned by sunlight, and their hunters use the Blade trick of full biker leathers and helmets to go out in the Sun. They even have a classical Renfield named Jared or Neal or something, at least for a while. Their leaders call themselves Elders, and claim to be immortal and ancient, but I think they're just LARPing, same shitty infected Humans as the wild ones. There's no way actual immortals would be this exposed, but someone who just got their shit together after being turned might be this dumb.

The vamps would benefit the most from being set in England. Aristocrats turned vampire eating the peasantry is no different from what they've done for 953 years since the Norman invasion (and the Danes, Saxons, and Romans did to the native Britons/Welsh before that). Walling off Scotland is possible, Emperor Hadrian did it with Roman technology. Having a delusional inbred English monarch (but I repeat myself) try to run the Crown in exile in Scotland or Wales, while the vamps rule London & the South, would make this story make sense and have some historical parallels. Some depth.

Instead we get the worst fake President I've ever seen in a movie. She's obviously cast to be a Hillary imitation, but the total opposite: meek, quiet, stupid, and wants to tend to her garden, passively takes all sorts of shit from the military goons (who are completely implausible as active service Generals), and leaks vital intelligence to the vamps, like a female Chauncey Gardiner.

The fight scenes are adequate but cartoony. The vamps are strong and fast, and vamp-on-vamp fights are over quick; the fight choreography is OK. They don't have any gore, though, this is strictly PG. Guns do nothing much, so it's bizarre that the Humans carry rifles; now, realistically I think they should tear the vamps to shreds and we'd maybe see them regenerate? Or they could have white phosphorus tracer rounds, or flamethrowers; or wooden bullets, if that's what works. But this is just like firing blanks. The soldiers also have no military discipline, they don't form fire teams, they don't find cover, they just stand around firing at random until a vamp leaps in and gives them a hickey, which is apparently enough to kill someone. Couldn't the filmmakers get even British Army consultants to help them?

I've put up with 2 eps so far, so I'll probably finish this just to watch the vamps chew scenery, but it's really really dumb.
★★½☆☆


More great vampire flicks of the past:

Lost Boys (1987): "One thing I never could stand about Santa Carla, all the damned vampires." Best soundtrack in any vampire movie, but a lot of it is just goths on bikes in California, not "vampires" as such. The Frog Brothers are big damn heroes. Some of the best vampire fights in any movie.
★★★★½

Blade (1998), and Blade Trinity (2004). Not brilliant, but always fun, Snipes does a fantastic run as Blade, and the vamps are powerful, crazy, and smart. And I love ♥ Parker Posey ♥, and for different reasons Kris Kristofferson, so hell yeah. Little baby Ryan Reynolds playing Hannibal King from the comics was fun, he was still in his pre-Deadpool b-movie days. Blade II is unbearably stupid, though Ron Perlman does redeem it a little bit.
★★★½☆

Ultraviolet (1998) was right on the edge of being silly. They're one of the main drivers of "not saying the word vampire", with Code Five and such. Idris Elba's a dignified dude, but pretty much everyone else was whiny or comedic. The vamps had no personality or real motive, just coming out like cockroaches and trying to take over. But the hunters are smart, use plausible science and technology, and pay attention to what the vampires can and can't do.
★★★★☆

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