Dead Rising: Endgame brings the popular zombie-slaying video game to life once again – this time with more zombies, more blood, and higher stakes… but admittedly less fun.
The follow-up to last year’s Dead Rising: Watchtower, the Crackle-distributed adaptation of the Dead Rising video game series, picks up shortly after the events of the first film, which followed reporter Chase Carter (Jesse Metcalfe) as he investigated the zombie-infested city of East Mission, Oregon. While Chase made it out more or less unscathed, his partner wasn’t so lucky – and he still isn’t sure what happened to her. When Endgame opens, Chase and his new team are investigating some shady covert operations, which leads them to witness a few murders and the involvement of the villainous General Lyons (Dennis Haysbert).
The tone is immediately more serious than that of Watchtower – which, for a movie about the zombie apocalypse, carried surprising levity. Still, the adrenaline-fueled story makes it hard to look away. When Chase’s editor refuses to air his footage – fearing a huge lawsuit or military action as opposed to, you know, the genocide said military is preparing to carry out via a “kill switch” of sorts – he and his team go to drink their sorrows away… until Lyons’ team shows up to take them out. Luckily, Hancock (Ian Tracey) tips Chase off… and all he asks in return is for Chase to help him break back into East Mission to stop the military’s plan.
From there, it’s a zombie bloodbath through to the end. Regular zombies, super-speed running zombies, genetically enhanced zombies… There are a lot of zombies to contend with. The cinematography, choreography, effects, and so on are definitely a step up from the first film, but the tradeoff is the absence of the over-the-top action and other central elements of the games. The combo weapons are there, but unlike the whimsical sledgesaw featured in Watchtower, Endgame‘s are much more logical (think nails in a baseball bat, etc.)
So Endgame doesn’t capture the feel of a video game – let alone one with the camp and humor of the Dead Rising series – quite as well as its predecessor. That said, it’s still a decently captivating watch – especially if you’re a fan of The 100, because Marie Avgeropoulos (who plays Chase’s girlfriend, Sandra) kicks ass and was one of our favorite parts of the film. The story is fast-paced, the zombie horde sequences are appropriately stressful (and gave us another reason to fear parking garages, especially with the undead on the loose), and the stakes are higher than ever. If you’re looking for a zombie film to kick off your summer, it’s worth a watch.