Zack Snyder’s highly anticipated zombie flick Army of the Dead has finally premiered on Netflix and fulfills all the filmmaker’s promises of incredible badass action.
It all begins like so many horror movies do, with a government experiment gone wrong while trying to create a super soldier. During transport the government’s experiment escapes and begins infecting all of Las Vegas.
In the movie Dave Bautista’s Scott Ward gets an offer he can’t refuse, to put together a team and head into Las Vegas, now walled off and filled to the brim with zombies, to retrieve $200 million sitting in a vault. Ward’s team is made up of the actors Omari Hardwick, a big mofo who carries a saw, Ana de la Reguera who plays Marie, Scott’s possible love interest, Matthias Schweighöfer who serves as the safecracker, Nora Arnezeder as the coyote, and a helicopter pilot played by Tig Notaro who serves up a lot of the movie’s comic relief. Of course, there are two shady members of the group, a corrupt guard (Theo Rossi) and the guard (Garret Dillahunt) of the man who hired Scott and his team, of course he’s got something up his sleeve. A wrench is thrown into the works when Scott’s daughter (Ella Purnell) joins the group to try to find a missing woman. But that’s not the worst of it, the group is racing against the clock because the government is about to nuke the city. Can they survive the zombies, each other, and escape before the city is leveled? You’ll have to watch to find out.
Snyder delivers a surprising twist when the crew discovers that there are not one but two types of zombies. While shamblers aren’t hard to take out, the other zombies are fast, smart, organized, and ruthless with a society of their own. It is a welcome change. Let’s face it we’ve seen way too many slow zombie movies. Snyder’s super zombies have a great look both when it comes to makeup and movement. There’s also a fearsome zombie tiger that looks creepy AF. Come to think of it, all of the special effects are on point.
While the story is interesting and keeps you on your toes, it does feature a common theme in horror that irks me, no good deed goes unpunished. In this case, the good deeds come over and over from Bautista’s character who is desperate to be accepted by his daughter and set her up for life while trying to retrieve the money and find the missing woman. Of course, his daughter happens to the most unlikeable character out of the bunch. She’s rude, demanding, cold, and does nothing but put the group and her father at risk. She makes a lot of very dumb choices which is something we see too often.
When you get ready to watch Army of the Dead get comfortable, it clocks in at over two and half hours long and feels a bit padded out. It could have easily been slimmed down to under two hours. But I assume Snyder wanted to pack in every second of action possible. And boy did he pack it in! It’s non stop once he group enters Las Vegas.
Army of the Dead is entertaining, brutal, and thrilling. However, the ending kind of ruined it for me. After sitting through two and a half hours I was just left bummed, which was disappointing. I don’t know why that particular ending was chosen, but it would have been nice to have seen it end on a high note. But you might love the ending, there’s only one way to find out, watch it yourself. It’s out now on Netflix.
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