A day that starts normally by taking the children to school in Philadelphia suddenly turns to mayhem as a virulent zombie plague breaks out. It soon becomes clear that the problem has spread world-wide, and ex-UN special investigator Brad Pitt is forced on a desperate mission across the globe to find a solution.
World War Z had a troubled production, with last minute reshoots and widely-reported script problems. But the finished product is a taut thriller with plenty of well-directed and suspenseful scenes as Brad Pitt navigates his family through hostile city streets. Later, when he is reluctantly sent back into the field from a position of relative safety, the film gets even better as Pitt follows uncertain leads, jumping around the world finding no sanctuary.
The one aspect that really stands out in World War Z is the varied locations, which are very well used. Different countries handle the plague in different ways, and the film takes little moments to reflect on the ramifications of these decisions. But not for long, World War Z is pretty much non-stop action.
I also appreciated that World War Z, although filled with all sorts of action, was not gory. For a zombie film there was almost no blood, which makes a nice change from the normal splattery fare. All the really bloody stuff happens just offscreen, or milliseconds after the camera cuts away, but it is cleverly done and the action still feels visceral without the viscera.
I was totally blown away but how great World War Z was, with fantastic special effects, good acting, and scary action. But all good things must come to an end. Unfortunately for World War Z this point comes about three quarters of the way through the film, not at the end credits as one would hope. At a certain point the film just slams to a halt, and the last 40 minutes seem to have be grafted on from a different, much less interesting production. The script changes tone and quality, becoming more of a cheap made-for-tv horror film; even the acting gets worse.
It is such a shame, because World War Z would have been a stone-cold classic if it had managed to maintain the pace and epic scale of the first 2 acts. I would still recommend this film, but prepare for disappointment.