Battle Of The Damned is marketed as Dolph Lundgren meets zombies and robots. You get exactly what it says on the tin, but unfortunately the film doesn’t live-up to the sum of its parts. And those parts are Escape From New York, Omega Man and 28 Days Later. A great combination that is sadly wasted by the film’s writer/director Christopher Hatton.
The film sees Dolph (going by the uber-macho name of Max Gatling) sneak into a quarantined (and unnamed) Asian city to rescue the daughter of a rich businessman following the outbreak of a zombie-type plague. Gatling has a few days before the city is firebombed, killing all survivors. Poor Dolph – always expendable.
Battle Of The Damned should be schlocky B-movie fun but it’s sadly hindered by Christopher Hatton’s direction. He has no idea how to pace or shoot action, everything comes across as clumsy and confused. There’s no sense of geography within the film and it often feels like Dolph and company are running around the same city block (which feels more like a town), followed by what suspiciously looks like the same zombie extras. There’s also a painful fireball sequence at the end of the movie that should never have been used. Ever.
The film does have its plusses. The acting is quite fine for a movie of this type (David Field is very good value as the villainous Duke) and the zombie killing robots are enjoyable (though sometimes they look good, sometimes they look like terribly rendered CGI). Dolph seems somewhat subdued through proceedings, as if he signed on for a great sounding project, only to arrive on set to discover the limitations of the film’s low budget.
Is Battle Of The Damned terrible? Probably. However, it does pitch itself as Dolph Lundgren meets zombies and robots – and that’s exactly what you get. A film with a set-up like that can’t be disappointing, can it?