As far as apocalyptic movies go, “World War Z” is the most thoughtful and original zombie flick since “I Am Legend”.

Rather than focusing on gore, scare, or excessive character fatality, “World War Z” plays as an investigative race to find the source of a terrifying virus that quickly turns anyone infected into the Left 4 Dead style undead who work quickly to do the same to others. The introduction is short and sweet, and the chaos quickly unfolds into tense action.

The journey follows Gerry (Brad Pitt) as he works to secure his family but is then forced to different locations of the rapidly deteriorating world following leads on the virus. The high intensity is sustained well throughout most of this, with few kinks to dull the heart-pounding drama.

Unlike the horrific acting in most sci-fi films, the performances are mainstream quality, largely bolstered by Brad Pitt. “World War Z” knows exactly how much time to spend on a subject or scene and build on appropriate leads to the conclusion. Scientific discussion and political reality is the core of the film rather than pure survivability.

It falls short just as all end of the world movies do. There is a degree of predictability, but not enough to make you uninterested. There isn’t a fresh and explosive way to leave a story summing up the fate of man kind aside from martyr like in “I Am Legend”. You can throw in all of the underlying messages you want about how man kind will survive if it works together, but that cliché is unfortunately the best case ending for most of the films in this genre.

Entertaining, appropriately brief, and a reprieve from the mindless blood orgy that Hollywood has a habit of churning up, “World War Z” is action worth the watch.

8.1/10