Film Reviews: The Dead Don't Die
THE DEAD DON'T DIE (15)
The living are mean-spirited, spiteful and lonely, and might as well be dead, in writer-director Jim Jarmusch's off-kilter comedy, which commits half-heartedly to the gore-slathered demands of a zombie horror.
Set in the fictional Pennsylvania town of Centerville - population 738, "A real nice place" - The Dead Don't Die sinks its gnashers into myriad genres but seldom draws blood as an inconsistent tone ricochets between sinister, self-referential and silly.
There are a few nice touches like when Tilda Swinton's bonkers mortician spots a metallic Star Destroyer on the keychain of Adam Driver's cop and deadpans, "Star Wars - excellent fiction" (Driver plays the villainous Kylo Ren in a galaxy far, far away). However, Jarmusch's decision to allow characters to break the fourth wall and pointedly identify themselves as actors in a ghoulish fiction undermines any efforts to make us care about the starry cast being disembowelled and dismembered by the undead.
A mismatched buddy cop movie in the same vein as Beverly Hills Cop or Midnight Run, Stuber runs dry of imagination and creativity well before the title character's electric car issues warnings about a flat battery.
Scriptwriter Tripper Clancy neglects to fill the film's tank with snappy one-liners, relying on an increasingly shrill Kumail Nanjiani to deliver leaden dialogue in misfiring scenes of verbal to and fro with Guardians Of The Galaxy hunk Dave Bautista.
Director Michael Dowse choreographs fight sequences to a retro soundtrack including a shoot-out in a veterinary practice to The Air That I Breathe by The Hollies for no obvious creative reason or dramatic pay-off. The daredevil acrobatics of Indonesian martial arts star Iko Uwais are largely wasted and a romantic subplot with Betty Gilpin is tepid. Dowse's unsatisfying film takes us for a ride.