DVD Round-up ! Zombie 108, Blackthorn and ID : A…

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Hallo. A bit of a catch up on some DVDs I’ve seen over the last couple of months but haven’t as yet reviewed …

Kicking things off is the grim and grubby Zombie 108. Apparently the first Taiwanese Zombie movie, like, ever, this uncomfortable melding of zombie standards with torture porn is decidedly dodgy in almost every way. Using the familiar plot kick-starter of ‘bad-science’, the movie very quickly becomes embroiled in a torturous, serial-killer’s fun and games that have little bearing on the rest of it. Unfunny jokes and dull slapstick further despoil proceedings. A baby zombie (as featured on the cover, above) might have been interesting, but she (it?) barely features… avoid.

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Moving swiftly on, we have a completely different proposition in the form of Blackthorn. Imagining what life would have been like for Butch Cassidy had he survived the conclusion of late 60s classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Mateo Gil (a former screenwriter for Alejandro Amenabar, including the script for Open Your Eyes) delivers a taut and effective epic western of the kind that most of us didn’t think could be made anymore (at least, not without Clint Eastwood)… Sam Shepherd is wonderful as Butch – or, Blackthorn as he is known incognito –  and the sombre, occasionally explosive, mood hits all the right notes. Also featuring Stephen Rea as a corrupt official, Blackthorn is a classy widescreen picture of the sort that never goes out of fashion…

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Finally, we have ID:A. From Lars Von Trier’s Zentropa Productions (although the great Dane himself had nothing to do with it, as shall become startlingly clear), this memory damaged thriller recalls vastly superior films such as Memento, Mullholland Drive and Christian Petzold’s Yella but has nothing like the wit and verve of those particular titles. Following Tuva Novotny’s troubled lead across Denmark and Holland as she seeks the key to her identity, ID:A rarely makes much sense. This would not be any sort of problem for me if there was more to the script than tired gender specific clichés and poorly executed action sequences. Novotny’s lead is bland in the extreme and subsequently we don’t really care what is going on in her past, present or future. Like some kind of anti-Nikita, ID:A probably tells us more about the maker’s world-view than they’d care to admit…

Zombie 108, Blackthorn and ID:A are all available on DVD now…

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