Army of the Dead (2021)
A fun adventure with zombies!
After a top secret military transport gets into an accident, the cargo (a contained zombie) infects the transport crew. The newly infected zombies then make their way to Las Vegas and infect the entire city. Upon failing to contain the zombie outbreak, the government walls Las Vegas and plans to drop a nuclear bomb on the city. A casino owner hires a team to infiltrate his vault and extract his money before the bomb drops. The team learns that the zombies aren’t mindless drones but an organized unit. Army of the Dead can be described as an zombie heist movie.
After Zack Snyder’s Justice League was released earlier this year, I was pleasantly surprised at how well that movie turned out. More than that, I was anxious to see whether Snyder could build on his momentum and direct another hit. To be honest, I find Snyder’s directorial work to be hit-or-miss. In fact, I dislike more of his movies than I like. But if it’s one thing Zack Snyder is undeniably good at, it’s his cinematography. And the appeal of Army of the Dead for me was exactly that. How will a zombie infested Las Vegas look and feel on screen?
The answer to that is: pretty damn good.
What I liked
Army of the Dead looks great on screen. There’s a real sense of scale surrounding the zombie takeover of Las Vegas. The threat feels intense enough to warrant some anxiety without losing it’s ‘heist movie’ lightness. The battle sequences are well shot and stakes feel just high enough. This feels like it was made to be seen on the big screen.
What I didn’t like
There were some logic gaps in Army of the Dead that were hard to ignore. Why would the team need a safe cracking guy if the owner of the safe was sending the team in? Why wouldn’t the owner tell the team about the booby traps? And why wouldn’t the team plan out the safe cracking ahead of time with the owner? This made no sense to the plot and it’s hard to ignore when watching.
There are also a lot of additional details about the zombies that aren’t explained. I didn’t mind this but other people might have a big problem with it. It’s something Zack Snyder has done in his previous movies. In Watchmen for example (the movie; not the mini-series), he touched on backstories and team histories without any expansion. It was a divisive move as a filmmaker. I personally thought it helped his world building but others felt like it made the movie feel unfinished and unsatisfactory. A similar issue might very well arise with Army of the Dead.
If you’re looking to watch a big spectacle without any intellectual investment, Army of the Dead might be just what you’re looking for. It was released in theatres a week before it was released on Netflix in the US. If you want a theatrical experience just for the fun of it (and if it’s safe to do so where you are), it might be worth the money and effort.
Source: Netflix (2021)