The Rescue Mission
I love post-apocalyptic zombie films. There’s something endlessly fascinating with watching man’s descent into chaos while humanity’s obsession with the flesh-eating undead sees no signs of stopping anytime soon. From The Stand and 28 Days Later through to Cargo and Shaun Of The Dead, every possible angle of this genre has been showcased, remixed, polished and perfected over the years making it incredibly difficult for any newcomer to stand out. Indie flick Transit 17 is the perfect example of this and nestles itself comfortably in all the usual tropes and ideas you’d expect from this genre with little in the way of uniqueness to help it stand out from the masses.
Set in a post-zombified Europe, Transit 17 sees a soldier named Tex assemble a squad of elite soldiers from different countries to retrieve a young girl who may just hold the key to salvation and bring her to safety. As the team venture out into the hellscape before them, things go sideways quickly, culminating in them frantically trying to keep the mission on track while powerful forces work against them and zombies lurk in the shadows.
As Indie films go, Transit 17’s cheap CGI effects and slightly wooden acting can certainly be forgiven given the low budget. The script is, at times, admittedly cheesy and does juxtapose the seriousness of the situation but it does feel like the script intentionally plays up to these moments at times, giving it a slight light-hearted edge. Whether that’s intentional or not is up for debate. Late on, an action-packed fight ends with some unintentionally funny one-liners too and it’s moments like this that undermine some of the seriousness of the plot. The supporting cast also fail to stand out and most portray their archetypal characters with little charisma or defining uniqueness.
What is particularly impressive here though is just how well-shot Transit 17’s action actually is given the budget. The opening skirmish does well to whet the appetite and late on, the fight for survival is arguably the highlight of the whole film. All of this is shot with a mix of slick edits and some nicely worked steady-cams that help reinforce the choreography and actual gunplay which is pretty good.
Beyond that though there isn’t a whole lot else to write home about. Transit 17 is a predictable Indie film and seems quite content to take the best elements of different zombie flicks and merge them together. From the colloqualistic names ripped from Walking Dead or the story beats that combine elements of The Last Of Us and 28 Days Later, Transit 17 is a film that attempts to refine rather than reinvent the genre. That’s perfect fine of course but given how many other zombie flicks there are, Transit 17 is unlikely to be one remembered for long.
If you’re a hardcore zombie fan it may be worth checking this out but unfortunately Transit 17 fails to really stand out in the undead crowd, fading into mediocrity rather than shining as an Indie gem.