It’s been over a year since I saw Dead Rising: Watchtower at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and the main thing that I can remember about it is how little I remembered about it, if that makes sense. I know that I gave it a low rating, and I disliked it, but the main reason for my dislike was just how mediocre it was, and how unmemorable any of the cast members were. But I decided to give this movie a go anyway, despite the fact that it’s a sequel to that movie.
There’s a new director (Pat Williams), a new writer (Michael Ferris) working alongside the returning Tim Carter, and a new mission for the main hero (Jesse Metcalfe, reprising his role as Chase Carter). Keegan Connor Tracy and Dennis Haysbert also return to play the characters that they played in the first movie, while Patrick Sabongui gets to come back as someone completely different from his previous turn.
Funnily enough, I already feel exactly the same way about this movie as I do about the first film. It’s almost completely unmemorable. It doesn’t even have comic relief from Rob Riggle. At least I will know to avoid the planned TV series, currently listed on IMDb as being in pre-production.
I don’t dislike anyone onscreen. Haysbert deserves much better than this, although he does just fine as the stereotypical military leader, and Metcalfe could also fare better if he was playing the hero in a more interesting adventure. Keegan Connor Tracy at least manages to avoid taking part in the majority of the events, Sabongui is decent enough, and then you get the interchangeable blandness of Jessica Harmon, Ian Tracey, Victor Webster, and Marie Avgeropoulos, which is more a statement on the writing and (lack of) characterisation than it is a statement on the acting skills of any one individual.
There are one or two good kills during the frantic, against-the-clock, finale and you get a very small amount of Billy Zane (who always seems to work best in small doses), but there’s nothing else I can think of to recommend this. Having said that, I will once again note that I have never played the videogame series that this movie is based on. For all I know, this may be practically overflowing with details and references that will keep fans absolutely delighted from start to finish.
I doubt that’s the case, but it could be.
DIRECTOR: PAT WILLIAMS
WRITER: MICHAEL FERRIS, TIM CARTER
STARS: JESSE METCALFE, KEEGAN CONNOR TRACY, IAN TRACEY, JESSICA HARMON, DENNIS HAYSBERT, PATRICK SABONGUI, MARIE AVGEROPOULOS, BILLY ZANE
RUNTIME: 96 MINS APPROX