Having already made Battle Of The Damned you would think Dolph Lundgren would know to avoid zombie films of questionable quality. But here he is, complete with black hair left over from The Punisher, in Dead Trigger. An adaptation of the video game of the same name.
A virus has brought about the zombie apocalypse. The Contagion Special Unit (CSU) has been formed as an elite force to deal with the threat. But due to its high mortality rate, it has taken to using a video game to find recruits. Walker (Dolph Lundgren, Hard Night Falling, Black Water) and Rockstock (Isaiah Washington, Grey’s Anatomy, Ghost Ship) are in charge of training the newest batch of recruits. Of course, their training is cut short when there’s an emergency extraction needed and they’re the closest unit.
Co-written and co-directed by Mike Cuff and Scott Windhauser (Hurricane Heist) who went on to co-write Antidote, Dead Trigger is a mess. I never played the original game so I have no idea if this is an accurate adaptation. But we also never see the game in the movie either, which seems odd. Also for a film with an alleged $10,000,000 budget, it has incredibly bad effects. The CGI gunshots and blood spray are bad enough. But when Lt. Martinov (Oleg Taktarov, Predators, Battle Drone) is demonstrating zombie fighting we get CGI stab wounds. And they are awful.
Now, this might have been forgivable if the rest of Dead Trigger had delivered. But it doesn’t. The plot is as by numbers as possible, right down to base’s commander having a daughter among those needing to be rescued. Even when one of the crew turns out to be a traitor it’s predictable.
The zombies are basic, slow-moving creatures. I had hoped when they encountered the immensely powerful Subject Zero (Keil Oakley Zepernick) early in the mission that the film would go into Resident Evil territory. But he turns out to be a one of a kind creature and we’re back to basic zombies. And the battles with them are shot with an incredible lack of flair. One only has to look at Redcon-1 to see how easily this should be to do. And for a lot less money than Dead Trigger claims to have spent.
Shot in 2017 but only now seeing US release via Saban Films it’s quickly obvious why this sat on the shelf for so long. Even the Starship Trooper type recruiting ads can’t help Dead Trigger, it’s dead on arrival.