Army of the Dead Review
Zack Snyder returns to the zombie genre with his new Netflix-exclusive film Army of the Dead. Here’s my Army of the Dead review which stars Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer and more.
Before we proceed, let me just put up this SPOILER ALERT because we will be talking a lot of points that are going to be spoilers for people who have yet to see this zombie flick.
It’s been a long time since Zack Snyder busted open the zombie film genre once more with Dawn of the Dead (which was also my first time seeing a Snyder film) and since he’s already done with the DCEU and Warner Bros via the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, its about time he went back to something he loves. And by god, he still has it.
The tl;dr of this review is that the film could have been a good Resident Evil movie (shoo Paul W.S. Anderson) a decent popcorn flick but not a shining pedestal that propels the zombie film genre further.
I liked the plot. I was definitely a sucker for that trailer Snyder and Netflix released and its because the premise was silly. Plus with so many people in his team, it was pretty obvious that this would be a bloodbath and damn was I not disappointed.
Seeing a former WWE champion and the man who surprise powerbombed Randy Orton back in the day beat the bejeesus out of zombies is good but it can be tiring and eventually boring. But the man does show that’s getting better and better as an actor. Watch out Hollywood. The cast was OK with a good mix of familiar faces but I love the fact that this had Theo Rossi again, still playing a scumbag, this time in the form of internment camp guard Cummings who abuses the quarantined folks living outside Las Vegas.
The visuals for both Las Vegas and those key action scenes were good and man has it gone through so much since Romero and even Snyder’s early work in Dawn of the Dead.
And let’s not forget about the Zombie Tiger heavily featured in the trailers. To see that was kind of fresh and then seeing how they nailed that look and created that CG tiger was one of the highs of watching “Army of the Dead”. Zack Snyder also likes to pepper his movies with homages and “Army of the Dead” definitely did a lot. There’s that scene for scene recreation of American Werewolf for one. Small easter eggs are also something that makes it sort of his love letter to cinema and the genre entirely.
And I’m one of the guys who got onboard the Snyder conspiracy train the moment I saw “Army” so I also need to put down as a high note those film theories and references that Snyder put in the film including the cyborg zombies…
Those aliens at the start of the movie i.e. those two lights in the sky that zipped away when the military convoy left “Area 51″…
And that very interesting time loop.
The fun thing about the film is that with each passing day, there are more and details that people uncover about the film. Fun I tell you.
I found the ending of the film amusing too, which lends more credence to the film theory that there are different timelines and alternate realities or even a time loop *gasp*. Or maybe the ending even breaks the time loop because the zombie outbreak begins once more in Mexico this time thanks to Omar Hardwick’s Vanderohe taking a private plane to Mexico with the money he got while realizing that he’s also been bitten.
And now for the bad stuff.
“Army” had plot holes the size of a nuclear crater. That segment where Lily aka Cayote just casually strolls out into Vegas via an unprotected and very open container door was bonkers. Like what the hell man. Bad writing also means that there were a lot of moments in the film where people didn’t really follow logic or at least it wasn’t written and executed properly.
Scott’s daughter Kate was also problematic doing a lot of stupid and unnecessary things to get a friend that feels and reads like she’s not really close with. Maybe they are but there’s little exposition. Like they just put this back story to conveniently make her join her father in this suicide squad.
It infuriated me also that Geeta, her mission in this whole story/ film, was shrugged off at the end. I’d rather see they just kill off Geeta during the escape to make the story flow.
Also the characters have barely any backstory. I’d love to see other characters get fleshed out especially Maria, Vanderohe and Scott. Before we even progress with the story and relationship between Maria and Scott, it’s all over for the pretty asskicking merc.
The film is also a victim to “Chekov’s Gun” particularly Vanderohe’s saw. Like the dude’s first few scenes in the movie put emphasis on that only to be forgotten by the end. Why though? It felt very Sucker Punch-y to that end. They just put in that saw to make him cool and then ditch it completely.
The ending was a bummer also. Again, it could have been better but its not. Maybe Snyder could get more co-writers to iron out the kinks to his project. The man is good with how he does his movies but the plot, pacing and writing cripples it like a shambler on a dry summer day.
VERDICT – 7/10