An Action Packed Sequel That Doesn’t Quite Match The First
Following on from the success of 28 Days Later and delivering a sequel to match the excellent work done by Alex Garland and Danny Boyle was always going to be a tough ask. Despite a heart-stopping opening and several well worked action scenes, 28 Weeks Later fails to ignite the same intensity the first had in abundance, despite an action packed story.
Set six months after the initial outbreak that decimated England, 28 Weeks Later sees the US Army fly in to try to salvage the situation, occupying a small area in London to try to repopulate and take back control of the city. With the infected all but eradicated as a result of starvation, things seem somewhat stable and it’s here where our story begins. Things inevitably go awry and what transpires from here is a heart-stopping journey through the desolate streets of London as Don (Robert Carlyle) and his two children Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) and Tammy (Imogen Poots) fight for their lives as the outbreak spreads again.
Unlike 28 Days Later which managed to defy a lot of the usual horror tropes with its dual-focused plotline and interesting, compelling characters, 28 Weeks Later slips into the usual horror tropes you’d expect from zombie films. Characters making illogical decisions, cookie-cutter archetypal soldiers and the usual slew of gruesome deaths to throwaway characters make 28 Weeks Later a far less intelligent film but what it lacks in smarts, it makes up for with a quickened pace and a much more action-packed storyline.
Although a lot of the characters fall back on throwaway clichéd tropes, Robert Carlyle brings a wonderful air of vulnerability to his role as Don that helps his character stand out among a lot of the other actors here. There are still some good performances here; Idris Elba and Jeremy Renner are both iconic in their roles and the zombie extras are as menacing and frightening as they’ve ever been.
28 Weeks Later never loses focus on what made the first so endearing while building on the horror, turning it into a much more action-driven film than the first. While a lot of the nuanced, thought provocative themes are lost this time around, 28 Weeks Later replaces that with a finely balanced pacing, juggling a mixture of action and suspense-building horror. Boasting one of the most suspenseful opening scenes in recent cinema history and an ending that leaves it wide open for a possible third film, 28 Weeks Later is a decent sequel that can’t quite match up to the prowess of the first but is a fun ride nonetheless, keeping the possibility of a sequel wide open.