420. Cargo

★★

“Cargo” is less a movie and more a mini-series prequel to “The Walking Dead” that was scrapped at the final hour to save time for more “Mad Men” reruns. It is as lifeless as a Chernobyl zoo, as boring as a McDonald’s birthday party. There are some provoking themes about how whites are still penchant for racism and appropriation even in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. But those themes aren’t provoking enough to take a bite of our attention.

“Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and sometimes Marvel movie star Martin Freeman plays Andy, a fatherly sea captain traveling a narrow Australian river with his wife in child as the rest of the world has fallen into post-apocalyptic disarray. Andy’s wife gets a taste of zombie fever, he’s left by his lonesome, with Andy having to navigate the treacherous terrain before he too turns into an undead underling.

Basically the central conflict revolves around Andy creating a new life for himself, one rich with new friends and enemies, even after his wife has passed. But Freeman isn’t able to muster a sense of excitement for us to care. Despite the political intonations in “Cargo” that are fairly new to zombie lore, there’s little driving us to keep watching. It all feels derivative of a “Walking Dead” episode, the villain a less charismatic version of Negan, Freeman a less annoying version of Rick, and the walkers themselves not so much walking but trudging through a muck of suffocating story quicksand.

“Cargo” is the type of movie you watch after you finish watching a stream of “Black Panther” on putlocker on your computer and still in your stoned state, ask what that Martin Freeman chap has been up to since. It’s an algorithmic error to a pop culture phenomenon, a Netflix gift even though it was nobody’s birthday. “Cargo” is an okay movie, but sometimes that’s even worse than bad.

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