After a career spent risking his life on location in international hotspots like Bosnia and Liberia, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) recently resigned from a dangerous post at the United Nations to devote himself to his family. As the story unfolds, we find him assuring his wife (Mireille Enos) and young daughters (Sterling Jerins and Abigail Hargrove) that he quit his job to spend more quality time with them as a stay-at-home husband and father.
Meanwhile, that same morning on TV, network news anchors are busily downplaying rumors of a rapidly-spreading rabies outbreak overseas. Eventually, all hell starts to breaks loose in the U.S., too, where the president perishes and the vice president goes missing.
By the time the Emergency Broadcast System finally takes over the airwaves, the escalating zombie scourge can no longer be covered-up or contained. And the pandemic which started in Taiwan has already overrun a dozen countries and counting.
Given the utterly desperate state of affairs, Gerry has no choice but to answer the call when he is begged by U.N. Deputy Secretary General Thierry Umutoni (Fana Mokoena) to come out of retirement. He agrees to join a crack team of researchers whose mission is to find Patient Zero and develop a vaccine.
But first, he secures berths for his family aboard a quarantined Navy ship sitting safely in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Our intrepid protagonist then boards a plane headed for parts unknown, and what ensues is a harrowing, high body-count adventure making “Pitt”-stops in South Korea, Jerusalem and Wales.
At each exotic port of call, Gerry and company encounter wave after wave of voracious zombies, which in accordance with age-old cinematic lore, can only be destroyed by burning or headshots. Of course, they ultimately figure out how to turn the tide, though the resolution conveniently leaves a loophole setting up the sequel in a planned trilogy.
Directed by Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball), World War Z is a bona fide summer blockbuster any way you slice it. From hordes of man-eating creatures, to mob scenes of panicked citizens, to tension-maximizing editing, to captivating special f/x, to breathtaking panoramas of the collapse of civilization, to a buff matinee idol as the hero, the film features all the fixin’s to assure any audience its money’s worth of viewing pleasure and excitement.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for disturbing images and pervasive horror violence
Running time: 115 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures