World War Z doesn't hang about with a scant set up: after quick TV reports about rabies rumours, retired U.N. bad-ass soldier Brad Pitt, wife Mireille Enos and their two daughters, are stuck in a traffic jam, oblivious to the situation; moments later they are running screaming from crazy people who are a bit on the bitey-bitey side. With every American city overcome, Pitt and his family are evacuated to an aircraft carrier, but he's told this safe haven comes at a price: he must return to his gun-toting ways to safely guide a zombie-believing doctor to South Korea where it's rumoured that the first patient originated…
Despite the presence of Lost/Prometheus writer Damon Lindelof, World War Z thankfully isn't a series of interesting questions that go frustratingly unanswered because director Marc Forster (Quantum Of Solace) is too busy firing action sequences our way. The CGI zombies - the fast, angry zombies who are attracted to sound - are an unstoppable swarm, a human flood; their attack on Jerusalem and their plane takeover being the standout sequences.
Pitt's different take on the action hero is welcome: he doesn't have a plan and, because of the speed of the enemy, can only react. There's no macho attitude, no wisecracks, and he's very aware of his vulnerability, taping magazines to his arms and legs to ward off bites. We're oddly short on marquee names considering the hefty budget but those who show up are memorable, like David Morse's gummy rogue CIA agent, a victim of North Korean policy to pull every tooth to halt the spreading of infection.
One of the issues here is its ending, coming as quickly and as unexpected as the speed of the beginning. Just as you think its gearing up for a big final showdown, World War Z is over, retreating to the teasing possibility of a sequel (the abrupt ending could simply be a factor of the major rewrites and reshoot the film reportedly underwent). Another issue would be Muslims inadvertently causing the fall of Jerusalem, and this after the kind Jewish offer of sanctuary. That development is a questionable inclusion.
Action fans should delight in the onslaught but zombie purists might have problems with the lack of allegory.