ZOMBIE FIGHT CLUB
The title Zombie Fight Club catches your attention. The filmmakers have clearly sought to spoof David Finchers Fight Club (1999) but your mind boggles at how anybody could possibly turn Chuck Palaniaks work about male aggression, secret pugilism clubs, anti-consumer anarchist manifestos and split personality into a zombie film. Needless to say, such an idea proves too challenging for Zombie Fight Club. (In fact, you get the impression that the title is something that was slapped on the film by the English-language distributor). It is also misleading as there are no fight clubs throughout the nearest we get is during the last third of the film where in the aftermath of societys collapse Jack Kao keeps survivors as prisoners and pits them in hand-to-hand combat against zombies in an arena for the amusement of audiences. However, it does seem a stretch between the underground brawling clubs among willing participants we had in Finchers film and all-out gladiatorial combat involving unwilling prisoners we have here.
If there is any film that Zombie Fight Club draws on for inspiration it is not Fight Club so much as it is The Raid: Redemption (2011). Like The Raid, the bulk of the film takes place in an apartment building and consists of a furious fight for survival. Here The Raids one cop against hordes of heavily armed gang members has been replaced by human survivors against zombie hordes. It should be noted that the same basic idea also formed the basis of the abovementioned French The Horde.
Zombie Fight Club is rather entertaining. Director Joe Chien clearly has a love for the genre and launches into the film with a great deal of relish and energy. He is using digital gore but manages to make it work for him. There are some well-done effects MC Hot Dog killing MJ116 Muta with a meat grinder impaled in the head; or one character who turns up with his entire chest and stomach cavity transformed into a snapping set of jaws. The film probably didnt need the grafted on fight club scenes during the last third it makes a 95 minute film longer than you it should be when the films natural resolution felt like it should have been during the battle among the survivors in the apartment building.