REVIEW: The Vanguard
I often wonder why I subject myself to this shit. Time is a commodity I have very little of these days, but when I do have some to spare... what do I do? I watch a bad movie.
Enter The Vanguard.
Firstly, allow me to thank Netflix's 'More like this feature'! If you watch one pile of dick film... Netflix will recommend that you watch hundreds of other similar movie that suck just as much if not more cock ... and far be it from me to turn down such generosity. Secondly, for kicks, I rate these movies as if I just watched Citizen Kane (which for the record sucked too, but it is generally considered a great film so fuck you) and brand them with 5 stars... which helps Neflix to filter through the bowels of it's movie collection and deliver unto me the worst Hollywood has to offer.
Enough about my sorry life... let's get on with this sorry ass movie. The Vanguard is apparently an independent movie which does have a fair following judging by the reviews I've read. I occassionally check out what people have to say prior to viewing a bad movie to see if the caliber of said film is worthy of devoting my time (which in most cases they are and aren't if you know what I mean). The Vanguard received both praise and outright hatred from it's viewers which leads me to believe that the people who loved it were somehow connected to the film, or it's participants, or were having their families held hostage while writing their conclusions (see The Fonda Syndrome to understand this phenomenon). In any case I was inclined to believe the haters of this film... and after viewing this tragedy I am now fully prepared to join their cause.
Much to the dismay of the fans of The Vanguard, there is nothing original about this movie. First off it's about zombies, a genre which has been over-mined, especially within the last decade. To pull off an original zombie flick is difficult if not completely impossible (unless you are Zach Snyder... that mother fuckers kung fu is strong). Instead of creating something new, The Vanguard takes the backstory of the Resident Evil series, and mixes it with 28 Days Later.
The Vanguard starts off with some scrolling text to help set the table (and save tons of money and time developing the story through direction and acting). However, rather than being a brief paragraph starting with the standard 'In a world...' bullshit, we are force fed an essay about society on the brink, a corporation infecting humans with a virus (which makes you a zombie), and a military hell bent on destroying everything.
From the start we are led through this paradise, and I do mean paradise, by Max - a spear and hatchet toting man who runs through the woods dispatching Biosyns (zombies) in his all black pajamas. Let me point out that this movie is 89 minutes in length, and 80 of those minutes are of Max running through the forest. I wish I was kidding. When Max isn't running he rides a bicycle... which always up the bad-ass level of any character. We are also treated to Max's inner monologue throughout The Vanguard, which is predominantly an exchange with his dead father... who never provides any answers to Max or us.
Roughly halfway through this pointless effort, Max, while on one of his endless skipping episodes through the woods, crosses paths with one of the many soldiers out to destroy the Biosyns. Max takes the soldier out thinking he is a zombie, then realizes his mistake and nurses him back to health. When the soldier regains consciousness we learn that Max is actually deaf and can't (or doesn't speak). This is probably the dumbest point of The Vanguard. For a deaf man, Max has amazing hearing ability which he utilizes throughout the film, and in one scene actually gags a captured zombie with barbed wire because he is tired of hearing him scream... but he's deaf so let's suspend disbelief.
We also learn shortly after that Max is also a carrier of the cure! How you ask? Max is jumped by a zombie and is bitten, which as you know in zombie rules that you will become a zombie soon after. Not in this case however. The offending zombie is dispatched by the soldier and upon his death transforms back into a human. Another interesting feature is The Vanguard are the makeup effects. The zombies all wear Halloween store quality contact lenses, and have veins running through their faces that have been carefully applied with the help of a sharpie marker.
The soldier learning of Max's unique gift decides to disobey his orders and protect him. They eventually run into another pair of assholes who also enjoy prancing through the woods. A female doctor / scientist and an older man. Here we learn more about the Resident Evil subplot, and some more tension is introduced... just what we needed.
What follows are more random zombie attacks, the female doctor turning zombie then turning back thanks to Max, and a group of soldiers (a death squad) hunting them all down. Everyone dies but Max, cuz he is a pure, un-cut, unadulterated bad ass. After Max finishes killing all of the soldiers, which seems completely plausible... a platoon of soldiers packing automatic rifles versus a deaf man in pj's weilding hatchets... Max finds himself surrounded by dozens of zombies. Rather than attack Max they all circle him and bow down... the Christ figure moment of The Vanguard. What better way to top off this pile of horse shit than with a brief oration by Max through his inner monologue about how he is their Vanguard. Yep he used the title of the movie.
How this movie found any fans is truly beyond me, but as I stated above they were clearly not of sound mind and body when they stated their opinions. The Vanguard does little to entertain even from a bad movie perspective... unless you are into men in their evening wear sprinting through the woods.
Hamlin Grade: 1
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,