Movie tie in games are renowned for being weak in comparison to the games they are based on, but what about movies based on video games? We take a look at the recently released Dead Rising Watchtower which is based on Capcom’s Dead Rising series and even features the main character from the first game Frank West. With zombies galore and plenty of references for the fans, is this worth spending time and money on. Take a look at our Dead Rising Watchtower review for the full picture.
Dead Rising Watchtower Review:
Today we’re taking a look at the movie release of Dead Rising Watchtower which much like Capcom’s other movie tie in Resident Evil loosely follows events as seen in the Dead Rising games which as of now there have been three not including any DLC extras. The movie has been penned by Tim Carter and is directed by Zach Lipovsky who has a number of movie credits mostly centered around TV movie productions. Dead Rising Watchtower is obviously a lower budget production compared to the well cemented Resident Evil movies and does feel a bit like a pilot episode for a TV series. The story follows the antics of upcoming anchor Chase Carter (played by Jesse Metcalfe) who after an infection outbreak in an American city is looking for the scoop to boost his career and profile. Except events take a turn for the worse as the once under controlled infected who are given the drug Zombrex to prevent them from turning, begin to transform into the undead and run amok causing the city to be contained with our hero and fellow female survivors Crystal (Meghan Ory) and Maggie (Virginia Madsen) trapped inside. The rest of the story is a mixture of survival, a few comedic moments and a sinister government plot which Chase is on the cusp of breaking. With his investigative skills proving to be most useful, as a man on the ground he’s able to communicate with the outside news world providing much needed conflict of interest against the official line being purported by the government.
Without going into any more details about the story to avoid spoilers, it’s safe to say the plot heavily borrows from the video game series with uncanny similarities all the way through. It has to be said though Chase isn’t a replacement for the original game hero Frank West who actually has a supporting role here in the news desk providing helpful survival tips and anecdotes live on air. He’s played by Rob Riggle and comes across as more obnoxious and annoying as you would remember him from the video games. In fact he’s a bit of an idiot here which has perhaps been overplayed a little too much to the point where his quips aren’t particularly funny or insightful. He would have been far more entertaining in the field rather than stuck behind the desk in a TV studio and to make matters worse he even utters the famous “I’ve covered wars y’know” line which sadly comes across contrived and ill-placed. In fact in a nutshell, the entire movie is a spot the game references affair which can be seen from the created weapons which are used to take out the few zombies who get battered up close. Certain imagery such as the servbot design on Chase’s shirt and of course the entire quarantine premise. This is certainly a movie for fans which although mildly entertaining in its own right doesn’t have the budget or special effects to make it overly memorable. It’s just not that engaging of a plot for over two hours and does nothing we’ve not seen in countless other zombie flicks. There’s a real lack of imagination throughout despite a promising opening with Chase being accosted by Bonzo the Clown and a maniacal zombie cop.
Dead Rising Watchtower is a movie for those who played the video games and fancy some light entertainment – although that will be served lacking in any real gore you would find in the games unfortunately. There’s some real pantomime moments which will raise eyebrows – we won’t spoil them here – and a distinct lack of threat from the zombie masses due to an overall small budget for special effects and reduced head count. Where the games excelled was with the sheer masses of undead filling the streets whereas here we only see small groups which simply fails to capture the overrun nature of the games. If you’re not a fan of the games then you won’t miss much if you pass on watching this, and even if you are a fan then you’re likely to be disappointed outside of the cool game references thrown in to capture your interest.
Dead Rising Watchtower sits as a mediocre offering at best and one that only the most die-hard will fully enjoy. The ending leaves events open for a sequel which if given a bigger budget might prove to be less run of the mill than what we’ve been offered here. As a TV series pilot this could have been more appealing, but as a full length movie simply doesn’t have the legs to capture the imagination or fun in the way the games have.
Score – 6/10