Mutant Chronicles (2008, USA)

Mutant Chronicles is a great zombie film with a sci-fi twist. It arches from the mythical, pre-Ice Age Earth to the 28th century. The opening of the movie visually equates the two by giving both of them, and the connecting centuries a Middle Age look. Most sci-fi movies set in the future imagine a technology based future with lots of gadgets. Here there is only real machine and that’s the one turning humans into zombies. The fight against them is led by a monk (the product of an order that maintained the secret of the machine from the beginning of times) who pulls together a team for a journey. This is the last chance of saving humanity from itself and liberating it form the machine. As expected the team members are killed one by one on the road, but ultimately the hero triumphs and saves the day. The twist is that we cannot be sure which member of the team will turn out to be the prophesied hero.

Aspects I liked:

  • Ron Perlman, his face, voice and acting.
  • Devon Aoki’s sword fight and perkiness.
  • The names of the four corporation–that ruled and divided the world while fighting against the others–reminded me of 1984: Mishima (East Asia), Bauhaus (Eastern Europe and North Africa), Imperial (Southern Africa, Australia, Indonesia) Capitol (Western Europe and the Americas.)
  • The 28th century war looked like World War I, with its stagnant frontlines, trenches and guns.
  • The hero’s “save the children and women first” ethic over the greedy military one.
  • The monastery life, separated from the petty war.
  • The bleak look, with virtually no colors. (Except the window glass of the monastery and the hoods of the monks.)

Aspects I did not like:

  • I was hoping for more of John Malkovich, but he was present only in one scene.
  • The hero needed a smoke after he saved the world.
  • The burden of the machine/zombies has been placed onto another planet, instead of destroying it completely.

As you can see the list of areas I liked is much longer than the dislike list, so I recommend the movie for those who are open to the genre. Even if you didn’t know, like me, that the movie was based on a Swedish role playing game.