Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
One day, like it is happening on this day in this Asylum / SyFy channel joint 'Rise of the Zombies', humanity as we know it will end.  Eventually a future race, be it aliens or newer humans, or whoever will discover what we have left behind and one of the things they will discover will be our forms of entertainment.  They're not going to watch 'Casablanca' or 'Schindler's List' or some mess like that, no sir, they're going to unearth this movie and those like it and after seeing it they are going to say 'damn… they were pretty f@#ked up, weren't they?  Seriously… they called this entertainment?  No wonder they imploded.  Hurry up and put in the next one.'  And they too will be hooked on bad movies that make them happy and their society will be on the path to ruin as well.

You want zombie build up?  You're not going to get it here.  'Rise of the Zombies' starts out from the word jump with zombies in beautiful San Francisco completely off the chain eating humans.  Some cat in a Grand Cherokee finds some survivors and speeds off with his pregnant wife in tow, plan being to catch a boat to Alcatraz because zombies can't swim and take it from there.  Alas he crashes his car, zombies get them, but at least the pregnant lady made it out and she's on the run in SanFran.

But what about Alcatraz?  That's where we meet Dr. Lynn Schneider (Mariel Hemmingway) who is working with Dr. Dan Halpern (LeVar Burton) to develop some kind of zombie cure.  There are a few issues as Dr. Schneider is having to deal with hardcore soldier Luis (Danny Trejo) who keeps destroying the zombie samples, something about putting the dead to rest, and these two don't like each other much.  Their feeling towards each other won't matter much in the next couple of minutes because Zombies has landed on Alcatraz!  Say what?  Didn't we just establish that Zombies can't swim?  WRONG!  These here are Michael Phelps zombies is what they are, and they swim real good.
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Again, zombies are off the chain eating people, it's a bloody mess, time to get on that one raft and make it back to the mainland, except for Dr. Halpern who will stay behind to work on a cure, especially considering his baby girl Julie (Kareese Hutchinson) is now all zombiefied and you always love your baby, zombie or not.  I guess.  I'd put a bullet in my baby's head but that's just me.

Now the mayhem really fires up as Dr. Snyder and her crew hit land to find some other Doc who might have a cure while Luis and his crew search for supplies.  It's not going to pretty for any of them because these are '28 Days Later' styled zombies who can sprint and swim and climb of the Golden Gate Bridge and all kinds of stuff.  But they can't climb over a seven foot chain link fence.  Peculiar.   Will the human race survive?  It is a zombie a movie and my guess is no.  Absolutely not.  Not a chance in hell.   And they find the pregnant lady which took us to a place that few zombie movies dare to go.

Last year the Asylum, the SyFy channel and director Nick Lyon gave us 'Zombie Apocalypse' which probably wasn't all that good, but it grew on us.  One of the main issues we had with that movie was the awful, awful CGI prevalent in that movie.  A zombie movie probably doesn't really need CGI.  This time around nothing but old school head smashing, head crushing, zombie munching and bullets exploding through zombie skulls.  Probably the most violent TV movie ever made.  And it was a better movie than 'Zombie Apocalpse' all things considered, even though both movies were essentially the same.   In fact this could be a sequel for Zombie Apocalypse when I think about it since the goal in that movie was to make it some island safe haven, where the goal in this movie was to get the hell away from that hell hole.

Since our economy is so crappy we're seeing better known actors in these movies which is a good thing.  Trejo does his trademark Danny Trejo thing, Levar Burton and French Stewart makes the movie semi-legitimate, Ethan Suplee from My Name is Earl shows up playing a hardcore Air Force pilot, though he still seems a little on the slow side, and Asylum favorite Heather Hemmens might not be a big star, yet, but she sure is purdy.  What I'm saying is that the cast is not an issue with this movie.

What is an issue is that 'Rise of the Zombies' is wildly erratic.  The zombies are erratic, lumbering forward at times, bounding up flights of stairs like a five year old on a sugar high at other times.  Scaling walls but can't scale fences, swimming like Olympians and hunting like they have a Saturday morning show on ESPN to the point I half way expected them to spout wings and fly.  That would've been awesome by the way.  The pacing was also erratic as the movie was prone to sudden quick bursts of zombie mayhem, these zombies being quite stealthy at times appearing out of nowhere in droves, then we would get very, very slow moments of what was supposed to be exposition but quite honestly was just slow moments of slowness.  I know the movie can't be all zombie madness, I guess, but the expositional moments needed to be integrated between the madness just a little better.

Still with a decent cast, gore galore… for those of you like that kind of thing… old school zombie effects and plenty of zombie mayhem, The Asylum and SyFy didn't do too bad by themselves this time around. 
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