Always bet on dead.
Zombies Tigers, Vegas oh MY
Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead is ultimately a gory blast and a fun exciting new take on the action- horror genre. What do you get when you cross Alpha Zombies, Vegas and a multi- million dollar heist ?!
Thanks to Netflix I got to watch an advanced screening of Zack Snyder’s eagerly-anticipated Netflix Film, Army of The Dead. This was my first time back in theaters in a year and a half since covid, and I’m so happy I attended. It was definitely worth the trip. From the vision of filmmaker Zack Snyder (300, Zack Snyder’s Justice League) comes ARMY OF THE DEAD: a venturous and captivating new spin on the zombie genre with a splash of Oceans Eleven. Gore, comedy, guts, mayhem …& a Zombie Tiger ?!
After a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble by venturing into the quarantine zone for the greatest heist ever.
Starring Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, and Omari Hardwick, Army of the Dead is not your typical zombie flick. Zack Snyder, who already has some experience with the undead (Dawn of the Dead) took a big risk bringing to life a horror/heist film. Think the Gentleman meets World War Z ! What a brilliant combo ! The thrilling dark twisted comedy also touches upon pandemics, coping with loss, capitalism, and the fight for human rights. The exciting eye- catching opening credits start off with a brilliant, vibrant and neon Vegas being overridden by an enormous zombie horde, a Zombie Elvis, and zombie exotic dancers as Vegas literally falls apart.
The film takes place a few years after a zombie outbreak that has left Las Vegas in ruins and completely walled off from the rest of the world. We meet Scott Ward (Dave Bautista), a displaced Vegas local, and former zombie war hero who’s now flipping burgers on the outskirts of town and is approached by casino boss Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) with an unexpected offer:
Break into the zombie-infested quarantine zone to retrieve $200 million sitting in a vault beneath the strip before the city is nuked by the government in 32 hours. With a ticking clock, a notoriously impenetrable vault, and a smarter, faster horde of Alpha zombies closing in, only one thing’s for certain in the greatest heist ever attempted: survivors take all.
Why not?! What’s left to lose? Ward accepts the challenge, and assembles a misfit team of experts for the heist. We see some quality acting from Batista, and really get to see more range from him in his portrayal as Ward and his emotional interactions with his estranged daughter (Ella Purnell).
The film features a fantastic cast of characters all with unique personalities and stand out performances. Snyder nailed the typical trope elements from heist films giving each character a typical skill-set: the standard mechanic, getaway driver (in this case pilot), professional yeggman aka safecracker, a guide, highly trained gun-men, the guy no one trusts, and wait an Influencer ??!!
The ragtag team of experts included:
-Maria Cruz (Ana de la Reguera), an ace mechanic and Ward’s old friend
-Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick), a zombie killing machine
-Marianne Peters (Tig Notaro), a cynical helicopter pilot
-Mikey Guzman (Raúl Castillo), a go-for-broke influencer
-Chambers (Samantha Win), Mikey’s ride-or-die
-Martin (Garret Dillahunt), the casino’s head of security
-A badass warrior known as the Coyote (Nora Arnezeder)
-Burt Cummings (Theo Rossi), a slimy security guard
-A brilliant German safe cracker named Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer)
The eccentric team up was badass, ruthless, and definitely memorable. Throughout the film the cast was highly entertaining, had great on screen chemistry and worked really well off of each other. There were some genuine laughs from the audience thanks to some hilarious stand out moments from Matthias Schweighöfer, Omari Hardwick, and Tig Notaro. The humorous banter between tough guy Vanderohe (Omari) and genius Dieter (Matthias) really added a natural comedic tone to the film, and it was not forced at all. It really added depth to their characters and to the whole “heist squad” cliche. These two shared some of the best scenes.
(Tig Notaro) played another stand-out character, Marianne Peters, the sarcastic and dry humored helicopter pilot, who actually didn’t even have that much screen time. Marianne was definitely a fun addition to the team after Notaro replaced comedian Chris D’Elia’s character after he was fired for reports of sexual misconduct. Instead of having to reshoot all those scenes, Snyder had to recreate every scene shot for shot with Notaro. Despite having this major setback, the CGI was extremely impressive, not even noticing her character was basically plugged in. (Why was a mustache so hard to fix cough cough?)
Replacing Chris D’Elia with Tig Notaro in “Army of the Dead” cost less than creating the film’s zombie tiger.
Some other note-worthy details of the film were all the memorable kills and deaths. There were so many bloody awesome scenes with well-deserved claps from the audience. The movie also features different types of zombies: without getting into any spoilers Army of the Dead has smart alpha zombies that somehow communicate amongst each other, warrior zombies, and hibernating zombies. Props to Snyder trying to give us more than your typical sluggish brainless zombies. He really got to express some creative freedom with this film.
I am very big on all types of heist films (Heat, The Italian Job, Money Heist, Reservoir Dogs, Snatch, Baby Driver, Ocean’s Eleven etc.); This film does a pretty good job of balancing heist elements while maintaining its zombie action persona. It has plenty of stunts, explosions, blueprints and planning, team work, and heavy artillery. It was cool to see different villains and antagonists, also the Zombie tiger has a good amount of screen time and definitely lives up to expectations.
The only real question viewers have is how could that many zombies possibly be contained and kept to just Vegas. We also don’t know much about the spread aside from getting bitten, or about the cause of the virus outbreak, but the movie also sets up sequels!
Army of the Dead is super enjoyable, not to be taken seriously and an exciting new take on the overdone Zombie craze. Aside from being a comedic horror/ action it actually showed some real human emotion and had some unexpected twists. The score was fantastic and the soundtrack pairs perfectly with every single scene. Definitely a fun time for any zombie fans.
Directed By | Zack Snyder
Story By | Zack Snyder
Written By | Zack Snyder, Shay Hatten, Joby Harold
Produced By | Deborah Snyder, Wesley Coller, Zack Snyder
Cast | Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana De La Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Garret Dillahunt, Tig Notaro, Raúl Castillo, Huma S. Qureshi, Samantha Win, Richard Cetrone, Michael Cassidy