'Zombrex Dead Rising Sun' Review


With the entire hubbub over Dead Rising 2: Case Zero and the imminent release of the full game at the end of the month, Zombrex Dead Rising Sun, Keiji Inafune’s Japan-centric tie in film to the Dead Rising universe, has gone woefully unnoticed.  Released in eight bite sized chunks for free on Xbox Live (exclusively…sorry PS3 owners) over the past few months, the film fleshes out the story of the zombie epidemic in Japan as opposed to the American cities of its video game counterparts…but is it any good?  Find out after the break!

The story revolves around a paraplegic named George, his older brother Shin, and their attempts to seek shelter in the midst of the zombie plague.  Turned away by countless shelters (which seems to be a running theme in these Romero styled capers) they hole up in what they assume to be an abandoned warehouse, only to face the psychotic thug Takahashi and his sadistic goons, who prove to be an even bigger threat than the walking dead outside.  True to Dead Rising form (and the Romero films that inspired them, natch), the real conflict of the movie stems more from the psychotic and amoral humans than from the zombie hordes.  The zombies themselves take a backseat to Takahashi and his gang, who take sadistic pleasure in antagonizing the two brothers as well as Mary, a young nurse who crashes her car into the warehouse in a desperate search for Zombrex, the drug that can prevent her zombification. 

What transpires is pure low-budget zombie movie trash, although elevated to an absurd art form by the video-game pedigree that it carries.  By the end of the movie, we’ve seen gallons of gore, a wheelchair modified into a chainsaw-mobilized tank, a flamethrower to the face, and fatal fellatio, all peppered with sly in-jokes and easter eggs.  Inafune also made the bold decision to shoot most of the movie from the POV of the wheelchair-bound George, which gives it a very unique perspective, as well as its own set of directorial headaches, which Inafune discusses in one of several interview segments interspersed with the various chapters.

Unless your Xbox hard drive is positively bursting at the seams, there’s really no reason not to give Zombrex Dead Rising Sun a shot.  Its micro budget, stilted dialogue, and awful dubbing all add up to be one hell of a good time.  Plus, the price is right…free!  You’ll find it in the Game Downloads/Game Videos section of Xbox Live.