Saturday, August 29, 2015

Zombi 5: Killing Birds (1987)

Just a heads up, this movie, Zombi 5: Killing Birds, has almost no zombies, no bird killing, and no killer birds. But it does have Robert Vaughn...

Also known as Raptors for some insane reason, Zombi 5: Killing Birds is the final film in the official line of unofficial sequels to Lucio Fulci classic horror Zombi 2. Nevermind that it was originally released a year before both Zombi 3 and 4, but this is totally a Zombi movie, obviously!...

In the 1960's, a returning Vietnam vet comes home to find his wife in bed with another man. In a rage, he murders both his wife, and her lover, as well as two visiting friends. However, he's then set upon by all of his birds, who peck out his eyes. Decades later, a group of college students is ready to go on an expedition to the backwater areas of Louisiana to find an incredibly rare, thought-to-be extinct species of bird. An expert bird-watcher (the now-blind soldier) gives them help, before they go off on their way, finding a dilapidated old house, where, unbeknownst to them, an evil force persists...

Zombi 5 starts off with a pretty neat intro, directed well, and all without dialogue, almost never showing the soldier's face, either. It makes you think that maybe you're in for a decent watch after all. But don't be fooled into thinking this prologue has anything to do with the rest of the movie. From then on, the next hour (I am not joking!) are spent on seeing the college team prepare for their project, leaving the college and entering the secluded swampland area, prepping their equipment, and just generally hanging about. They don't even have the decency to make small talk to keep us entertained!

There is no story to Zombi 5. The last half-hour is just of the characters stumbling about getting killed, while every now and then, the movie cuts away to superfluous shots of Robert Vaughn (and his scenes are bizarrely at daytime, despite the rest of the movie at that point still being at night) before finally reaching its conclusion. The surviving leads do nothing proactive to help themselves, and they have to wait until the morning sun vanquishes the horrible night before they try and leave the house of evil. Vaughn then shows up, revealing the movie's tenuous connection to the prologue (and it still doesn't make much sense), then lets himself get killed, presumably ending the threat, and the movie, which just abruptly stops!

With what little story there is in this movie, there are many points that make no sense. First of all, if these zombies are the angry spirits of those murdered by Robert Vaughn, why are they tormenting and killing innocent people? Especially when one of said people is their baby, which they know? And on that note, yeah, the surviving baby from the prologue turns out to be lead college guy Steve. This has literally no impact on the story, and doesn't serve even one single purpose.

Then there's the prologue again. How did Robert Vaughn's character not get immediately found out by the police? He murdered four people, then got his eyes pecked out! I suppose it might be possible that he disposed of the bodies before the bird attack, but even then, wouldn't the police have some 'rather awkward' questions to ask him about where his family suddenly vanished to, why the baby's been left behind, or why his eyes have been torn out?

The final problem in regard to the story is the near-total lack of zombies! Sure, they are actually in the movie, at least, but they only start showing up at the hour mark, still barely appear, and are only zombies in the respect that they're undead people.

The next-worst thing about Zombi 5 is its cast. The characters are bland, and all interchangeable, and when the guys died one by one, I was left scratching my head and wondering 'Who just died?'. And I'm normally a freak of nature with my memory, so when even I have trouble differentiating characters, you know the movie has problems! Beyond that, I could never remember how many characters were even alive at any given time, mainly because the characters are so bland, I didn't know how many of them there were to begin with!

The characters in this film are also terminally stupid. Take for example the guy whose pendant is caught in a generator's machinery, and he never bothers taking it off! And to boot, his friend just stands and watches the whole time, never helping him! Next up is when everyone is fleeing the evil house, heading for their close-by camper-van when one of them wants to run back into the house to get his computer. Dude, are you really willing to die for a computer that probably doesn't even have the processing power to play Solitaire in monochrome black and green?! On top of all of that are the constant 'Run, you idiots!' moments, which'll make you groan!

The acting in this movie is so bad! It's mediocre at best, and terrible the rest of the time, with neither the dub actors, or real actors able to provide anything remotely resembling a decent performance. As for Robert Vaughn, he's wooden as hell, and barely in the movie. This is just a paycheck for him.

Zombi 5's gore effects are lame. Some look good, but others are mediocre, and one is terrible-The make-up effect literally breaks off the actress in one death scene! The other problem is that, bar a couple, all the death scenes in this movie are by throat injuries! Did the maker have some kind of fetish? Either way, it's lazy, and irritating. the make-up for Robert Vaughn is pretty crummy too.

The score to Zombi 5 is boring. There are some ok pieces, and one at the end sounds right out of a Castlevania game (albeit nowhere near as good), but it's mostly dull, and very repetitive. The whole first 8 or so minutes after the prologue is ridiculously wholesome and upbeat, too.

Zombi 5: Killing Birds is a bad movie. It's uneventful as hell, dull, boring, and I don't recommend it at all. Zombi 3 and 4 were both dumb as hell, but at least they were fun!...

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