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Posted September 12, 2016 by

 
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Dead Rising: Watchtower & Endgame – Reviews

The zombie craze seems to be shambling as of late. After nearly a decade of non-stop zombie flicks, from Shaun of the Dead to World War Z, there’s been a lull in the film arena. The Walking Dead brought the genre to its greatest peak and is a mainstay on television, but the villainous fodder that is the undead has receded to b-movie world — mostly. Zombies are also still big in the video game world where they play the perfect mob enemy to mow down with a variety of weapons. It’s video games where DEAD RISING: WATCHTOWER and DEAD RISING: ENDGAME finds its source material, and Crackle (www.Crackle.com) has taken a bite out of the franchise to create a new outbreak of zombie flicks.

Dead Rising premiered in 2006 on the Xbox 360 and had since spawned four sequels, remakes, compilations, and even a mobile game. In 2015, Crackle took to Canada to produce a film loosely based on the video game. Hardcore fans will likely understand that the first film Watchtower, takes place between the Dead Rising 2 & 3 video games. Non-fans of the game don’t need to know this. Like the Marvel movies, Dead Rising rides a line between including people who know nothing about the source and people who know far too much. I would go on comparing Dead Rising to the Marvel formula, but I don’t want to incur fandom rage with a review for what amounts to a b-movie.

Dead Rising takes place in a world where the zombie virus is very real, but there’s also a cure known as ‘zombrex.’ Jessie Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives) is Chase Carter, a journalist reporting on zombies who seeks a career-making encounter with the undead. It’s not long before Chase gets his wish and all hell breaks loose. Just like the video game series, the Dead Rising films are about surviving every crazy, blood-soaked encounter that comes along. Dennis Haysbert (State Farm guy!) plays the typical nefarious Army general with an agenda which is working with the equally nefarious big corporation with an agenda. Rob Riggle (Daily Show)makes a cameo playing Frank West, the protagonist from the original game, who is now a celebrity survivor. Endgame features cameos Billy Zane (TITANIC, THE PHANTOM) as a government scientist and Ian Tracey as a whistleblower trying to expose all the nefarious-ness and agendas.

Directors, Zach Lipovsky (for Watchtower) and Pat Williams (for Endgame) handle the action with great skill and visual flare. A lot of GoPro angles throughout, and efficient use of ramping techniques. Also, they used an entire hard drive full of computer generated blood. Both movies feature the same competent craftsmanship, but I’d give the edge to Endgame for being better scripted, edited, and paced overall. Endgame also has the advantage of being less bound to the source material.

Your enjoyment of either Dead Rising: Watchtower or Dead Rising: Endgame depends on whether you can shut off the brain and enjoy a modern b-movie. Dead Rising won’t resuscitate the zombie film genre, but it’s not putting a bullet in the brain to it either.

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Ruben R. Diaz
@RMartian
Freelance Contributor

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