House of the Dead 2
A group of young, wistful-faced soldiers are briefed by their superior about their objective, and the many tribulations they will face. Not all of them will survive the ordeal, but they remain optimistic that should they succeed, the name of their team will be remembered for years to come thanks to their noble deeds.
"Let's lock and load!"
Yes, it turns out our brave soldiers are but simple youths armed with water pistols and the intent on barging in on a girly get-together so they can enact their own wet t-shirt party. A wet t-shirt party where the water is replaced with beer. The best of both worlds!
One of the troops barges in on his chum's sexy antics armed with a camera, which the busty blonde does not react to with much pleasure, threatening a drawn-out and thought-provoking demise at her hands should those pictures get on the internet. Of course, the guy isn't too bothered with it all (his only beef is that the photo didn't catch his best angle), but the girl leaves and walks down the road, cursing and badmouthing her former boyfriend.
Suddenly, car accident! The driver, Professor Curien, gets out and asks if she's okay. A little shaken, but she admits that she's otherwise uninjured and can make her way home. Curien whacks her with a pipe to ensure that she can't.
The professor takes her back to his lab and after double-checking that she has no pulse, sets out experimenting on her, stripping her of her clothes and injecting her with a mysterious syringe. He waits with anticipation, telling the corpse to hurry up, before finally erupting into a document-ripping, desk-tipping, exposition-dumping fit of rage!
He goes to a dark corner of his lab and shines a light in on a private chamber, wherein a bloodied woman in a shroud walks around aimlessly inside. He explains - she should held the secret to eternal life, but despite tinkering and trying to expand on the formula he got from her, he is no closer! Instead he is left alone in the dark to what he desires, but behind his back, the naked corpse vanishes! Upon noticing this, he is overjoyed! Enthusiastic! Exultant to the greatest possible--
(you could say his dream came back to bite him, eh? Eh? Eh?)
During the opening credits we're treated to generic rock music and photos of the naked zombie girl attacking a university and munching on various hapless goons; particularly notable is a cheerleader chowing down on a winning football player, which seems like a scene straight out of Zombieland.
29 days later (haha, it's a joke!), we are treated to two handsome individuals having a romantic meal at a fancy restaurant; Jake, a man who says he is a doctor and all-around incredible guy, and a mysterious young lady, Alexandria, who Jake asked out on a date due to her online profile which offered no details.
In the kitchen, a chef steps out the back with a quick snack for his break, only to see an unnatural shuffling figure coming towards him. He assumes it's a simple homeless individual who's looking for a meal, so he places his plate on the floor for him, only for the figure to step all over it. After being told he should get a job if he wants a fancier meal, the shuffling dude lashes out - it's zombified Professor Curien!
The chef darts back inside after having his hand bitten. Does the world hate French people? he laments.
Elsewhere, an AMS (the acronym is never explained) van comes to a halt and out steps a handsome young rogue, Ellis, accompanied by stirring music as he enters a dark military facility.
And who is waiting for him inside, why, none other than Jordan Casper!
If that rings a bell, yes, she was the police officer from the first movie who had her legs pulled off and was left abandoned in a shack surrounded by zombies while she presumably bled to death with no obvious means of contacting anyone or getting off the island. And now she's back! She's in a wheelchair, which is the only thing the movie does to try and explain her mysterious return. History lesson over!
Casper chastises Ellis for how they lost a lot of good men on his last expedition, and briefs him on a new outbreak in the city, with an estimated origin noted on it and with a command to get "Nightingale" in on this mission. Before he leaves, she expresses condolences for his brother, who was made into a zombie last week. Expect that to be frequently mentioned with no further elaboration!
Back at the restaurant, Jake steps aside, claiming he's being paged, but really it's just to show that, surprise surprise, he isn't a charming doctor but is actually a horny individual who is looking for a total babe! Alexandria takes note of the waiter's hand and its injury, but he claims it's nothing, only a slight mishap in the kitchen with the chef, but she makes her way to the kitchen without his permission.
She enters the kitchen to find the chef on the floor, frothing and spasming. The waiter stoops to check on him, despite Alexandria's warnings not to get too close, only for the chef to reach up and bite him on the shoulder, but she withdraws a pistol from a leg holster and blows his brains out.
An ambulance arrives and the waiter is taken inside, Alexandria following along while Jake asks her where she's going. She brushes aside the question and then digs into Jake to find out that he's really an assistant manager at Blockbuster; Ellis arrives at the scene to cover up any unpleasant thoughts, claiming the waiter just had food poisoning, and gets into the ambulance. Before Alexandria departs, she tells Jake her real occupation: "I kill zombies."
Alexandria (who is revealed to be the Nightingale mentioned earlier) and Ellis make small talk. Alex explains she was on a date and Ellis works his deceased brother into the conversation while blowing the waiter in the head when he finally turns feral. They arrive at the military facility, where a few troops are undergoing some target practise on images of humans, zombies and Paris Hilton.
Casper gives them the briefing - they've lost contact with some recon groups, but they have official word that there's a "stage one" zombie outbreak at a university campus and they believe it is the ground zero for the infection. Their task is to get in there with the Special Forces, find any survivors, get blood samples from the zombies (or should I say hyper-sapiens? Seriously, honest to god, that's what they're sometimes called. While referring to them as hyper-sapiens for the rest of this coverage would make it much more amusing, I'll just stick to zombies, thanks) and get out of their before the whole place is blown up with missiles.
Ellis claims there's no need for the Special Forces to accompany them, but the leader of that group, Sergeant Dalton, enters and claims they're doing it as a courtesy, as otherwise they'd just be joining the dead, not researching them. Casper quells the argument and says that they must work together, and they've been issued this mission by the secretary of defence, so they can't screw around.
While the two get cleaned up, we're introduced to the rest of the Special Forces! Bart is the snarky and cynical guy who nobody likes and wishes his ex-wife was a zombie, O'Connor is the comic relief fat guy, Nakagawa is all revved up for killing zombies, Branson is the money hungry medic, and Alicia Henson and Maria Rodriquez are... the women. Sorry, that's really the only characterisation those two get. There's at least three or four more guys, but they get little to no screentime anyway so they're fairly throwaway. We also see that there's some tension between the Special Forces and the AMS science team, apparently because while the Special Forces are trained to fight, Ellis and Alex are just there to do science things. It's not a very well explained feud.
The group move out to the site, which appears to be a foggy swamp drenched in darkness and dry ice. Ellis stirs up shit with Dalton by asking him if his men are really capable of pulling the trigger on once-ordinary citizens that now have a hunger for flesh, since the Special Forces have only been to Iraq, Vietnam and other such jolly places - they're ready for terrorists, but are they ready for the dead?? Ellis and Nightingale have another chat and Ellis' dead brother is brought up into conversation again. Suddenly!
OUR VERY FIRST ZOMBIE
OH MAH LAWD
Oh, sorry, I mean OUR VERY FIRST HYPER-SAPIEN
"... what the hell?"
Coming from a professional soldier who's been trained to deal with the dead, that's not a good reaction.
Despite my frequent references to zombies as "flesh eating bastards" and other such colourful terms in my coverage of the first movie, there was no real implication that they actually ate flesh. There's a couple of instances of biting if I recall, but for the most part they just clawed and pulled at their victims; not to mention that they were never referred to as zombies at all. They were also pretty athletic, displaying all manner of sprinting, leaping and somersaulting. All those elements are ditched for this movie! They explicitly eat flesh, they're only dangerous when they bite, they shamble along like Ace Ventura when he's got darts in his backside, and they're quite explicitly called zombies, though the scientific term is apparently "hyper-sapiens."