May 20, 2021

SCREEN | Zack Snyder Awakens the 'Army of the Dead'

"This should be a simple in and out."
Nora Arnezeder Zack Snyder | Army of the Dead | Netflix
The Stone Quarry
Machismo director Zack Snyder returns to contemporary zombie spectacle after making his feature debut with the impressive 2004 remake of George Romero's Dawn of the Dead. In Army of the Dead, he switches from a contained mall setting to an abandoned and dilapidated Las Vegas for his ultraviolent casino heist version of the horror staple with a "men on a mission" meets undead genre remix.

Starring a hulking Dave Bautista as our brawny leader of a mercenary group tasked by a billionaire to extract hundreds of millions of dollars of cash from a dormant hotel vault, his team must find a way to fight through the thousands of hyper-competent zombie soldiers to complete their mission. Army of the Dead, co-written, produced, shot, and directed by the often both maligned and celebrated visual auteur, is pure Snyder unleashed at his most unhinged.

Scripted by Snyder alongside veteran action scribes Shay Hatten and Joby Harold, there's surprisingly so much going on from an overdramatic father/daughter story, a refugee camp allegory, and so very many side stories of various importance jam-packed into a crazy violent zombie-killing genre epic filled with bright candy-coated colours.

Dave Bautista Omari Hardwick Tig Notaro Samantha Win Matthias Schweighöfer Raúl Castillo Ana de la Reguera | Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead | Netflix

There are a ton of characters full of standard archetypes played by an international cast, many who exist to only die in increasingly violent ways, as they vary the gambit of dramatic interest. Bautista gets to do a lot from dramatic tension to physical action set against Vegas as a sort of fallen kingdom backdrop.

Snyder makes the lively Army of the Dead into a sort of bombastic video game style war zone action gorefest filled to the brim of his trademark visual flair and overdone style. Despite its self-importance and overstuffed abundance, it can be a ton of ridiculous genre fun mixing references from Escape from New York to Romero's work. It's B-movie material made with an A-list budget and talent pool. Take note of the incredibly audacious needle drop playing over the film's epilogue.

Army of the Dead is available to stream on Netflix.


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