I always say that I can’t stand horror, but it seems I am developing a soft spot for horror/comedy. Not that I’ve seen too many films in this genre. 100 Bloody Acres, Sean of the Dead, I can’t think of any others. There must be more.
Zombieland takes place after something has happened – it’s unimportant exactly what – but America is overrun by Zombies. There are few survivors, and those that are alive may be more interested in saving themselves than working as a team.
Enter Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), a geeky college student who has quickly developed a series of rules to keep himself alive. When he comes across Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) they form an unlikely partnership who end up being challenged, hindered and assisted by sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin).
The film is funny and violent. Possibly violently funny, although definitely hilariously violent. I’ve not been a huge fan of Eisenberg, but that’s mostly because I really couldn’t stand the character he played in The Social Network and have not really moved on from here. Columbus was the perfect role for him – geeky, a bit shy but not afraid to use a semi-automatic weapon. And then there’s Bill Murray. Ah, bless you, Bill Murray.
It’s post World War 2 in Los Angeles. Gangsters are rising across the country. LA is being taken over by Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). The police are corrupt, and their hands are tied by legal restraints while Cohen takes over every racket possible. The chief of police Chief Parker (Nick Nolte) decides he needs to go to great lengths to beat Cohen, and commissions Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) to pull together a squad of police who will work beneath the radar to destroy Cohen’s business interests, therefore ensuring not only his demise, but reducing chances of another gangster coming in to take Cohen’s place. The Gangster Squad they set about cleaning up the city.
There is some clichéd predictability (most notably the fact that Sgt Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling) starts as a corrupt playboy who only joins the squad after an innocent shoeshine is killed in front of him and he wants to right this wrong), but generally, it’s a good concept. I have to admit, though, it just didn’t grab me. There was not a lot of emotional connection to the characters, so I didn’t care who lived or died. The tension wasn’t all that great either, and when there was tension, it was resolved quickly and easily. It’s a fun film and worth a watch, but I felt that it really could have been much more.