Willis plays Lt. Muldoon who leads an army squadron on a hunt for a supply of biochemical gas that turns exposed people into flesh-eating zombies. Muldoon himself has been infected with the gas and can only delay his mutation into a zombie by constantly inhaling more of it. Director Robert Rodriguez explains his use of a “missing reel” in the screening:
I thought, “I have to take real advantage of the missing reel because all the questions that need answering get answered in that reel.” So the movie doesn’t have to make perfect sense. Exactly what is Bruce Willis’s character up to? I don’t know, it was all explained in that reel.