House of the Dead 2

release year: 2005
genre: zombie horror/action
viewing setting: home DVD, 11/23/06

synopsis: Zombies infest a small college campus, so an elite military unit and a couple of scientists go in to get a blood sample.

impressions: Anyone should know by now that you don't send a dozen people into a place where hundreds of zombies could potentially lurk. No, that's really not such a great idea. A better one would be to seal off the area and carpet-bomb it. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen here, and so the squad that goes in is pretty much doomed. The movie had excellent production values (lighting, photography, sound and special effects) and the basic plot was decent, it was just a matter of stupidity by some of the characters. There were also other goofy things, such as "hey, the zombies are evolving bigger, sharper teeth so that they can chew through our body armor." Yeahhhhhh. Looking on the bright side, it was far, far better than the first one.

something this movie has that no other movie has: The Special Forces unit voted "Most Likely to Fail and Die"...I'm not kidding. Let's count the ways: 1) their leader is hotheaded and doesn't listen when his own people tell him they heard something, 2) a senior member is a complete jerk who does things like taking pictures with dead zombies, 3) new member who is supposedly a seasoned combat veteran, but vomits upon smelling a rotting corpse, 4) another member gets the shakes before even seeing any zombies, 5) another member wanders off alone to investigate a hissing sound, 6) another member who sees a zombie and throws away his rifle so he can use martial arts to take the zombie out. By now, you should see what I mean: this wasn't an elite, veteran Special Forces unit, it was a clusterf**k waiting to happen.

acting: Emmanuelle Vaugier and Ed Quinn are the two main protagonists, and also the only two non-"special forces" members of the team that goes into the infected area. Sticky Fingaz gives a decent performance - better than Coolio but not as good as Ice Cube or LL Cool J.

final word: Definitely watchable, and better than the first (or most of the videogame zombie movies, for that matter.)

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