Deadman Apocalypse: A Painful B-Movie Abomination

Every once in a while, there comes a low-budget gem newly released on RedBox. Unfortunately, Deadman Apocalypse is no such gem. Hoping to uncover a diamond in a chunk of coal, I had no such luck. Finding nothing redeemable about this film, Deadman Apocalypse was so repugnantly horrible that I was at a loss for words when I sat down to write my review.

Throughout film history, there have been plenty of low-budget success such as John Carpenter’s Halloween, Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead and Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm. Rather than rely on a large budget, these films depended on filmmaking ingenuity and creative storytelling to suspend disbelief. Sometimes, however, a film is lacking in all accounts.

Taking place in the near future, Deadman Apocalypse tells the story of Jack Deadman and his military team as they embark on a mission to retrieve the water that was stolen by a savage, underground, maze civilization called Labyrinthia. A decade passes after the mission has failed and Deadman dwells deep in the maze plagued with guilt, as his failed mission was the last hope for the dying earth. Now known as a The Jackal, a mythical legend among the underground dwellers, Deadman discovers someone from his water retrieval team: Alba Killbride is still alive. She has been held captive all these years by the civilization’s tyrannical ruler, Emperor Rameses. This brings Deadman newfound hope as he goes on a one-man rescue mission so that he and Killbride may discover a means of escape from the underground labyrinth of Labyrinthia.

Despite the cheesy, thoughtless names such as Deadman, Killbride, Emperor Rameses and Labyrinthia, this plot summary for Deadman Apocalypse may seem intriguing. However, do not be fooled and fall victim to wasting your money. This will be an hour and 18 minutes of your life that you will mourn for losing.

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When it becomes apparent that Labyrinthia consists of nothing more than wooden tunnels through which characters must crouch to move around, you begin to wonder how many people could possibly comprise the population of this civilization. Throughout the film, this is never addressed, but only a few goons and an emperor seem to be the population’s extent. This joke of an underground society comes off as a small gang, making you wonder how they pose such a threat to the military and how they were able to steal enough water to warrant a military retrieval mission. The only explanation as to why Labyrinthia is feared is the implication that Emperor Rameses has the ability to manipulate the maze by creating dead ends and redirection. This would be a great concept if they explained how this is remotely possible.

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Among the bland imagery, an overall nonexistent backstory and failure to establish a believable antagonist, small, laughable details had me questioning the seriousness of this film. When the mode of transportation for Labyrinthia was introduced, I was shocked that humorous puns and over the top action resembling Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror didn’t ensue. To quickly get around the labyrinth, characters ride miniature motorbikes that look like child-sized makeshift snowmobiles on wheels. Not only does this make everyone look ridiculous, but the chase scenes take themselves too seriously as they are unable to hit each other with firearms in tight quarters that would make missing impossible.

However, villains are able to somehow lasso the protagonists with chain in these tunnels that are so small, characters are unable to stand upright. Furthermore, Deadman manages to light a stick of dynamite while riding one of these clown cycles by simply touching the fuse to the wooden floor. This causes no fire or damage to anything other than the area to which it was thrown. Given that the entire labyrinth built underground and made of wood, one would think a fire or massive cave-in would follow.

Before the credits roll, which couldn’t have come soon enough, this poorly crafted story concludes with a look at life above ground, which shows plentiful plant life and a flowing stream. At this point, you would be expecting some sort of twist as the film’s beginning implied that water was scarce and all life on earth was dying. With little to no explanation given, you are left to think life is on the way to being restored after a decade. I’m no scientist, but I would think a planet undergoing such an environmental collapse to warrant being called an apocalypse would take much longer than 10 years for life of that magnitude to return.

Final thoughts:

Earning 3.1 stars out of 10 on IMDb, Deadman Apocalypse resembles grown men playing pretend in children’s tight quarter playground. Had the film attempted a less serious B-movie approach, a glimmer of hope may have been found. This is one better left alone and forgotten.

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