Wednesday, November 5, 2008


With a title like that you were maybe expecting A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE?

This 2006 standard-issue B-picture has a doozy of a concept: while on a mission in Cambodia, a US soldier (played by Dean Cain, wholly inappropriate for this kind of tough-guy role) is bitten by a radioactive scorpion; but instead of becoming a scorpion-like superhero--and believe me, that would've been an improvement--he dies, only to come back to life as a "half zombie." (Excuse me, but isn't that sort of like being half pregnant?) While the other officers in his platoon have reawakened as full-blown zombies--the vicious, flesh-eating kind, rather than Cain's type with the aw-shucks grin and puppy-dog eyes), Cain finds himself at war with his former brothers-in-arms.

Aided by the obligatory black sidekick and sexy love interest, Cain embarks on a new mission, one that feels like a fourth-rate cable cop show, complete with the requisite snappy repartee and watered-down romance (and I've always found Cain's persona as a heart-throb questionable--here, all pasty-white and suffering from rigor mortis, it's downright improbable, to say nothing of his Sonny Crockett wardrobe).

Director Patrick Dinhut keeps things as technically competent as a good workhorse should, but his ham-fisted handling of the action sequences rob them of any excitement. He also has a tendency to play to the movie's dumber aspects, favoring lunkheaded humor over horror or gore. It's a generic zombie movie that really wants to be a generic buddy-cop movie, but fails to be good as either.

Devoid of charm, energy, or laughs, DEAD AND DEADER is the kind of schedule-filling garbage the Sci-Fi Channel thrives on. A more accurate title would be DULL AND DULLER. Skip it.

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