Army of the Dead – Review

Hollywood’s love of zombies never really dies. Recent years has seen comic book movies dominate the industry while viewers of The Walking Dead have Stockholm Syndrome. Low budget zombie flicks are still a dime a dozen, yet it’s been a while since the brain-eaters have graced the big screen. As this is 2021, Netflix runs the show and a movie showing in theatres doesn’t prevent you from getting to see it (legally) if they’re still closed in your area.

I was somewhat disappointed to find out that Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead wouldn’t be a sequel to his fantastic remake of Dawn of the Dead. Still, it was nice to see the director attached to something that didn’t result in a DC-related hashtag. It might not be a sequel, it is the jumping-off point of a franchise that already has two spin-offs in production).
The movie’s opening title sequence acts as a prequel for a movie we never saw. As Richard Cheese serenades us with Viva Las Vegas, a hit zombie-killing unit battle the undead and trap them in Sin City. Cautiously contained, the President of the United States plans to nuke them. But Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) has a lot of cash sitting in the vault of an old casino and hires mercenary Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) to retrieve it for him. After recruiting a motley crew of misfits, they storm the city only to find it’s not quite exactly how they left it.
At two and half hours, it’s safe to say this is the Snyder Cut of Army of the Dead (stand down, people). While the movie could have benefited from trimming, it maintains a decent pace that prevents serious lagging. While smarter and faster zombies aren’t new, it reveals in the tropes that makes these movies fun. There is more than one homage to Aliens as Snyder pens a love letter to the eighties classic. With little nods here and there, as well as mirroring plot points, the similarities become more obvious as the story unfurls.
Bautista has proved his acting chops in smaller films and shows his comedic side for Marvel. He looks like he’s having a ball as the jaded action hero, a role we don’t see him in much despite him being tailor-made for it. Nora Arnezeder also stands out as the Coyote, an enigmatic badass who knows the city inside out and provides some exposition when needed.
The action is incredibly violent as bodies are squished and ripped apart for our entertainment. There’s little depth to the characters which makes them cannon fodder for the undead. Still, they’re likeable enough and tend to meet such a gory demise that you’ll find yourself rooting for them here and then.
The zombies themselves are ferocious but their menace doesn’t translate through the screen. This isn’t a film that will have you hiding behind your couch. It’s more likely you’ll be applauding some of the kills as the film flirts with Zombieland moments of comedy.
Army of Dead isn’t a gamechanger for the genre. The runtime might be off-putting but it’s an enjoyable action flick. It’s dumb, loud and has its tongue firmly in its cheek. The movie delivers for the most part even if it might not leave you clamouring for more tales from this world.
Thomas Simpson
Follow me
Latest posts by Thomas Simpson (see all)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.