I admit I loved Oliver Stone's 1986 Vietnam classic Platoon. I watched it countless times. One could argue I became obsessed with the Vietnam War. I likened myself to Jim Conrad in the 1984 comedy The Wild Life. Sure, there were other Vietnam films at the time. Hamburger Hill. Full Metal Jacket. But none of them stacked up to Platoon. Of course the only movie that could top Platoon was Apocalypse Now... obviously.
So it goes without saying that I was thrilled to come across Platoon of the Dead on Netflix. I don't know why but I naturally assumed this would be the perfect marriage between my love of zombies and Vietnam. Would zombies in Platoon of the Dead serve as a "third enemy" after the North Vietnamese and the power struggle between Sgt. Barnes and Sgt. Elias? Could an unknown actor dare to take on Tom Berenger's Sgt. Barnes persona? Would Platoon of the Dead improve upon the horrible Shellshock 2 video game? Would Corey Glover make a cameo?
Unfortunately, the answer to all my questions was "no". First of all, Platoon of the Dead isn't set in Vietnam. It is set some time in the future. How far in the future? It's hard to say. Guns shoot laser blasts instead of bullets but we still use mini vans for "light transport".
In the future, all upside-down flip phones can be used as cb radios.
Platoon of the Dead opens with Private Dillon (Tyler David) waking up in a forest after an assumed zombie ambush. Unsure what happened, he sets out to locate the rest of his troop. He quickly locates Sergeant. Butler (Tom Stedham) and Lieutenant Robers (Chis Keown). They soon find a house where 3 ladies are hiding out. For the next twenty minutes, Platoon of the Dead doesn't veer off covering the usual "strangers hiding out under one roof" topics:
Male vs. Female arguments
Power struggles over "who's in charge"
Nothing that hasn't been covered in hundreds of other movies.
It doesn't take long before suspicions begin to rise as not everyone in the house is what they seem. Without giving anything away, the truth behind the zombies reveals itself and it's nothing less than head scratching.
The concept behind Platoon of the Dead isn't terribly original but good movies have been made on simple, well tread concepts. While the acting is quite bad what really drags the movie down is the incredibly low budget. Guns are obviously nothing more than Wal Mart toys. The laser blast sound effects are laughable. The special effects are surprisingly bad given the creative resources available to the home computer novice. And, if that isn't enough, the gore is one step below what you would find at a community Halloween haunted house.
The terrifying laser gun. "Pa-choo" "Pa-choo"
After the success of Dead Snow the time is ripe for a good Vietnam-era zombie film. C'mon Hollywood, make my dreams a reality... and put Corey Glover in it.