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Army of the Dead

Amateur & honest film reviewer, learning as I go All opinions are my own!

army-of-the-dead

A cross between a Zombie themed B movie, Smoking Aces and Oceans Twelve (Yes I mean Twelve) Army of the Dead falls short of expectation.

A cross between a Zombie themed B movie, Smoking Aces and Oceans Twelve (Yes I mean Twelve) Army of the Dead falls short of expectation.

In his second big screen attempt at a Zombie movie, Zack Snyder directs Netflix's new originals movie "Army of the Dead". The film follows a group of mercenaries tasked with breaking into a Vegas casinos safe to steal $200,000,000. The only issue being, Las Vegas has been taken over by Zombies.

Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) stars as Scott Ward, the grizzly ex mercenary turned fry cook who is tasked with pulling a team together to complete the heist, Ella Purnell plays his estranged daughter "Kate" (Churchill) who is stuck in a camp outside of Las Vegas. The father- daughter storyline feels forced and unneeded, as do many of the subplots within the film (Zombie baby anyone??). In a scene where Kate opens up to Scott, subtle music is played over, reminiscent of a mid-afternoon soap, which made me cringe rather than empathise.

The film opens with a cross scene between an armoured military convoy carrying precious cargo and a couple driving in the opposite direction. I could tell this was going to be a long one after a military vehicle and the car collide, causing both vehicles to explode. The precious cargo kept inside a secure metal cell suddenly and magically unlocks?

At a run time of just shy of two and half hours, Zack who also had a hand in a screenplay feels the best way to beef it out is to shoehorn characters into it. All, apart from the German safecracker Ludwig (Matthias Schweighöfer), fall flat and are in the movie for the purpose of being Zombie food. Reducing the amount of characters would help as the viewer could become more invested into them. The impact of having too many characters is evident when they are off screen for several minutes, to only pop back up in a new scene and as a viewer you had completely forgotten them. The humour that does land is delivered by Ludwig, who becomes the most interesting character in the movie. As the safe cracker, he is tasked at cracking the proposed difficult safe, however aside from a few booby traps, the safe opens without issue.

It lacks a bit of consistency, with the Zombies abilities being the biggest culprit. Now there are two types, the braindead, grab and bite type or the intelligent, dodge bullets and blades type. Depending on the scene the super intelligent ones could be nigh on impossible to shoot to being literal cannon fodder.

Some Scenes are really let down by special effects which screamed a movie late at night, on a channel you've never heard off. The "King'' of the Zombies looked more like Blanka from JCVDs 1994 Street Fighter, Tig Notaro who filled in for allegation hit, comedian Chris D'elia does look as if she has been superimposed into some scenes.

To squeeze in more bullets, some plot lines are not fully explained. For example, Vegas has restricted airspace, you can't fly into it, but you're fine to fly out of it? Again, it feels if the plot line goes against what Zacks narrative it is skipped over to suit.

Because of the above points, the film feels confused as to what genre it intends to be? Is it a comedy horror? An action movie? A thriller? Or a misshapen mix'n'match? If a genre was selected and stuck too, the bloated film could have been reduced to much more viewer friendly run time.

Overall, I feel it falls for the Snyder trap of style before substance. If more focus was given to the story rather than making it look cool, there are the bones of a good film. If you like cheesy lines, lots of gore, lots or blood, flying bullets with little and a predictable story, this film is for you.


Overall Rating

© 2021 Christian Pulman

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