This sequel is set, you guessed it, 28 Weeks after it's predecessor, 28 Days Later. The infected have all starved to death, and the lengthy and gruesome task of clearing up the mess falls to the American military. Jokes about the US being rather more likely to have started a mess like this aside, this does mean that we get rather more firepower this time around.
Robert Carlyle plays Don, a survivor of the plague, who is hiding out in a country manor. After a brutal opening sequence which sees Don legging it in particularly unheroic fashion, we are presented with "the solution" to rebuilding Britain. It's been decided that an initial populace of 30,000 or so will be re-homed on the Isle of Dogs, in London docklands.
Why? Well, that's a good question, and one that is never really answered. Like many of the choices made in this film, it's left to us to wonder exactly what they were thinking. Why the Isle of Dogs? If it's symbolic, let's hear whoever's decision it was saying that. Why start with London at all? Aside from the fact that any lingering survivor with any sense would have fled a city of eight million potential zombies (actually, scratch that, you could say the same about an uninfected London) there's the simple matter of practicality. Why not somewhere like the Isle of Wight? It's not far from France so you can hop over on a boat, and it's not very big so you could clean it and check it relatively easily. As well, any mishaps and you've got it neatly confined by the sea.
But hey, I guess international audiences aren't going to look very kindly at sweeping aerial shots of Blackgang Chine and Ventnor as opposed to sequences in Regent's Park, Tower Bridge and even a needlessly featured Wembley Stadium (apparently there's nowhere else to land a chopper). And if you live in London, prepare to slap your head a great deal more than you did watching the excremental Da Vinci Code, as geography once more takes a back seat to the demands of running time.
But by putting aside some of the concerns of logic and reason, it's possible to enjoy one of the finest zombie films in a long time. Most of the things one would want to see are here - gore by the gallon, guns by the gross and plenty of people making just one bad decision and dying a screaming death.
This is a tautly paced film with very little fannying about. The infected are back, courtesy of a carrier, someone who can infect others, but is essentially left unharmed themselves. This leads, naturally, to another bloody outbreak. This is the film's great strength. Not logic, not exposition or politics, hell not even a love story - just murderous Rage victims let loose in rooms full of people, coupled with napalm strikes, rotor blades, rooftop snipers, .50 calibre machine guns and people vomiting blood on their screaming victims. It's an exhilarating and terrifying film, featuring some truly exceptional set pieces, and some memorable moments of extreme gore (helicopter sequence, say no more).
So go and see it. Enjoy it. Cover your eyes at times. Listen to the shrieks of your fellow movie goers as zombies bury their fingers in people's eye sockets and tear open their throats with their teeth. But don't be surprised if five minutes later, during a post-film pint you go "uhhh....hang on a sec" and start to unravel the rather messy web.
Also, my source informs me about a prequel being made set before the initial outbreak, perhaps dealing with where the Rage virus came from, although details have still to be worked out. Suffice it to say, this is almost certainly NOT the end.
Not bad at all for a sequel featuring none of the original cast, but what I want to know is: Is it possible to do that with a helicopter?! The carnage bit on the hill, I mean. It's the only scene that made me laugh for its silliness. You wouldn't get Mike Smith trying that.