Humans being forced to fight zombies in modern day gladiator matches. Sounds like a winner doesn’t it? Unfortunately this film doesn’t get to that point until nearly two thirds of the film is over and the road to that point is long, confusing and strewn with terrible CGI.
The majority of the film takes place in a single apartment block in Taipei, where all of the film’s many characters and story lines come together. Unfortunately there are just way to many of them involving way to many poorly developed characters and it quickly becomes hard to keep track of who’s who or to really care. There’s a bunch of rappers celebrating an album release with some groupies, a kindly teacher having a party for his daughter and of her friends, kidnappers and their victim, a drug smuggling operation and a mostly corrupt SWAT team out to bust them. So we have sex, murder, horribly cliched “gangsta” dialogue, crosses, double crosses, gun play, rape, explosions and in the middle of it all, zombies. I’m still not sure after watching it twice where the zombies came from but they show up and turn everything into an even more confused and bloody mess. It seems at first it’s tainted drugs, (bath salts no less), one of the characters is sent from the US is to blame but later we see the whole city is caught in the outbreak.
The film could still have become a tight thriller as everyone battle to survive and escape the building, but it hampers itself with bad plotting, some very dubious decisions by the survivors and truly bottom of the barrel CGI. This film was shot in 2014 but the effects look like something from the dawn of computer animation. This all ends abruptly with an escape attempt followed by onscreen dialogue telling us we’re jumping a year into the future. Here we finally get the zombie vs human gladiator action, some more backstabbing and scheming and a revolt/escape attempt. It’s a bit better than the first part of the film, but still nothing great.
This should have been a great little film. With a bit of trimming it could have started as The Raid meets Dawn of the Dead and turned into an undead take on Gladiator. Instead it wastes some great fight scenes and a rare starring role for Andy On as the one non corrupt member of the SWAT team. Apart from the truly horrible special effects, a script that goes off in to many directions and can’t maintain a consistent tone doom it. It jumps from goofy T&A scenes to rape and torture, from serious scenes of zombie mayhem to an old man pulling robot legs and a chainsaw out of the closet and becoming a bionic zombie killer, (I must admit, as out of place as it is, it does make one hell of an image). It never decides what kind of film it wants to be and it suffers greatly.
The trailer for this film had me interested and I grabbed it as soon as it hit the racks. Sadly it was a huge disappointment.