Zack Snyder’s zombie film ‘Army of the Dead’ is quick, violent, and entertaining.
The Netflix horror movie provides an overabundance of explosions, decapitations, gouts of blood, and even a zombie tiger for a fun popcorn trip.
In a Zack Snyder picture, you can anticipate slo-mo images, gouts of gore that spatter the frames red, remixes of music from a specific era, and a lot of style. All of this is delivered in spades by Army of the Dead. Snyder, who made his feature film debut in 2004 with a successful remake of George A. Romero’s famous Dawn of the Dead (1978), returns to zombies for a thrilling heist/zombie/post-apocalyptic/estranged father-daughter reunion storey. The size and breadth of the Synder buffet are as follows.
In Dawn of the Dead, Snyder had the zombies move rapidly instead of their typical mindless shuffle to increase the threat factor. Snyder produced a sentient zombie in Army of the Dead, which may irritate purists (including yourself), but he also gave us Valentine, a zombie tiger, who goes a long way toward making up for the canonical deviations.
After the military fails to eradicate Sin City of its undead hoards, a tactical nuclear attack is authorized. Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) wants a mercenary named Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) to put together a squad and extract $200 million from his casino vault before the city is destroyed.
Ward assembles his team, which includes soldier Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick), his friend and mechanic Cruz (Ana de la Reguera), safecracker Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer), helicopter pilot Peters (Tig Notaro), and drastic shooter and influencer Guzman (Ral Castillo), who is accompanied by his correlate Chambers (Samantha Win).
Kate (Ella Purnell), Ward’s estranged daughter, works in a quarantine camp outside the town. When Ward begs for her assistance in getting into the city, she introduces him to Lily (Nora Arnezeder), a woman who charges individuals to enter the city. Kate joins the squad after learning that her single mother friend Geeta (Huma Qureshi) has not returned from the city.
Cummings (Theo Rossi), a slimy security guard, and Martin (Garret Dillahunt), the casino’s director of security, are also on the squad.
The plan, like all such plans, appears simple enough on paper, but as is the nature of these things, it quickly unravels, with the alpha zombie Zeus (Richard Cetrone) and his bride (Athena Perample) throwing stumbling blocks in the heist and the nuclear strike of been brought forward, giving the team only 90 minutes to crack the safe, get the money, and flee. There are traitors in the mix, as always, with varying agendas.
With explosions, shattering skulls, decapitations, gouts of blood, and Valentine slinking around swishing its zombified tail or yawning and curling up on a beat-up vehicle, there is never a boring moment in Army of the Dead, even after 148 minutes. In an action film, one doesn’t have to worry about acting too much because everyone snarls out their lines properly. Tig Notaro’s chopper pilot, who is a charming hotshot, deserves special notice.
Then there’s the music. In Snyder’s Sucker Punch, there was Led Zeppelin’s mesmerising “When the Levee Breaks,” and in Watchmen, there was My Chemical Romance’s fiery interpretation of Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row.” Army of the Dead includes beautiful renditions of CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising,” The Doors’ “The End,” and The Cranberries’ “Zombie” (duh).
While the temperature guns and quarantine zones are unsettling reminders of the real world, Army of the Dead has enough popcorn pleasures to pull you out of the gloomy places that your mind and heart are prone to stray into during these trying times.
Army of the Dead will be available on Netflix on May 21.