The following is a reaction to the film 28 Weeks Later that I posted on a forum years back:
I watched 28 Weeks Later last night.
I had reservations as it seemed an unnecessary sequel to me and likely to just be for the money. Hadn’t heard great things about it either.
However it was better than I expected. The opening is very good, and not just the immediate opening where a group of people hiding in a home are attacked and overrun, leading to something one character regrets deeply. It is a sharp and shocking start, and that chase scene must have been scary just to act out!
But the rest of the beginning of the movie was good too, with the UK being repopulated, or part of it anyway, and NATO forces keeping it safe.
We also have Robert Carlyle, who I think is one of the best British actors around, and I do mean one of THE best. I think he is brilliant; totally immerses himself in the character he plays each time, can be normal or spooky or mad or jovial. This man has been Hamish MacBeth, Colonel Ives, Begbie, a cold Russian killer, a Scouse murderer on a crusade, that affable Scouse bloke in 52nd State, a good hearted criminal in Face, and so on.
Anyway, he’s really good in this, in an unexpected way too, which I can’t talk about without giving too much away. But it really helps to have a movie based on a good, flawed character played by someone like him. The new life, his kids coming back, the American soldiers overseeing everything – the movie has promise.
Unfortunately I don’t think it fulfils that promise. The beginning is the best of it. It stays good, with matters moving on quickly and some vicious scenes taking place, but it does go into a kind of standard ‘zombie’ flick. People get killed off, including a whiney bloke who you know from the moment you see him that he’s going to die trying to save himself, and you don’t get a chance to have any further depth to the characters.
This movie becomes about the kids and, to be honest, I was never that bothered about them. Others come and go and I liked that in a way, it was different, but then you can’t get attached to any of them.
I did think this movie could have been different. More about the attempts to restart normality and protect from infection, how people and soldiers interact. I also thought the major plot point was never explained or analysed further. Something happens, no one knows why, and they never do. That can be good, life doesn’t come with answers for everything, but when you break your own rules that cleanly you should have something to patch over the wound.
It is a good movie. It tries to keep the more subdued tone that the first one had, and that music they bring in for the dramatic scenes still gets the pulse racing, but it could have been better. The situation they set up at first gets washed aside to become yet another group of survivors running from baddies.
When the end came I just went ‘oh, is that it?’ and that’s not good. Worth watching, kind of.
So back to the present, and I can’t help thinking about other movies I felt this way about. The Descent 2, for instance. Not that bad of a movie I guess, but nothing like the first and only serving to lessen it. It also followed on from the American ending, which had the main character leave the caves. The original and proper ending is much better. Honestly, I don’t even see why it was changed. I know enough Americans to know they can handle dark endings. Anyone who can’t shouldn’t be watching the Descent in the first place.
Anyway, I found the Descent 2 to be bland and annoying me for existing only.
Oh, which brings to mind Battle Royale 2. Oh my word. I honestly think that movie is the worst sequel ever made. It has to be up there for worst movie too, but the fact it follows such a good film is what bugs the hell out of me. BR2 has none of the social commentary of the first. None of the personality. It is just a rant about the USA. They never say the USA, only ‘that land’, but it is clear what it is about. I think even the most anti-American person in the world would get fed up with the way this movie carries on bleating as if everything wrong can be traced to one place, one people. If you have seen Battle Royale and loved it and not seen the second, and you’re thinking: hmmm, could be worth a watch – NO! Don’t watch it. Waste of time and it could affect your view of the first, simply by springing to mind when you think of it.
On the plus side, I would heartily recommend the book Battle Royale. It fleshed out certain characters more. The main bad boy is very different in it too.
So hooray for the Descent, 28 Days Later, Battle Royale and Robert Carlyle.
Boo to pointless sequels that are mere cash grabs without any creativity or intelligence behind them.