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World War Z (3 stars)

Glasgow-shot zombie movie is as Hollywood as they come

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World War Z

Emerging from a storm of troubled production rumours comes Marc Forster's zombie action movie, World War Z. Eschewing the multi-narrative structure and political commentary of Max Brooks' book, it takes the zombie apocalypse story and presents it in the packaging of something a little more familiar.

Brad Pitt is our too-handsome-to-die hero Gerry Lane, a United Nations employee with a background in conflict zones and a skill-set that would put MacGyver to shame. This is not a film that hangs about, so when a zombie pandemic strikes at the film's outset, Gerry is quickly coerced into the unenviable task of travelling the world to help find a cure for the crisis.

In the main, World War Z is Hollywood business-as-usual, with bombastic action and scenes of panic familiar from countless end-of-the-world movies (look out for a few Glasgow landmarks, the city doubled up as Philadelphia). Pitt adds a touch of class, making as credible as possible a series of increasingly unbelievable, sometimes highly laughable scenarios.

Frenetic editing gives the film a charge, though it often renders the action blindingly incoherent and the 3D rarely works in its favour. Because the zombies are often scrambling masses, tension takes a backseat until the final act, a taut medical lab sequence featuring our own Peter Capaldi which seems to have come from a different movie altogether. Thankfully, it's solidly spectacular and – one moment of astonishingly crass product placement aside – far from a disaster.

General release from Fri 21 Jun. (15) 116min

World War Z - Official Trailer (HD)

World War Z

  • 3 stars
  • 2013
  • US/UK
  • 116 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Marc Forster
  • Written by: Max Brooks (novel), Matthew Michael Carnahan (screenplay)
  • Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox
  • UK release: 21 June 2013

Glasgow fills in for Philadelphia in this adaptation of Max Brooks' post-apocalyptic horror novel.

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