Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★★★

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Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.

This is the big blockbuster that we all needed in 2021, and it is essentially kicking off a Summer that will hopefully bring us more entertaining rides like this one. Whether you are able to catch it on the big screen or on Netflix, there is so much fun to be had with this film, and it feels as if Snyder has fully immersed himself into this genre at this point. It was garnering some Dawn of the Dead comparisons prior to release, but it is a drastically different film. This zombie-infested ride builds the world of these creatures in a fascinating way, and it all starts with one of his best openings to this day. These zombies are a bit smarter, and their kingdom is one that could provide for all sorts of scares and thrills. Thankfully, Snyder commits to this and delivers on numerous memorable scenes and set pieces within this Vegas area.

It is a visual stunner (per usual for Snyder), but the concept is what will have so many intrigued. Bautista and crew are going on this seemingly one-way heist mission, but their willpower to survive and be successful as a team is what makes for a fun dynamic. Almost everyone is solid, but it is Bautista and Purnell’s relationship that provides an unexpected layer of heart to the story. Snyder has a knack for this father/child plot thread, and it is absolutely conventional, but they do about as good of a job as you hope for in a film like this. I have plenty of nitpicks, but my main criticisms come with the decision-making of our characters. An example would be driving away from a zombie instead of choosing to run. Characters consistently do silly things here. It is as if we are watching a cliché-filled B-level Horror film at that point. Granted, Snyder dipping his toe in the Horror genre as a whole is the right move here.

From brutally ripping someone’s limbs off to slowly tiptoeing your way through a hallway of zombies, there are plenty of opportunities to get scared here. These moments are both effective and thrilling. Story-wise, it is nothing we haven’t seen before, as the overall mission does play out as expected. A few shocking moments will hopefully keep those rolling their eyes from getting too frustrated, but the semi-writing did not impact my enjoyment at all. The world is so vast, the visuals are beyond phenomenal, and the score is rousing. Simplicity can be a Director’s best friend, and every time I believed we were going off the rails with the story, Snyder would break tradition and pull me right back in. Army of the Dead is a fresh entry in the familiar zombie landscape, and viewing it on the big screen was a wild experience. Netflix has a winner.


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