Dead Heat

Detective Roger Mortis is having a terrible day. He barely has time for coffee before he and his partner must contend with a group of armed robbers who don't seem to be phased by the barrage of bullets lodged in their chests. Even after putting the aforementioned robbers out of commission he still gets chewed out by his superiors and has a fight with his ex. Oh, and then he dies. But before his partner can even pick out the floral arrangements for Roger's funeral, he is reanimated by a bizarre piece of machinery. Too bad for Roger, he is still decomposing. Now he has 24 hours to solve his own murder and punish those at fault with a dying man's resolve.

I lauded this film in full when it played Terror Tuesday a few months back, but this was my first viewing both since that event and since purchasing the DVD. Dead Heat still tickles me in all the appropriate places. It is a paradigm of high-concept, low intelligence 80's filmmaking which happens to be my favorite type especially when communicated through the horror genre. Treat Williams is quite the lovable corpse and there is a direct proportion between my love for that character and his visible necrosis. My biggest problem with the film was, and has always been, Joe Piscapo who barely passes for a human being even before he is zombified. But upon this viewing, his low-brow, undisciplined brand of "comedy" bothered me far less. I'm not saying I am appreciating him more, but it's something akin to being punched in the head so many times that you start to become numb to the blows. If I think of him as less a human character and more a talking cartoon ape, his antics seem more appropriate.


Zombieland

As if being a lonely geek with no friends or hope of ever getting laid weren't bad enough, young Columbus had to watch as the whole world turned to a clan of raging cannibals right outside his window. Luckily his neuroticism and passion for self-preservation have given him the tools he needs to remain unaffected by the infection that turned our planet into the domain of the undead. When he meets up with the wild, possibly insane force of redneck nature that is Tallahassee, he is convinced that the two of them can handle any obstacle that comes their way. But then they meet their match in a pair of tenacious young girls. Will the zombies or the pint-sized con artists be the source of their ultimate undoing?

How do I love this film? Let me count the rules! Zombieland is the culmination of everything I could hope for in a horror comedy. It starts with outstanding performances, stirs in a plethora of headtilts to the genre, and doesn't skimp on the horror in the hopes of being more accepted as a comedy. The gore effects in Zombieland are as masterful and impressive as in any other zombie film. There are even some authentic scares tossed in just for good measure that make me very happy. I think Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson play off of one another beautifully and Woody is having so much fun playing this part that it becomes impossible not to love him. The entire final sequence at the amusement park is both high energy and brilliantly photographed. I have no fear of a 3D sequel mostly because the amazing slow-motion shots of zombie mayhem at the beginning seem custom made for 3D and will only need be incorporated throughout the film to make the gimmick seamless.



Resident Evil

The umbrella corporation is the largest single entity on the planet. While their public face sees profits from medical and pharmaceutical companies, their real cash cows are chemical weapons and biological engineering. As you can imagine, it is only a matter of time before a catastrophe of Biblical proportions hits the company's headquarters and lots of folks are given their mortal coil pink slips. Meanwhile, a young woman named Alice awakens from a dazed sleep in her shower just in time for government officials to whisk her away to an underground safe house known as The Hive. Too bad it's not as safe as they had hoped.

I had never seen any of the Resident Evil films and since part four had just hit theaters, officially elevating sequelizing into franchising, I thought it was about time to give it a whirl. I didn't hate Resident Evil, but I really don't see why anyone looked at this film and actually greenlit a second. Yes, Moviewoodland, the games on which you based this series are plentiful. But that does not mean you have to continue to churn out your sequels at a rate to match the releases of the subsequent game installments. Frankly, I think there are some nice little moments in Resident Evil, but for the most part it is overly silly for its hardcore aspirations and instantly forgettable. I have to believe that the CG felt dated even to audiences seeing Resident Evil's first run in 2002; if not, it sure as hell doesn't hold up. I'd rather some of the really bad CG elements had been cut from the film entirely than be translated through not-so-special effects. I do enjoy the practical makeup on the zombie dogs...though I bet they didn't.
CATEGORIES Reviews, Horror