Army of the Dead (2021)

Zombie tiger!

Zack Snyder’s big-scale, loud, macho zombies-in-Vegas popcorn flick has hit Netflix, so here are my thoughts concerning this zombie/heist/father-daughter-reunion movie…

poster
Colourful poster!

(SPOILERS ahead)

There was stuff I liked about ARMY OF THE DEAD and stuff that I didn’t, so let’s begin with what I liked:

PROS

The ‘world’ of the movie is great: the wrecked vistas of a zombie-infested Las Vegas provide lots of opportunities for eye-candy views of damaged buildings and toppled casino signs.

smashed-up Las Vegas
The smashed-up Vegas location is cool

Matthias Schweighöfer provides a humorous counterpoint to the tough, posturing mercs as the out-of-his-depth German safecracker Dieter.

Dieter in action
Dieter was my favourite character

The semi-rotted Siegfried & Roy zombie white tiger is a novel visual touch.

An undead white tiger. Nice
The zombie tiger chillin’

The nuking scene at the end was okay because, well, a nuke going off in a movie is almost always a cool moment!

Boom!

CONS

Dave Bautista is brilliant in the right role, such as Drax in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, but here he doesn’t seem to have the acting chops to handle the scenes where his daughter hits him with the ‘you-weren’t-there-for-me’ accusations.

Talking of which, I found all the ’emotional’ father-daughter scenes somewhat forced.

The hero chats with his daughter
“You weren’t there for me, dad…” etc, etc

Omari Hardwick’s character is shown using a cool circular saw as a weapon to kill zombies during the opening credits. This saw is highlighted several times as one of the tools being taken on the heist… and yet Hardwick NEVER gets to use it on the zombies later in the story. Let-down!

Circular saw vs zombie
The saw should’ve been used like this during the heist!

The Alpha Zombies. Okay, for me, zombies should NOT leap around the place like a modern dance troupe! I definitely don’t think a lead zombie should wear a cape & metal mask, roar like a dinosaur, show feelings, ride a zombie horse and be able to reproduce with lady zombies! These Alpha Zombies stop being undead zombies and pretty much act more like something akin to the possessed humans in GHOSTS OF MARS (2001).

Alpha Zombie
Mask-wearing Alpha Zombie
Zombies with feelings?
Zombie guy on a zombie horse
An undead dude on an undead horse

Why does Snyder keep shooting stuff out of focus in this film? He does this loads of times! At first I thought he was trying to indicate that one of the characters was losing their eyesight.

Blurry…

When it is revealed that the ACTUAL reason for the incursion into the walled-off zone was to acquire blood from an Alpha Zombie (which could be used for some kind of weaponised zombie military program), I just couldn’t help thinking there MUST have been a less convoluted way of getting access to an Alpha Zombie.

The 'queen' zombie is decapitated
Off with her head

I know this might come across as a bit petty, but I thought the actress playing the Alpha Zombie queen REALLY overacted – all of the time!

The queen Alpha Zombie
The ever-posturing Alpha Zombie queen

So, I guess there were more elements I didn’t like than stuff that I did. It’s a shame, but there are too many things that bugged me, including all the stupid decisions characters make in the movie, presumably so Snyder can move it in the direction he wanted.

The scenes showing the military fighting hordes of zombies in Vegas during the credits were so good I felt that a heist story was kind of a letdown in comparison. It would’ve been great to have seen those battles, which are just hinted at in the credits, where we see a poor paratrooper floating down into a sea of undead, the main Las Vegas drag getting napalmed, etc.

Big-scale battle action during the credits
A paratrooper drops into mass of zombies
A paratrooper drops into mass of zombies (also in the credits)

If you like larger-than-life, computer game-like movies with muscled dudes firing off automatic weapons, this could well be the movie for you.

wrecked Vegas
Hey, wrecked Vegas looked cool, whatever you think of the rest of the movie…
poster

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