Bullet Points: Daylight’s End
Somewhere amidst the endless Channing Tatum’s and Mark Wahlberg’s working in the action genre, there is actually a group of actors who not only excel at being a lead in an action film, but appear to have been born to do so. Johnny Strong, with his square jaw, ripped bod, and no non-sense attitude, appears to have been molded specifically for the role of jaded drifter. A man who has piled his painful memories up and barricaded them behind a wall thick enough to hold back the rivers of despair that real life has brought him. The past, which we see in only sunny and beautiful dream sequences, gone and nearly forgotten by the scrabble of survivors left to spend their remaining days fighting the monsters brought on by the plague. The title of the film, Daylight’s End, clearly holds many different meanings. Whether it’s the loss of innocence brought on by the mysterious plague, or a direct reference to the single most important weapon against the infected. Daylight’s End does an amazing job of producing a snapshot of a world where the dusk brings on the physical embodiment of evil and their only hope lies in the coming sunrise of tomorrow.
Synopsis: Years after a mysterious plague has devastated the planet and turned most of humanity into blood-hungry creatures, a rogue drifter on a vengeful hunt stumbles across a band of survivors in an abandoned police station and reluctantly agrees to try to help them defend themselves and escape to the sanctuary they so desperately need.
- Jack of all Trades: It’s not uncommon for a star of the film to also work as a producer on the movie. Johnny Strong thinks that people who do that are pitiful weaklings! Strong went one further and did the music and score for the picture. Very impressive.
- What’s in a Name: I was trying to decide where “Johnny Strong” fits best; comic book character, professional wrestler, or Mortal Kombat fighter?
- Vamp Plague: We’re never told that the plague specifically turns the victims into “vampires” but for the purpose of writing this post I will continue to call them so. They do sleep during the daytime because the sunlight will turn them into crispy critters. They also use their teeth as their primary killing tools and their bite can turn non-vamps into one of them. Other than the whole plague causing the event gimmick, they’re vampires in everything except name.
- Add a Notch: After we see Johnny take out a vamp, showing us the effectiveness of the sun’s rays and potentially setting up future uses for the big star in the sky, we see Strong’s Rourke adding another notch to the butt of his rifle. A rifle butt that contains a hell of a lot of marks, I must say.
- One for the Ladies: Being that he’s one of the few remaining badasses left on the planet, Johnny Strong’s character isn’t too modest to pop his shirt off and show the chiseled body that he’s made by wiping out loads of infected assholes trying to drink his blood like some sort of Four Loco frat boy challenge.
- Shoot’em Up: My favorite thing about Daylight’s End is how absolutely amazing the gun battles are. My only small complaint about the shooting is that the rifles are a bit too quiet but other than that, the shootouts are supremely awesome! Every effort appears to have been made to turn these actors into realistic looking combatants and I really believed that Johnny Strong and Company could Shoot, Move, and Communicate.
- Alpha Vamp: Most of the story revolves around Strong’s Rourke trying to get into a position to take out the Alpha of the group of infected people. The thought process being that taking out the leader will lead their guys into disarray and they’ll be fighting among themselves and not ripping the survivors into beef jerky. It’s a plan that leads the film into almost a constant state of gun battle, and folks, for a movie that really does gun battles well, it’s a real treat.
- Cast of Characters: Johnny Strong is the heroic badass, no doubt, but there is a whole slew of actors who really bring their A game to Daylight’s End. Lance Henriksen is in what I call “the Tommy Lee Jones role”. You know the one; former sheriff, now old, grizzled, and a man who taketh no shits. Chelsea Edmundson, Louis Mandylor, and Hakeem Kae-Kazim are a few other actors who have really good performances.
If you’ve survived the plague, you can hole up and read these bonus Bullet Points.
- When Rourke finally meets up with Lance Henriksen and his crew, they question him to no end. But for some reason they don’t pay any attention to the other lady is bat-shit crazy and carrying around a baby doll. WTF Lance?
- Lance Henriksen is so awesome that he uses an iphone to kill some vamps.
- Most of the humans are actually really good people. When they’re bitten by the creatures they just kind of accept their fate. Most movies like this have characters who try to hide that they’ve been bitten and eventually go crazy and start biting the shit out of their friends.
- There is no debate, Vlad is the best!
- This is the post-apocalyptic version of Shane.