Dead Rising: Watchtower

dead-rising-featuredMovies inspired by video games have not had the greatest of success. You could count the number of successful adaptations on two fingers and even these are controversial choices. A lot of people hate the Resident Evil franchise and the major flop that was The Prince of Persia. So, as you would expect, there was not a lot of excitement about the forthcoming Dead Rising movie.

Chase Carter (Jesse Metcalfe) is a reporter for an online news organisation. Along with his camerawoman Jordan (Keegan Conner Tracy) they are covering the latest zombie outbreak in a quarantined area of east Mission, a city in Oregon. Everything seems under control until Zombrex, the anti zombie drug, stops working. All hell breaks loose. The authorities immediately close down the area in the hope of containing the new outbreak which effectively leaves Chase and Jordan at the mercy of the masses. Inside the zone they meet Crystal (Meghan Ory), a victim of the infection who isn’t turning to zombie. As the military become involved and the threat of fire bombing the whole area becomes a reality, Chase has to find a way out and figure out why Zombrex isn’t working any more.

dead-rising-jesse-metcalfeTo the film’s benefit, it doesn’t aim particularly high. It understands that its origins lie in a series of games that involve killing lots of zombies and not much more. It takes the basic premise of the games which is the ability to kill with all sorts of unusual items and combinations of items. So we get swords and shovels taped together, circular saws and knives and other weird assortments.

With the plot being a little generic, it is up to the actors to put some life into the proceedings. You can see that they do not exactly take it seriously and a lot of it seems to be a bit tongue in cheek. As well as the action occurring in the city we are taken to the rolling news broadcast studio where the news anchor is covering the unfolding story with the help of Frank West (Rob Riggle). Frank is the wise cracking hero from the first Dead Rising game and his increasingly crude and funny remarks are the high points of the movie.

The main cast is all decent in the film. Chase is the core focus. It is basically his journey from shallow news reporter to something close to being a hero. He is not the finished articles by any means. Several times he comes close to being bitten and turned. He has no choice but to improvise in order to survive. It is quite comical and mostly entertaining as he uses his surroundings to do the job. Jesse Metcalfe tackles the role with gusto, fully aware of just how he appears to the audience.

Overall, a film that certainly won’t tax you but is one of the better game adaptations. Expect sequels.

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