The 2021 zombie heist film was written and directed by Zack Snyder, with further writing done by Shay Hatton and Joby Harold. It’s the story of a group, lead by Scott Ward ( Dave Bautista ) in a zombie-infected Las Vegas on a mission to steal $200.000.000 Dollars.
The film opens up revealing the cause of events leading to the cities demise. It’s pretty simple really, a military truck breaks down Michael Bay style, and a buff zombie breaks out and wreaks havok on the city of sin. Years later, a safe quarantinezone has been established immediatly outside Las Vegas with it’s survivors. Burgerflipped Scott is offered a job by a Japanese businessman. The job? Steal $200.000.000 dollars from a vault in zombie-infested Las Vegas, of which he gtes to keep $50 million. The catch? The cities going to be nuked in a mere days.
Scott, desperate for money, and hoping to use said money to rebond with his estranged daughter, accepts the mission, and assembles a tag-team of people that might come in handy. Included are: Marianne Peters ( Tig Notaro ) a helicopter pilot, Dieter ( Matthias Schweighöfer ) the safecracker and comic-relief, Coyote ( Nora Arnezeder ) a zombie-expert who knows how to fight, as well as a few zombie-killers whose entire point of being there, is to kill zombies. I’d like to make it clear from the get-go, that you shouldn’t attatch yourself too much to the majority of the cast. Jerky cop Burt ( Theo Rossi ) also joins last minute, whose used as zombie-bait. Thanks Chloe, his very existance annoyed me.
Unlike most other zombie-flicks, who only decipher between fast and slow zombies ( sure Double Tap had Hawkings and Homers, but let’s not talk about that movie ), Army of the Dead portrayed the zombies on almost more of a wolf-pack sort of way. The Alpha/ original zombie having a clear reign over the others. Even Burt was used as a sort of agreement to the zombies. They get to do with him as they please, the crew gets to pass. Until they don’t get to, because of a seperate patch of zombies. Mind you, the entire population of Vegas has been zombified.
The rest of the film goes basically as followed: The crew goes around Vegas avoiding zombies, fighting zombies and being killed by zombies. All until Dieter cracks the safe, and….cliffhanger. Watch the movie.
Though Army of the Dead did partially suffer from a lack of ‘too many character, not enough characterisation’ there were plenty of characters who did indeed shine. Bautista while trying to play a Father on an emotional journey, doesn’t quite fit the bill due to being a better actionstar than an actor, it’s exactly that point that makes him shine. Having several zombie-killing scenes ( and this applies to the entire cast really ) that were superb. Schweighöfer also delivered a surprisingly good performance, considering the usually wooden performances from German actors, especially the more mainstream ones like Schweighöfer, bizarrely enough I’d even go as far to say that he was one of the highlights of the film. Something I never would have expected going in. Additionally, Nora Arnezeder’s character stood out as the cold-hearted French zombie killer.
Overall, I’d say this is the year of Zack Snyder. First his cut of Justice League ( sorry I forgot to write a review on that one ) and now the latest zombie-blockbuster, whose already set to have a prequel and an animated series release in the near future, days after the film’s release. I’d give Army of the Dead a 7.5/10.
Thumbnail by rob Stoeltje
All photos ( with the exception of ‘Matthias Schweighöfer’ ) follow this license – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en