“Amigo Undead” was co-written and directed by Ryan Nagata (the other scribe on the film was George Edelman) and it stars Randall Park (The Interview, Fresh Off the Boat), Steve Agee, Michael McCafferty, Ed Galvez and David Clennon (who played Palmer on “The Thing” amongst many other roles) has a cameo as a religious military zealot. It is an interesting variation on the zombie craze in cinema and fairly entertaining.
Park who plays Kevin is the adoptive brother of Agee’s Norm. Norm is a slacker whose friends include a drug dealer and the postman from Norm’s neighborhood. Another friend is Jovan (Galvez) a Mexican Illegal who works for Norm in the construction business.
On his birthday, Norm invites Kevin out to celebrate on his new property, which is piece of desert in the middle of nowhere. At the celebration, Jovan chokes on a hotdog and when the Heimlich maneuver fails, Wayne (McCafferty) accidentally shoots the man.
The group decide to bury Jovan who refuses to die or stay buried.
The plot hinges around a cursed bit of land and a group of grown buffoons who use their knowledge of various movies (like Home Alone, Terminator, et al) to combat the returning, and increasingly deadly Jovan.
Park plays his part of the adopted Asian sibling of six foot three underachiever Norm perfectly straight and it works. However the rest of the characters all appear to be in a state of arrested development.
With emotional levels far below their years, the men all have more in common with teen boys than grown men. Granted their testosterone is not in overabundance but their reasoning power is totally on par with the average male teenager.
The comedy is a tad hit and miss. Park does well with the script and Galvez is, at turns, funny and quite frightening as the “zombie.”
Clennon is really quite good as the military nutcase who bands briefly with the men to fight off the zombie. “Come on boys, let’s tug one for Jesus.”
The film ends with the quasi successful Kevin (Park) enlisting the help of two Native American craft merchants.
“Amigo Undead” features a lot of comic gore. Perhaps the funniest bit in the movie is a scene where Norm starts to gag at the visceral carnage. Sadly the downplaying of some roles combined with the over the top delivery of others makes for an uneven feature that is neither that funny or that scary.
At 84 minutes the film is not overly long and worth a look if the viewer is a Randall Park fan. The movie is neither fish nor fowl as it does not have enough comedy to make it truly funny. Nor does the movie have enough gore or violence to make it truly a horror film.
Streaming on Showtime and Amazon “Amigo Undead” (aka ” The Many Lives of Jovan Cornejo”) is a solid 3 star film. The higher ranking is down to Randall Park with his straighter than straight comic delivery. The film is amusing without being truly funny, except in one or two spots, but is not so bad that one should avoid it.