In the eyes of Zack Snyder fans 2021 has been a triumphant year, they would say, with Zack Snyder’s Justice League aka the Snyder Cut, finally seeing the light on HBOmax after years of #ReleaseTheSnyderCut flooding social media’s comment section. Snyder fans or at least the extreme ones tend to praise Snyder as if he is their lord and savior, that he can do no wrong but Zack’s newest film the Netflix zombie “epic” Army of The Dead is far from a cinematic masterpiece.
Dave Bautista, best known for playing Drax the Destroyer in the MCU, leads a large cast in what should be the next big zombie movie, Resident Evil Reboot all hope rests on you now. The film follows Bautista who enlists a group of individuals with their own special set of skills, are tasked to go into a walled off zombie infested Las Vegas to break into a casino vault and retrieve “insert Dr. Evil voice” $200 million dollars. You know just your average heist.
The film has an interesting opening with a man literally getting a blowjob while driving only to get struck by military vehicles carrying an unknown asset from Area 51. I guess you can say he got a happy ending at least. The unknown asset is revealed as an overly powerful zombie who makes his way to Sin City and begins infesting its residents. Then we switch to an overly long title sequence that serves as an intro to some of the characters.
Army of The Dead suffers from an identity crisis, it’s a heist film, a rescue film, The “plot” jumps all over the place. It would’ve been a much better film if the subplot with the daughter Kate would’ve been cut out. That character literally was just they’re for extra stakes and to make the heist harder. It also suffers from what some might say “easter eggs” or “plot details” but most will say plot holes. Like a time loop, yes, a time loop. Like why you need a time loop. Also, robot zombies with glowing blue eyes. And you do not even explain those. It seems like Zack was more concerned with setting up potential sequels then actually just telling a strong one-off story with sequel potential. If you cannot explain something in the first film then it shouldn’t be there. There’s also a pregnant zombie and hints that alien’s kind of created zombies.
The film had very few standout characters, those being Chambers (Samantha Win), a serious badass that deserved more screen time and a better ending but still owned what scenes she had. Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer), who serves as the film’s comedic relief. I actually enjoyed his sense and the back and forth between him and the character Vanderohe. Schweighöfer will actually be returning for the Army of The Dead prequel about his character Army of Thieves, he’ll also be directing the film. Lily aka the coyote (Nora Arnezeder) another badass female character who knows the land of the undead like the back of her own hand.
And the last memorable character is *insert drum roll”. Marianne Peters (Tig Notaro) A helicopter pilot and occasional comedic relief herself. Notaro seamlessly fits right in, literally because she shot all her scenes via green screen after the film had wrapped and was digitally added in post. I couldn’t tell. I will say good job on Zack for that.
I will add an honorable mention for Vanderohe (Omar Hardwick)
All the other characters, including Bautista’s, aren’t very memorable. Although I will give some props to Bautista cause he did show he definitely has the acting capability.
The film left too many questions than answers and not in a good way. More is planned within this new Snyderverse with the Army of Thieves prequel and an anime prequel series called Army of The Dead: Las Vegas. And not holding my breath but a possible sequel film as well.
In no way am I trying to Snyder shame, I mean he seems like a really cool dude but Army of The Dead is more of a miss for me. The concept could’ve been great but failed to hit the mark.
My rating: 2 ½ / 5 stars
If you want to be the judge for yourself, you can watch Army of The Dead now streaming on Netflix.