Action Movie Fanatix Review: Rise of the Zombies

When The Odds Are Four Billion To Four There’s Only One Thing Left To Do… Reload.

Starring: Danny Trejo, Mariel Hemingway, LeVar Burton, French Stewart, Hector Luis Bustamante, Angelique Cinelu, Chad Lindberg, Ethan Suplee

Director: Nick Lyon

2012  |  90 Minutes  |  Not Rated

“What if she’s in there and I could save her?” – Dr. Dan Halpern

Yep, I’ve subjected myself to another SyFy movie.  I don’t know why I keep doing it but once it’s on I just can’t turn away.

A group of zombie apocalypse survivors have found shelter on Alcatraz.  When the zombies make it across the water to infest the island a group of them gets away and searches for a scientist who may be close to finding a cure.

First of all, Rise of the Zombies had drastically improved zombie makeup compared toe the previous SyFy zombie fest, Zombie Apocalypse.  I often wonder why SyFy doesn’t employ some of the losers from their own show Face Off to do makeup work for their horrible movies.

Secondly, Rise of the Zombies is extremely violent and gory for a made for TV movie.  Probably more so than The Walking Dead.  Color me impressed.  The movie starts off with a woman getting ripped completely in half by zombies and then seeing her innards pour out.  The blood and gore are mostly done with practical effects but on a few occasions they opted for CG blood which, as usual, didn’t look very good.  The rest of the blood and gore looks great.  There is also a great cool black vein effect that happens when a person is infected.  I was extremely impressed.

The cast is really impressive here.  There are a lot of big names and faces for such a limited release.  Mariel Hemingway does her best with the ridiculous script but usually comes out flat.

LeVar Burton is really the shining star here.  His character, Dr. Dan Halpern, is the one member of the group that stays on Alcatraz island trying to do research and hoping to cure his daughter.  His performance is easily the most believable of the bunch.

I was thinking this movie was a complete waste of Danny Trejo because he really doesn’t even kick much ass but then he gets turned into a zombie and gets his guts chainsawed out before getting a hatchet in his head.

Even though he’s lost some weight it’s a little weird to picture Ethan Suplee as a military man.  I can only picture him as Randy in My Name is Earl even though his performance here was actually pretty decent.

There isn’t a ton of CGI but when it is used it isn’t good.  There is a huge laugh out loud (LOL if you prefer) moment at the beginning as a car speeding toward San Francisco Bay and rolls back and forth down the famous Russian Hill.  It’s horrible.

I actually found one scene to be in pretty poor taste.  There is a pregnant woman who is bitten and infected.  She asks Dr. Snyder to deliver her baby via C-Section.  When the baby is delivered it quickly turns into a zombie baby.  The woman holding the baby drops it and stomps it until it stops moving.  I get that it was a zombie baby but the whole thing just felt wrong and I am not one to be easily offended by anything.

The action is all pretty standard zombie killin’ fun.  Nothing too special but certainly not bad.

Rise of the Zombies is a lot better than I expected but it isn’t anything that you haven’t seen if you have spent any time watching zombie movies.  It is worth a watch if you just don’t feel like watching any of the classics or the remakes of the classics.