Starring: Paul Logan, Velizar Binev, Borislav Iliev
Genre: Horror/ Action
Back in World War II, Stalin invented a secret nerve gas with deadly side effects. Now it has turned up in modern day Bulgaria and US Special Forces Agent John McGahey (Logan) has been sent to investigate. However he is met with extremely difficult nasty Eastern European army officers and is powerless to let the gas released. The gas is released, not only infecting people and putting them into an uncontrollable killing frenzy, but also causing the dead to rise. Now he, NATO doctor Ana Bennett (Manal El-Feitury), her daughter and fellow survivors must avoid the hordes of un-dead and try to escape this locked town Bulgarian town before it is completely destroyed.
As always, ‘context’ is so important when it comes to films, and it is especially the case when it comes to a film like Code Red. On quick read of the synopsis or one quick glance at the front of the cover, you immediately know what you are in for and should adjust your expectations accordingly. This is your text book zombie/ infected humans narrative, and to be fair to Milev, never ever tries to be anything else, only this time it involves Stalin having some zombie making machine in WWII that has turned up in modern day Bulgaria.
Of course Code Red is a video game of a film with so many things wrong with it such as clichéd and clunky dialogue, textbook caricatures, questionable acting, plot holes aplenty, extremely shaky camera work and some extremely cheesy and predictable plot developments. However not only would I argue that often the flaws in these films make them also quite endearing in a strange way, I would argue this is a film with more integrity than say, big budget and complacently made detritus’s such as Taken 2 or A Good Day to Die Hard (they may not have zombies in them, but bare with me on this one). At least in Code Red director Milev is being as creative as he can to do the best he can with a limited budget. However if a film has the two words ‘Die Hard’ in the title and a comatose money grabbing Bruce Willis starring, the makers have an unlimited credit card to spend. Despite this it still looks cheap and no effort whatsoever has gone into either the ‘creative’ (I use that word with the most extreme caution) process and the making of the film, but because they know they will make their money back from a naive and good natured audience. Compared to films like that, I would say Code Red maybe equally as vacuous and unoriginal, but at least it actually has that little bit more integrity. So, good for you Valeri Milev, your film is not very good, but at least you put a bit of effort in!
I would most definitely say Code Red is better than a soulless big budget product like Red 2, and yes they are similar as they both contain braindead zombies, yes I mean you Bruce! If you are after a completely vacuous, but quite violent and gory film involving zombie-ish creatures then Code Red serves a purpose. Though similar films may have bigger cast names and be able to afford to splash out on bigger set pieces, they are still the same films at heart as Code Red. This film adds absolutely nothing to the table, and the only thing impressive is what Milev managed on a $6million budget, but IN CONTEXT, it is fine in my view. Except the ability to splash out on expensive set pieces and have a Hollywood megastar in the lead role, is there really actually that much that separates this from a film like World War Z ? I really don’t think so.