- Hamish Hart
Army of the Dead (2021) Review
Updated: Oct 18, 2021
ZACK Snyder's love-letter to Romero's Night of the Living Dead is far from a chilling thriller, instead opting for over-the-top violence and action, but doesn't stop Army of the Dead from being an exciting action flick to check out if you need to turn your brain off and "relax".
After a zombie outbreak has forced the government to initiate a fire bombing and the indefinite quarantining of Las Vegas, former mercenary Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) is approached by a casino owner who offers a significant reward if Scott, along with a group of former comrades, can retrieve $200 million from his zombie-infested casino.
Army of the Dead lends itself to an abundance of self-referential moments, with multiple characters explicitly stating how ludicrous the situation is throughout. But in many ways, this is what makes Snyder's second zombie feature charming. The setting of Las Vegas offers a landscape identical to that of 2010's Dead Rising 2, a zombie video game set in a casino strip which, much like Army of the Dead, makes full use of the gambling environment as characters fend off the undead using weaponry such as slot machines and tigers in a manner that never feels impractical.
Aside from entertaining, unique action, the film unfortunately offers little else. The main cast of mercenaries, while represented as individual characters, exude an aura of fodder as you are awaiting the majority's inevitable demise to the zombie hordes. Besides the relationship between Scott and Kate Ward (Ella Purnell), very little felt genuine as the movie continued to create plot and character elements in order to fill up its repugnant 150 minute runtime.
Zack Snyder is without question one of the most polarising directors in the industry today. His cinematography decisions, particularly during high-octane action, can either be hit or miss, plus his need to stretch out a film's runtime, which despite showcasing his passion for filmmaking, comes off as tedious and unwanted. In his latest endeavour, Snyder's passion does stand above all his other flaws, showcasing his love for the movie through characters that at least appeared to have thought put into them. But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Army of the Dead had the potential to be an engaging and exhilarating thrill ride littered with interesting, unique characters. However, much like the film's undead foes, the Netflix blockbuster ended up being a lifeless, chaotic monster mash that could have been so much more. Still, if you're wanting to watch a movie that requires little to no thought, Army of the Dead provides plenty of loud noises and explosions that can be conceived as "entertainment".