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MOVIE REVIEWS

Zombi 3 (1988)


Zombi 3 on DVD
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Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, Zombi 3 falls way short of the flair of Lucio Fulci's original. In actuality, except for the fact that both films contain zombies eating people, this film bears very little resemblance to Fulci's classic, Zombie. That's very unfortunate indeed.

While an ailing Fulci took all the directorial credit for this zombie movie, not all of the blame for this film's downfall should be shouldered by him. It should be noted that Fulci was fighting an illness during filming. At least half the blame should go to director Bruno Mattei, who took over after Fulci turned in a 50-minute cut of the film, far too short for producer Franco Gaudenzi's liking. Mattei worked closely with writer Claudio Fragasso to add more substance to the film, and has himself said that he shot approximately 40 percent of the finished movie. His work on Zombi 3 includes the entire beginning, the end, and all the scenes with the soldiers in anti-contamination suits. Fragasso didn't want to tread on Fulci's storyline, so the added filming was essentially a separate storyline, but served to pull the whole thing together. Zombi 3 may not have been a great film, but considering how really awful this flick could have been under the circumstances, I think Mattei pulled the movie from totally falling into the abyss.

The film begins as some terrorists steal a biological toxin from some scientists as they leave a secret military laboratory. The toxin, created to bring the dead back to life, is conveniently named "Death 1". The thieves successfully grab the goods, but in the escape attempt they bungle the job and the toxin gets released while the last terrorist evades a military helicopter. He then bolts to a nearby motel where he rents a room. The damage has been done, however, as the infected terrorist transforms into a bloodthirsty zombie and starts spreading the contagion. From there, the zombie plague is transmitted fast and furiously. Two stories follow, one watching the military try to clean up their mess, and the other one following a group of G.I.'s and their companions fight their way through the zombies to escape the mayhem.

There are several points in Zombi 3 when you think that it's making a turn towards a respectable movie, but manages to jerk the steering wheel and swerve into ridiculousness every single time. The script doesn't bother to explain any of it, and that's why the movie fails to convince the viewer. The corny dialogue doesn't help matters much either.

This movie does provide a first for me, it marks the first time I've seen a zombie bird in a film. Yes, I said "zombie bird". Environmentalists will be in an uproar as they watch the military burn infected bodies, the toxic fumes destroying the atmosphere, not to mention leading to countless birds inhaling the virus. Animal activists, however, will breathe a sigh of relief knowing that no birds were harmed during filming. I don't know that as a fact, but they looked so fake, it has to be true. Waitaminut...doesn't the burning bodies thing sound like Return of the Living Dead? Yeah, well, it's not the only part of the movie that will conjure up memories of zombie flicks that have come before.

I might have been able to look past the zombie birds, but Zombi 3 just kept insulting my intelligence with other bouts of extreme weirdness. I really lost it when the detached zombie head came flying out of a refrigerator and attacking the nearest warm body. How does a zombie head just fly around? It defies physics as well as logic. It's also insulting when the characters are graced with a conveniently placed box of M16s, a grenade, and a helicopter at just the right times. Fregasso churned out an incredibly lazy script.

Top it all off with a variety of zombies, some slow and shambling, some fast as lightening. I can live with the differing zombie types, but their antics often came off a bit comical. These undead have a penchant for climbing to higher ground and pouncing on their prey. They also like to hide and surprise their victims. Of course others just creeped along attacking clumsily, so you get all kinds in Zombi 3. The zombies looked about as inconsistent as they acted. Some looked great, others were dull and unimaginative.

If it hadn't been for all the major flaws of Zombi 3, it would be an admirable entry into the zombie genre. As it is though, it's well below average. There is, however, enough flesh-chewing carnage to save it from joining the ranks of the worst of the worst. Toss it beside the best of the bad.


RATING

(out of 5)
DVD RELEASE DATE
September 24 2002


DEAD KEV'S ADVICE
This is certainly one of the better of the bad movies. It's easily watchable, and even provides a few laughs. Just don't expect a work of art. And if you're a fan of Lucio Fulci's other work...try not to be too hard on the guy.
ZOMBIE LESSONS LEARNED
1. If you happen across a flock of dead birds on the road, don't stop to take a look.
2. If a friend is bitten by a zombie (bird or otherwise) take them straight to a hospital...not to a motel, gas station, or other random location.
FAVORITE QUOTES
- "I'm feeling better Patricia, but I'm thirsty...for your blood!"
- "...Once in awhile, I like to take a piss on a bush."
- "Sounds like someone being scalped."
- "Sure does."
- "I'll dedicate my next number to all the undead around the world."


DIRECTOR
Lucio Fulci (Zombie, The Beyond)
Bruno Mattei (uncredited)
WRITERS
Claudio Fragasso
PRODUCER
Franco Gaudenzi
CAST CHARACTER
Deran Sarafian Ken
Beatrice Ring Patricia
Ottaviano Dell'Acqua Roger
Massimo Vanni Bo
Ulli Reinthaler Nancy
Marina Loi Carole
Deborah Bergamini Lia
Luciano Pigozzi Head of the scientists
Claudio Fragasso Soldier at crematorium (uncredited)
Robert Marius Professor Holder (uncredited)
Bruno Mattei Soldier at crematorium (uncredited)
Michele Monti Commander Bryant (uncredited)
Mike Monty Military Commander (uncredited)
RUNNING TIME MPAA RATING
95 Minutes Unrated
PRODUCTION COMPANY
Flora Film S.r.l.
STUDIO
Media Blasters, Inc (DVD)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
Italy
RUNNING TIME MPAA RATING
95 mins Unrated


INTERESTING TIDBITS
Romero's Dawn of the Dead was released in Italy as Zombie. To capitalize on its success, Fulci titled his 1979 undead film Zombi 2, while its US title was Zombie. That explains why this one is a supposed sequel to his 1979 film, but is named Zombi 3.
Filmed at the same village that was used in the movie Apocalypse Now.
AKA : Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 (2002 UK video); Zombie 3


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