Zack Snyder has had a rough couple of years surrounding his last film Justice League and the death of his daughter. In the meantime, he was making another movie. Army of the Dead is another addition to the zombie genre. It’s an original movie, but it’s not his only foray into this genre in his career. He previously directed the Dawn of the Dead remake in 2004, which served as his directorial debut.
A crash by a military convoy releases a zombie they had been transporting. The zombie turns all of the soldiers and then they turn their sights on the closest inhabited city: Las Vegas. Vegas becomes overrun by zombies making it a war zone. The United States government closes the city and makes it a quarantine zone. Nobody is allowed in or out of the city. A rich Japanese businessman, played by Hiroyuki Sanada, decides he wants to break into a vault to get 200 million dollars. He hires an ex-military officer to get the money out, who in turn hires a crack team of skilled men and women to help him.
Dave Bautista plays the ex-military soldier enlisted to get this money from a casino. He has been working as a fry cook. He has a tumultuous relationship with his daughter played by Ella Purnell. She gets wrapped up in this caper inadvertently. Bautista’s character has to hire a team to help him so he gets another soldier played by Omari Hardwick, a female friend of his played by Ana de la Reguera, a safecracker played by Matthias Schweighöfer, and a helicopter pilot played by Tig Notaro. The businessman sends along with one of his associates, played by Garret Dillahunt to make sure everything is on the up and up.
Snyder doubles down on the Las Vegas iconography. In this film, he uses Vegas showgirls as zombies and Sigfried and Roy tigers as guard dogs. The zombies are a little different, though. They have brain patterns that allow them to think and have conscious thoughts and make decisions. This is very different from other zombie movies. Usually, zombies in other films are just mindless beasts. This new twist on the zombie genre allows for some interesting story beats but doesn’t change the fact that this is an overdone and tired genre. This might be one too many zombie films.
The visuals in the film are pretty amazing, though. The budget allows for a lot of great special effects. The makeup and blood and gore throughout the film are pretty incredible. They make the film that much more believable even though this is such a far-fetched story. The action scenes are pretty awesome as well. This film has a lot of stuff that kept me interested throughout. The script and dialogue weren’t one of them. It was pretty clunky dialogue most of the time from the entire cast, especially from Dave Bautista.
Army of the Dead is streaming on Netflix right now, but it got about a one-week release in theaters. That was good for capitalizing on as much ticket sales as possible to get some of the budget back. It will live as long as necessary on the streaming service and will probably gain a cult following like some of Snyders’s other films. It’s a fun action-packed horror romp, but it’s nothing special I haven’t seen before. Overlord in recent years might be a better go-to in this genre instead of this film. It had good action and visuals though, so for those reasons I would recommend it to viewers.
Dan Skip Allen
Founder/EIC disappointment media