An adaptation of The Dead Rising Xbox game franchise and a sequel to 2015’s Dead Rising: Watchtower, Dead Rising: Endgame leaves behind a lot of the over-the-top gimmicky that made the original film such a fun experience, in favor of a more grounded approach toward the zombie genre.
Endgame takes over shortly after the events in Watchtower. There, journalist Chase Carter (Jessica Metcalfe), found his way into and back out of, East Mission, Oregon, a city infested with zombies. Now, as Endgame begins, Chase is back at it, attempting to sneak into the city. While the details are a bit murky, Chase and his crew spy on the shady activities of Army General Lyons (Dennis Haysbert) and witness some murderous activities. Chase also catches wind of a mysterious event called “Afterlife” and the existence of a rogue scientist called “Rand” (Billy Zane). The upshot of it all? It becomes clear to him that the army is involved in a conspiracy to cause the death of over a million innocents.
Chase’s editor refuses to air his latest story for fear of a lawsuit, no matter that airing it could put a stop to Lyons genocidal plans. However, Chase barely has time to sulk, before a corporate whistleblower named Hancock (Ian Tracey) asks for his help breaking into East Mission. Again. From there, it’s a matter of shooting every zombie in sight until the bullets run out, then chop them up with various combo weapons: baseball bats with nails driven through them, etc. While there are some decent action sequences—a climactic one against the mass of zombies at the end is one of the best things in the film. They avoid the over-the-top ridiculousness that was present in the first film. This might disappoint fans of the Dead Rising game, but it makes for a better story and allows viewers to judge the film on its’ own merits.
Endgame is surprisingly well paced, better than average CG gore and occasionally artistic cinematography. That’s not to say it’s a great piece of art. The holes in the plot are big enough to drive a truck trough. There is no character development, so we never really care what happens to any of them. Despite telling us millions of innocent people will die, the stakes never feel particularly high. As such, Dead Rising: Endgame is probably best reserved for huge fans of the first film and those that have absolutely nothing better to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
Framed in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, this 1080p transfer won’t blow anyone away, but it’s capable. The digital source photography leaves the movie looking flat and slightly glossy. Nonetheless, there’s still a nice level of detail in evidence. The film’s various industrial backdrops look good, with a weathered appearance. Skin tones and textures don’t come up to the level of the best Blu-ray transfers, but it’s still above average. Overall, the film has a gray, desaturated look. Otherwise, colors are appropriately vibrant and black levels are adequate. Source noise is mild and not a distraction.
Like the video, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack won’t blow anyone away, but it does the job. Music is given a wide berth, while showing off the surround capabilities. Louder sounds and action sequences are given a nice depth and significant oomph. What light atmospherics there are come through well enough, with some surround involvement. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout. While a few of the heavier elements sound slightly muffled, overall, this track is a good one.
English, English SDH and French subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Bringing Zombies to “Life” (HD, 0:55) A montage of makeup and prosthetic application.
- From Game to Screen (HD, 2:32): A quick look back at the last movie, Watchtower, where the movies fit into the game franchise, working with Capcom and making this movie scarier than the original.
- Making the Weapons (HD, 1:19) A look at the game-inspired weapons in the movie.
- Who Is Chase Carter? (HD, 1:14) A brief exploration of the character.
- Who Is Jill Ekland? (HD, 1:00) Again, a brief exploration of the character.
- Who Is Jordan Blair? (HD, 0:50) Ditto, above.
- Who Is Sandra Lowe? (HD, 1:02) Ditto, above.
- Temporary Tattoos: Seven in all.