Dead Heat (1988)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay)
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Overall Rating 59%
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Ranked #3,615
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LAPD police officer, Roger Mortis is killed while arresting zombies who have been reanimated by the head of Dante Laboratories in order to carry out violent armed robberies. --TMDb
Treat Williams
Treat Williams
Joe Piscopo
Joe Piscopo
Lindsay Frost
Lindsay Frost
Darren McGavin
Darren McGavin
Vincent Price
Vincent Price
Review by Chad
Added: May 09, 2007
An eighties zombie flick. A classic team of good cop / bad cop. Reanimated Chinese food. A cameo by the late Vincent Price. Gobs of action mixed with a hearty helping of comedy and lightly sprinkled with a touch of horror. Treat Williams and Joe Piscopo in the leading roles. So, what are you waiting for? Do I really need to continue with the review? Oh, alright... since I'm such a nice guy, I suppose that I'll proceed.

Roger Mortis (Treat Williams) and Doug Bigelow (Joe Piscopo) are a pair of cops investigating a string of robberies that have occurred in their city. What sets these robberies apart from all the others is the fact that the criminals had no regard for the law whatsoever: the crimes were committed in broad daylight in very high-profile areas of town. Oh, and the criminals were also extremely resilient to bullets, as it takes a couple dozens rounds to finally put them down. After doing a little "digging", our heroes trace these crimes back to a research lab where they meet Randi James (Lindsay Frost), a lady who claims that this company only deals with common, everyday products such as tampons and hemorrhoid cream. Mortis and Bigelow are unconvinced, however, and after a little snooping around, they discover that these people are also researching a device that will bring the dead back to life. Soon after this discovery is made, Mortis is killed in the line of duty, and his fast-thinking sidekick uses the machine to bring him back to the land of the living. The catch here is that Mortis now only has about twelve hours before decomposition kills him for the second time, so he plans to use those hours to get to the bottom of this case.

This film, as if it wasn't blatantly obvious already, is a huge mish-mash of genres and ideas that actually manages to come across as entertaining. Mixing together horror, zombies, action, comedy, and a bit of detective work with Williams and Piscopo in the leading roles isn't exactly something that I thought would work, but I'll be damned if I wasn't grinning like a fool throughout the entire running time. The film is so over the top and so out there that you just can't help but fall in love with it from the opening scenes.

Now, horror fans should be aware that while the synopsis may make this seem like it's predominantly a horror film, it's not; in fact, the horror side of things is kept to a minimum. Sure, there are the obvious horror elements (zombies) and it does have its horrific moments, but for the most part, this is more of an action / comedy affair. There's very few zombies that show up to torment our heroes - about ten total - and these certainly aren't your typical Romero zombies as they can talk, think, shoot guns, and yes, even crack some corny one-liners. In a legit horror flick, this would cause me to laugh at the filmmakers for their total stupidity; here, however, it just worked thanks to the over-the-top nature of the film as a whole.

The cast members are also a "treat" to watch as they tell this little gem of a story. First and foremost, Vincent Price is great in his role as the greedy billionaire villain. His role may have been a glorified cameo, but it's always a good thing when he gets some time in front of the camera. The leading men may not have been quite as entertaining, but they still were still a lot of fun to watch. These two guys are known for their one-liners and hammy acting, and we as viewers certainly aren't left wanting when it comes to either. Again, this pairing probably wouldn't have worked in a legit horror or action flick, but here, it just all clicks together thanks to the story and tone of the film.

Check it out. It's not a great horror film, it's not a great action flick, and it's not a hilarious comedy, but there are enough elements of each to keep you happy from start to finish. Besides, reanimated Chinese food served up by Professor Toru Tanaka and Linnea Quigley in another zombie role = $$$. 8/10.
Crispy #1: Crispy - added 05/09/2007, 03:14 PM
Wow I had forgotten all about this movie. I remember loving this one. Have to hunt it down again.
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 05/10/2007, 12:30 AM
Treat Williams + Joe Piscopo = WOW. Normally, that would be presumed to be sarcastic and it would generate laughs. I mean it. 8/10.
Tristan #3: Tristan - added 05/10/2007, 01:37 AM
Treat Williams is the fucking balls. Ever see Deep Rising? He was great in that, and he was great in this. 7/10
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