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Dead Heat
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Dead Heat (1988)

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Plot Summary:
"Roger Mortis and Doug Bigelow are cops that are chasing crooks that are dead serious about crime. Or should I say they are chasing dead crooks perpetrating serious crimes? Seems some nutcase has learned how to bring back the dead and is sending them on crime sprees. Now these indestructable goons are in the way of officers Mortis and Bigelow. To even things up, when Mortis is killed (in the line of duty, of course) he gets a jump start from the Resurrection machine and takes the fight to the zombie bad guys."

Review by
Ryan McDonald
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Review Date: 11 August 2006 My Rating: out of 5


Two cops (straight-laced Treat Williams, goofy but muscular Joe Piscopo) investigate robberies, end up at a pharmaceutical company (headed by the recently departed Vincent Price), with Lindsay Frost his PR person. There they stumble upon a machine that can reanimate the dead, hence the near indestructibility of the robbers.

Soon enough, poor Williams himself winds up dead...then Undead...then slowly dying again, hence the need to find out just who is behind this all (And it's not as obvious as it sounds, though I personally picked the culprit relatively easily).

This film is just so flat and lethargic for what could've and should've been a crazy, gory load of fun (Sam Raimi or Joe Dante might've known what to do with this one). For instance, there's an outrageous scene involving a reanimated animal carcass, as well as a great decomposition scene (one of the better ones out there), but there's little of interest around it, the plot isn't adequately explained, and for every interesting use of special FX by Steve Johnson ('Innocent Blood', 'Big Trouble in Little China', the latter an example of what this film could've and should've ended up like), there are some phony-looking ones too. The acting is also mostly flat, especially by Williams and Frost. Although Joe Piscopo is the best thing in the film, his mixture of tough guy and Jerry Lewis, is not on the same plane as anything else in the film. But at least he's trying.

The film is so bizarre (and grotesque) that it becomes quite close to actually being watchable. Given this was one of Vincent Price's final appearances (his body may have become frail, but that voice projecting mellifluent evil is still there), I might suggest that if there's nothing else on, you might find this decent enough. It sure is weird, at any rate. I just wish weird wasn't this dull.

Ever-so slightly underrated, but incredibly uneven and flat horror/comedy hybrid wants to be off-the-wall and gory, but never generates enough energy or interest, due mostly to poor direction and acting.

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