Video game inspired movies have an ignominious history. Movies like Hitman, Street Fighter and too many others to name have tried to capture the magic and have failed. A few movies like Tomb Raider and Mortal Kombat have managed some degree of success and popularity. So which end of the spectrum does Dead Rising: Endgame fall on?
The release of the Xbox 360 was an exciting time in gaming. It was a moment that helped push consoles into online gaming as a standard, not just as an extra. Shortly after the launch, I remember playing a demo of an upcoming zombie game on my friend’s 360. That game was Dead Rising. I was blown away by the demo at the time. The open sandbox nature of it and picking up your surroundings to use as weapons were a real treat at the time. It was one of my favorite games for the system.
Over time, several sequels to the game came and then they thought they could do the impossible. They created movies from the source material in hopes of creating a winner. Studios have been trying this for decades now with a pretty low success rate. Sony is trying the same move with Dead Rising on their Crackle network.
Dead Rising: Endgame is actually the third of the movies in the franchise and the second to be released via Crackle. By the time the movie starts, the outbreak is a done deal. The military is working to contain and the government is working to find a cure with scientists.
Early in the movie Chase Carter, the journalist and main character, uncovers a conspiracy to kill those who have taken the Zombrex cure. As a result, Chase and his friends team up with a whistleblower to enter a city and installation to stop the kill order and save all the innocents who have taken the drug.
We have a pretty standard set of story beats with little original added. The best parts would be the manic runs from the zombies and the crafting of makeshift weapons to fend them off the hordes. But all of this has been done better before and inside of a more interesting movie. There is pretty much nothing original to be found here. Additionally, the humor fails to really hit and the surroundings just feel drab and uninteresting all the way around. Think Asylum level shooting and humor here. And no, it isn’t as bad as some of the Asylum movies, but there is pretty much no reason to watch it over any of a dozen Zombie movies that do everything Dead Rising: Endgame does but better.
I really just can’t recommend this on any grounds. Maybe if your Roku is stuck on Crackle and your directional buttons have broken and you can only click play on this movie. Maybe then I recommend you watch it, but not really for any other reason. Watch something that does everything better.
Picture Quality: 3.5/5
Dead Rising: Endgame may be pretty unimpressive visually and feel bland, but that has little to do with the transfer. There isn’t much to complain about here as the picture is very sharp throughout. The colors are ok and the blacks are strong. The only real problem is the movie is tinted a bit grey which can make the colors feel drab, but that isn’t the transfer’s fault as it was designed that way.
Audio Quality: 3/5
Dead Rising: Endgame won’t impress, but won’t disappoint here. The audio doesn’t fully utilize a surround sound set up, but does an ok job with its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The action gets enough support and power from the low end and the music sounds good. The dialog is pretty clear throughout, though if you missed something, it wouldn’t really detract from the experience.
Packaging and Special Features: 3/5
Bringing Zombies to “Life”: Quick couple of clips of make up art being done spliced with quick shots from the movie.
From Game to Screen: Brief comments from cast and creators on bringing more of the story to the movie than is told in the games.
Making the Weapons: Brief display of making weapons and why they chose to make the kinds of weapons used in the movie.
4 Character Pieces: Who is Chase Carter, Who is Jill Ekland, Who is Jordan Blair, Who is Sandra Lowe
These four are just 1 minute explanations of who the characters are. Not a lot of meat here. Just a slight comment on their motivation here and there.
In regards to packaging, they do a decent job. We get a standard case, but we also get slipcover and a set of zombie tattoos. Nothing special, but a pretty decent effort for the low budget movie it is.
Honestly, I almost feel bad giving a rating this high. The movie doesn’t deserve the technical presentation it receives. Likewise, the special features aren’t great, but are better than it truly merits. Even though the movie itself isn’t terrible, its worth suffers because it fails to do anything particularly well and is outdone in pretty much every aspect that it succeeds in by other movies. Only the most die hard fans of zombies or Dead Rising should pick this up for completeness, and it will still probably leave them feeling rather disappointed. So, really, just let this one pass.
But if you feel so inclined, you can pick it up here.