There’s really only one fresh idea in this 21st Century Zombie pic, but it’s a dandy: Speedy Zombies. Elsewise, it’s the expected combo-platter of OUTBREAK/’95 meets WAR OF THE WORLDS/’05 as Brad Pitt saves his family (and many earthly inhabitants) from a plague of zombies with derring-do and mass injections. The storyline doesn’t exactly hang together*, but Marc Forster’s pacey megging gives you little time to question the next move while carefully trimming the horror & grue down to a soft PG-13. (It sure pales next to something like Neill Blomkamp’s imaginative/emotional DISTRICT 9/’09.) The best things in here are the dark, epic look (very Ridley Scott) and its unexpectedly chancy mortality rate. The worst comes from some lazy plot twists like unguarded barrier walls or a plane that crashes within walking distance of a disease control facility. Note to Brad Pitt: You don’t have to rough up your looks into an uneasy facsimile of Russell Crowe, we know you can act . . . when you have to.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: *It’s hardly a secret that this film was extensively rewritten, reshot & generally remade in Post-Production. Perhaps that explains why the last act shifts from chase pic to laboratory suspense tropes right out of THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN/’71. (Our poster gives a clue to the original last act. Click on it to expand.)