Shadow: Dead Riot - Unrated (DVD)
Directed by Derek Wan
Distributed by Media Blasters
Reviewing a film like Shadow: Dead Riot is not an easy thing to do. With so many films appearing on DVD that slide under the general majority's radar, it is not surprising that many people can toss the movie aside and label it as typical cheese.
Shadow: Dead Riot is one of those DVD releases that warrants the viewer watching at least some of the special features first. This helps tame the savage part of the brain that can easily tear the flick apart after a few continuity errors or the ear bleeding dialogue. Shadow: Dead Riot is first and foremost a consortium of many great films. It combines the outlandish violence of Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky, the zombie baby antics of Brain Dead, and just about every female prison movie to ever grace the wee morning hours of cable television. Oh, and don't forget there are zombies too. Zombies that love to molest women and bite nipples.
Do all these things work together to make a good film? No, BUT they do combine in such a way that makes an entertaining film at the very least. Honestly, the audience may not remember the specifics about Tony Todd's role or the character development between some of the female prisoners, but not one ounce of that matters if you are having a good time watching the film. Seeing a large bodybuilder woman throw someone around the room with a crazy look on her face certainly makes for laughs, but the real chuckles lie in the way that the dead are re-animated. Tony Todd brings zombies to life with his magical Zombie Sprinkler Wrists™ for God's sake! GENIUS!
We already have two other reviews for this film up so let's move on to what can make or break this double dip. Shadow: Dead Riot's unrated collector's edition comes on two discs. The first DVD contains the feature film, a commentary track, and a few trailers. The commentary track is about as run of the mill as it can get. What is nice to listen to is the amount of cast and crew members that were brought in to contribute. There is plenty of technical information along with a few of the many, many mistakes pointed out. At least the audience will be well informed as to why some areas made no sense. That's so generous.
Disc two is where this second dip takes off. The behind-the-scenes featurette is almost jaw dropping when you see how much work actually went into the fight scenes that make the movie enjoyable. The filmmaker's didn't just grab some Kung Fu guy off the streets, no no. They got one of Jackie Chan's guys to show them how things are done right. Normally this sort of effort wouldn't be expected in a horror film, but this is one tries to be more than just a couple of tits and a few splatters of blood. The gritty details of stunt work and special effects are the meat of this featurette instead of a bunch of interviews cheer-leading the project (*cough* any Michael Bay production *cough*).
The isolated music score, photo/art galleries, and music video can be ignored altogether. There's nothing special offered to attract attention, and scrolling through pictures of Tony Todd looking scary gets old after a few clicks. Not even the grindhouse version of the trailer keeps the finger away from the menu button for long, but the audition reel does have its moments of glory when the actresses seem to say anything in order to get a part.
Screw these things, and get to the A Tale of Two Zombies featurette. Did you think two of the zombies that showed up in the film's climax looked familiar? They damn sure better, or you are not a true zombie fan. Romero's first zombie, Bill Hinzman, and Fulci's big boat zombie (the late Captain Haggerty) both get their moment in the sun with this short feature. This really needed to be longer. Hinzman and Haggerty spill a couple of short facts about their individual movies and then … wham! The credits start to roll.
This version of the DVD does add more to the plate than the previous release, but it just doesn't serve up enough to warrant a second dip. However, this is the DVD to go for if you have been interested in buying the movie and held out.
Dig I mention Tony Todd's Zombie Sprinkler Wrists™?!!! I can almost hear an infomercial!
Cast and crew commentary
Isolated music score
A Tale of Two Zombies featurette
Photo and art gallery
"Zombie Baby" collector's key chain
3 1/2 out of 5
3 out of 5