Rob Riggle is Frank West in ‘Dead Rising: Watchtower’

By October 22, 2014
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Capcom’s video game franchise Dead Rising, which has released three games across two console generations thus far, is the latest to make the jump to the film medium courtesy of Legendary Pictures. That’s old news, though. Former “Daily Show” correspondent Rob Riggle being cast in its lead role? That’s news, and frankly (see what I did there?), it’s awesome.

Dead Rising: Watchtower, coming from Legendary Pictures, will first be released on ad-based VOD streaming service Crackle, before eventually making its way to other VOD services along with home media formats when it’s released next year. It’s based on the Dead Rising video game franchise, a somewhat tongue-in-cheek and often horrifying take on the zombie craze, played from the third-person perspective and primarily consists of your player trying to survive a massive zombie outbreak in a specific environment. Gameplay is often fun, creative, and tense, as you can use a variety of weapons (and in later games, custom-crafted weapons) to dispatch zombies in any way you choose: brutal, bombastic, efficient, pretty much however you want.

2006's Dead Rising featured the Frank West character, and started the franchise which has sold over 6 million games over its three entries.

2006’s Dead Rising featured the Frank West character, and started the franchise which has sold over 6 million games over its three entries.

The first game, 2006’s Dead Rising, was an exclusive title to the Xbox 360, and one of the first games of the seventh generation of consoles developed specifically (and exclusively) for high definition televisions. In the game, you play as photojournalist Frank West: he’s chasing a scoop that leads him to a shopping mall that’s infested with the undead, and he has to overcome the flesh-eating hordes to find out what created the zombie virus and try to put a stop to it, all the while trying to land the scoop of a lifetime. Frank has to learn about zombie killing on his feet, and when handed a gun for the first time and asked if he knows how to use it, he utters his most famous line from the game: “Kinda…I’ve covered wars, you know.”

Dead Rising 2 followed a new lead character, and was released in 2010 taking place in a Las Vegas analogue, complete with a massive shopping center and hotel/casino. Dead Rising 3 was released last year as an Xbox One-exclusive launch title (which we reviewed), and opened up the canvas to an entire city in Southern California.

Yesterday, Legendary Pictures announced that Rob Riggle has been cast as Frank West in the film, the same character from the original game, which seems pitch perfect. Not only has Riggle also “covered wars” as a former marine, but the irreverent nature of the franchise seems especially suited to many of his comedic talents, while also being a pretty solid lookalike to the character as he appeared in the game. Legendary’s official description for the film reads:

Dead Rising: Watchtower takes place during a large-scale zombie outbreak. When a mandatory government vaccine fails to stop the infection from spreading, the four leads must evade infection while also pursuing the root of the epidemic, with all signs pointing to a government conspiracy. Politics, public paranoia, and media coverage play an important role in the story’s narrative.

Riggle’s character is described in the same press release as “a weathered photo-journalist skilled in surviving Zombie attacks,” which sounds on-par with his characterization from Dead Rising 2 as the jaded supporting hero who returns from obscurity. Riggle joins the cast which consists of Harley Morenstein, Keegan Connor Tracy, Aleks Paunovic, Jesse Metcalfe, Meghan Ory, Virginia Madsen, and Dennis Haysbert. It’s expected to be released sometime next year.

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation, Batman-On-Film.com, The Huffington Post, and Movies.com. He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.