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. Written by
Tim Kretschmann <Tim.K@VirComm.com>
Two cops needs to crack this case before the rot sets in.
Ahhhhhhhhh, the mighty Treat Williams. He never really hit the big time but he's always someone I have just enjoyed seeing in movies and when he gets a starring role (as he does here) that usually means I'm going to enjoy it. Okay, he may never get anything better than the daft entertainment of Deep Rising but he always seems to pick projects that have at least some fun factor in them.
And so it remains the case with Dead Heat, a movie that takes the buddy-cop flick and mixes in some zombie action, resulting in an amusing, bullet-riddled romp with a few people battling decay just as much as battling criminals.
Treat Williams is Detective Roger Mortis (see what they did there? See?) and Joe Piscopo plays his partner, Detective Doug Bigelow. The two are mavericks who leave destruction and massive repair bills in their wake but who also get results. The biggest puzzle, however, is a series of recent crimes featuring criminals who seem a lot harder to kill than your usual flesh and blood baddies. What's going on? Can our two detectives find out before they end up in body bags themselves?
Dead Heat is lacking in a lot of ways but in oh so many other ways it's just completely awesome, which is why I even things out to rate the thing at 7/10. Treat Williams is good, though he's no De Niro, and he looks better in every scene that he shares with Joe Piscopo (a man so unfunny that hyenas turn mute whenever he's nearby), but the real treat for horror fans is the limited screen time given to the great Vincent Price. Robert Picardo has a small role too and Darren McGavin has a lot of fun with his character. Lindsay Frost and Clare Kirkconnell play two women caught up in events and do well enough with what they have to work with.
Mark Goldblatt's direction is okay and Terry (brother of Shane) Black's script is so-so when not having to give dialogue to Piscopo but this is one of those movies that overcomes the different pieces to become so much better as one whole experience. Because Dead Heat is about crazy shoot outs between people who can't be easily killed, it's about a sequence of sustained insanity in a Chinese butcher shop that has to be seen to be believed and it's about a finale full of so much fun that it makes up for every witticism that we've had to endure from Piscopo.
I have to also say how impressed I was by the movie's attitude towards it's characters, nobody is too safe and deaths are quite sudden and without any fanfare. It's very 80s and it's never going to be the leader of the pack in any subgenre it can be classed in but it's also a hugely entertaining riot and one that I've finally seen after 20+ years of wanting to get my hands on it without ending up hugely disappointed.
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