I won’t call “Dead Rising” the most original zombie movie ever made, but you have to give it to Zach Lipovsky. He makes a movie based around a zombie video game, and delivers big time on zombie carnage. Unlike “Resident Evil.” That said, while I wasn’t completely bowled over by the movie adaptation of the hit video game, I did find “Dead Rising” to be a surprisingly solid and entertaining zombie romp in the end. Its supply of guts and grue is hefty and it packs a punch with slick direction and some neat casting here and there. The film mixes dark comedy, horror and science fiction surprisingly well, with some good laughs followed by genuine zombie frights that I just dug from beginning to end.
I don’t know if the movie had to be almost two hours in length, but it definitely kept my attention from the opening shot right until the closing explosion. I usually find all video game adaptations to be tedious and unsuccessful, but shockingly, “Dead Rising” is one of the very rare good ones. It doesn’t just work as an adaptation but as a zombie movie in its own right. Jessie Metcalfe plays Chase West, a news journalist who is on the front line in a Canadian city that’s been overrun by zombies. The few survivors have been kept alive thanks to the medicine Zombrex. When a bad batch infiltrates Quarantine, the dead begin wreaking havoc and now Chase has to figure out how to get back home. Meanwhile, he’s stuck with two other survivors, both of whom have their own goals for this chaos, and he slowly learns that he can get information on the apocalypse for his job, while concocting various weapons to battle the zombies.
It doesn’t help that a rogue biker gang are outside the doors wreaking their own havoc, while the military are preparing to fire bomb the city in twenty four hours. I don’t know much about the video game, but I know the basic rules about concocting your own weapons and fighting zombies off with normal objects. And the film supplies those nods two fold, showing Chase and co. building their own apparatuses with duct tape and good old fashioned creativity. Director Lipovsky is great at depicting these moments, showing the creation of these weapons as climactic scenes that guarantee a fist pump of excitement. It’s especially cool once Chase decides to step up and fight for his life. Lipovsky’s direction is top notch, depicting a lot of the wasteland as terrifying, while also staging some excellent scenes of zombie carnage.
The single take of Chase stomping zombies while running from car to car is fantastic, while a character’s final scene involving child zombies was absolutely haunting. As an added bonus, the cast is strong with people like Virginia Madsen, and Dennis Haysbert, all the while Rob Riggle draws the most laughs as character from the first game, Frank West. His interviews interrupt a lot of the momentum, but it’s made up for by Riggle’s hilarious line delivery as a straightforward survivor of the zombie apocalypse who supplies advice and tips for television viewers without censorship. I’m usually very rough on video game adaptations, but “Dead Rising” is a surprisingly very good take on the hit video games of the same name. It’s above average zombie cinema with teeth and it’s worth a shot if you’re in the mood for good apocalyptic entertainment.