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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

World War Z (3-D) | Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Fana Mokoena, Daniella Hertesz | Review

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Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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World War Z  (3-D) | Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Fana Mokoena, Daniella Hertesz | Review

Hold onto your hat or even your head in this case, because you are going to encounter the fastest-moving zombies ever to sink their teeth into Mankind.  They’ll nosh the ladies, too, in this suspense-filled tale of a rabies-like virus that infects, transforms, and compels its victims to go forth and multiply by chewing on the living until ten seconds later, the assaulted jerk and contort into milky-eyed biters themselves.

Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is a Philadelphia family man and former U.N. investigator who encounters a sudden and horrifying pandemic on the city’s streets one morning, starting with a traffic jam and ending with deadly human/zombie transformations.  These creatures are so aggressive that they head-butt windshields to get to their horrified prey.

Along with wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and daughters Constance (Sterling Jerins) and Rachel (Abigail Hargrove) Lane navigates his way through crowded streets and deserted roads, battling the swift, screeching, tooth-clacking creatures at every turn.  The family rescues a child (Fabrizio Zacharee Guido) before being rescued themselves via helicopter to an aircraft carrier.  Good thing Lane wasn’t Joe Average in the workplace.

Called back into service on special assignment by his former boss, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Thiery Umutoni (Fana Mokoena) in exchange for his family’s safety, Lane follows clues that lead him on an international search for “patient zero” that lead him to the World Health Organization in the company of Segen (Daniella Kertesz) a female Israeli soldier missing her left hand due to an unfortunate bite.  Apparently, amputation stops infection in this universe, one that so closely mirrors our own that the terror is made more palpable by the sheer familiarity.

Lane has a hunch on how to stop the frenzied attacks, one that is dangerous and possibly lethal, but does that stop him?  This is war, after all.  

Based on the 2006 book by Max Brooks (son of Oscar-winners Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks) and directed by Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball) World War Z is taut, smart, and gripping, commanding rapt audience attention from the opening zeitgeist credits full of pop culture references to the final, unresolved denouement (or possibly a new beginning).  3-D effects neither hinder nor help the proceedings.

Brad Pitt brings the brains that any zombie apocalypse needs desperately to survive, at least if there is to be another installment in the franchise.  He spends most of his screen time in heart-stopping confrontations, looking haggard but determined, and always believable.

Mireille Enos exudes a nurturing spirit of protection, while Fana Mokoena lends a dead-serious gravitas to the maelstrom.  Daniella Kertsz’ Segen embodies a female warrior, armed, harmed, but still willing to dive headlong into the fray.

There’s more action than anything else here, including blood and gore.  You won’t find exposed entrails or raw wounds.  Raw nerves, maybe, as you witness the world descend into a rabid madness, infested with swarming, chomping, noise-sensitive maniacs.

And that’s just the theater-goers running to see World War Z for themselves.

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