Friday, 21 May 2021

Army of the Dead (Movie Review)

I've always been a sucker for zombie films, and out of all the ones I'd seen growing up, my favorite was the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. Directed by Zack Snyder, the film had taken everything I loved about the horror subgenre and shot it to the stratosphere. The rest is history I guess, with Zack Snyder now being a household name and his first movie still considered the finest in his filmography. So of course I was going to check out Army of the Dead the moment it dropped on Netflix.

The film stars Dave Bautista as Scott Ward, a mercenary who is tasked with pulling off an almost impossible heist. Following a viral outbreak in the Nevada desert, the city of Las Vegas is overrun by zombies. This had prompted the US government to quarantine the entire city by walling it off from the rest of America. But after the city is deemed impossible to reclaim and get under control, an executive order is passed to nuke it to the ground in four days' time.

Meanwhile, Scott has been hired by a rich businessman named Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada), to help retrieve the sum of $250 million left in a vault in one of his casinos. And in order to do so, Scott must put together a team of fellow mercenaries to break into the Las Vegas quarantine zone. But with the clock already ticking, and a new breed of zombies to contend with, they soon come to realize that the job was more than they'd bargained for. Now his team must work together to get out of the city alive.

My expectations for Army of the Dead were quite high going into the film, mainly because I am a big fan of Zack Snyder. And his latest film definitely doesn't disappoint, offering the same level of thrills he gave zombie fans in his 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. The director has always been known for his heavily stylized visuals, and while that appears to be toned down somewhat in this movie, there's still plenty of beautiful cinematography for viewers to ogle at.

But unlike his remake of Dawn of the Dead, this latest film takes a while before things truly kick into gear. The film meanders quite a bit in the beginning, as we go over all the requisite introductions and setup. And I know it is a bit unfair to compare the opening sequence of both movies, but this one just didn't reach the same heights as the one in that other film. But once our crew of mercenaries make their way into Las Vegas, things pick up in pace and the movie starts to shine.

And speaking of our crew of mercenaries, the film is populated by an interesting cast of characters that cover a broad range of stereotypes. That you actually grow to care about most of them during the course of the film, and understand why they have chosen to take on this impossible mission, bodes well for the ensemble as a whole. But out of all the actors in the film, Dave Bautista gave the most heartfelt performance, proving to be a truly capable lead.

Army of the Dead has Zack Snyder doing what he does best. The movie updates the already established zombie lore in some new and interesting ways, while still providing enough gruesome zombie kills to satisfy gorehounds and purists alike. Comparisons to other heist-based zombie films like last year's Peninsula might seem inevitable, but what this one lacks in originality it more than makes up for in sheer thrills.

4 comments:

  1. I'd forgotten he'd directed the remake, which I thought was very well done. Like Bautista in the movies I've seen with him so will definitely check it out.

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    Replies
    1. Cool. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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