The Quick and the Undead (2006)
By: Markus Zussner on April 16, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Anchor Bay (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 2.30:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0. 78 minutes
The Movie
Director: Gerald Nott
Starring: Clint Glenn, Screenplay: Gerald Nott
Music: Brian Beardsley, Pieter A. Schlosser
Tagline: In this town, dead aint dead enough.
Country: USA
The idea behind the story of The Quick and the Undead is pretty cool. A virus has turned most of the population into flesh munching zombies, and a new form of employment has been created due to the world change. Bounty hunters now scour the rural back roads of the 'New West', moving from town to town exterminating the zombie hordes and collecting their bounty of gold. The bounty hunters resemble cowboys from the old west, and ride motor bikes which they spend more time pushing along the trails than actually riding them (weird, didn't the cast get bike lessons before shooting began?).

The story starts eighty two years after the initial virus outbreak where the zombie hordes have been all but exterminated, leaving the odd shuffling corpse here and there for the remainder of the bounty hunters to fight over. Business isn't as good as it used to be. Clint Glenn is zombie hunter Ryn Baskin - doing his modest Mad Max/Clint Eastwood on a bike impression - who rides into a deserted town looking for bounty. Expecting a few shufflers here and there he comes face to face with the opposition, a gang of bounty hunters headed by Blythe Remington (Parrish Randall). There is a showdown between Remington's gang and Baskin, and Baskin, being sorely outnumbered, is gunned down and left for dead. Remington and his gang head out of town with Baskin's bounty of severed pinkies as more than just the odd shuffler gets a scent of 'Baskin burger' and begin shuffling his way. Something sinister is going on because the legions of the dead, almost extinct, are now back in force and hungrier than ever. Where are the zombie hordes coming from and who or what is responsible for their resurgence? Baskin is eager to find out, but that's if he can crawl away and survive the day.

Well here's a zombie movie title I never thought of; The Quick and the Undead. I made a huge list years ago of potential future zombie movie titles. We cried for more zombie movies, but had to live with what we had, so we were looking for everything and anything no matter how good, bad or ugly the movie. In the last few years our wish has come true with a flood of shuffling dead movies coming from major film studios as well as the independents and now my list has dwindled down to nothing. As obvious as this title is, I never came up with The Quick and the Undead. With the exception of the filthy few, most of the contemporary zombie flicks have been well below par and the word 'saturation' comes to mind. With the major disappointment of the Dawn of the Dead remake and Romero's Land of the Dead not quite making the mark and pretty much everything else not even getting a step out of the grave, I'm about to give up on this part of the horror genre and put it to bed for a while. I'm a sucker because they keep releasing them and I keep watching them in the hopes of coming across a milestone zombie flick. So far I have been disappointed almost every time. There just doesn't seem to be anything new happening in the current flow of corpse walking movies which seem to be in a shuffling state of decay.

The idea of a zombie western flick and the reintroduction of the virus to reinfect a population to make business better is a great idea. The problem is Director Gerald Nott doesn't go anywhere with it. The storyline is virtually plotless. There is nothing new going on in The Quick and the Undead, just the usual zombie banter that we have been exposed to over and over again. There is so much room in The Quick and the Undead for some great creative licence, and it would've been good to see perhaps homage paid to Sergio Leone, like a zombie gunfighter showdown. With so many westerns at Nott's disposal you'd think he'd have a field day intertwining the zombie film genre with the western genre, but he uses the western theme as a lightly dressed backdrop for his story, or lack of story. All we need is 'a fistful of brains'. The Character performances are a trifle wooden and two dimensional, then again I suppose so was Clint Eastwood in his classic westerns, but I don't think that was the idea behind the performances in The Quick and the Undead. The films location looks like one of those tourist traps where you pay entry fee to walk around and get a slice of history of how people lived in the good old days, and the location would have had more authenticity if some dusty old real town were chosen instead; I mean this is the future we are talking about, not the past. There's an exhausting supply of dusty old towns along the back roads of America to choose from and some of them are deserted. There's gore but not quite enough to satisfy the gore hounds. Zombie films definitely work best with over the top gratuitous gore and violence. There are some great zombie make FX from Paul Molnar showcased here but good zombie makeup is not enough to make The Quick and the Undead rise above the rest.
Nice clear 2.30:1 transfer with 16:9 enhancement. There is a tiny bit of grain here and there which gives away the films low budget. Most of the scenes are shot in the day which captures the western feel of dirty dusty towns and trails, so the tiny bit of grain kind of adds a little to the atmosphere, but that's not always the case in some productions.
Nothing major going on here with a stereo track our only option, although there's nothing wrong with the sound. No audio hiss when turned up loud. If there is a bullet ricochet in the audio track it certainly doesn't ricochet around the room as well as it could that's for sure. The audio track lacks any true depth or dynamics. Dialogue is nice and crisp though.
Extra Features
The making of The Quick and the Undead - 28 minutes: Unfortunately it's just your average featurette. Gerald and Clint simply relax in some comfy chairs and candidly go over the making of the film for about half an hour with a few behind the scenes shots mixed in to boot. Not much here for the budding filmmaker.

Audio Commentary: Gerald Nott and Clint Glenn. It's just your standard issue commentary.

3 Deleted Scenes: These scenes would not have enriched the movie if they were kept in.

Several out takes: The out takes are the best place to pick up insight into the making of this movie. Here at least we can see some film making techniques taking place; especially around the SPFX scenes.

2 Trailers of the movie: Seeing these Trailers really makes you want to watch the movie. The Trailers are the best part of this whole package.

Posters and Stills Gallery: Small gallery but some nice stuff here.
The Verdict
The storyline and setting is the primary attraction to The Quick and the Undead. The western backdrop of the so called 'New West' makes for a terrific setting not yet fully exploited in the walking dead genre. Unfortunately Director Gerald Nott doesn't exploit the potential of his idea and what could have been an innovative and entertaining zombie yarn is nothing more than a below average zombie flick that shuffles quickly into a predictable and dull non-event that will likely slip anyone who watches this movie straight into a deep coma. 'A Fistful of Brains' this movie is not.
Movie Score
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