Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★½

Aggressively stupid but not in the fun way. Juvenile. Tonally all over the map, so much so that it gave me whiplash. In one fell swoop, all the goodwill that Zack Snyder built up after releasing his cut of the Justice League has now been lost. He has become a parody of himself, and the only thing that saves this film from being a total disaster are a few admittedly fun action set-pieces.

I say "a few" because compared to its bloated runtime, this movie is... not that action-packed? It's 148 goddamn minutes (par for the course when discussing Snyder) and there's only a handful of action heavy moments before the final 30 minutes, which are incredible, but by that point in the film I had almost completely lost interest. This is a ZOMBIE HEIST film for crying out loud- arguably the coolest mashup of genres in years - and yet it still manages to be a slow, boring, depressing slog. The story and the momentum literally come to an ass-grinding halt when the team arrives at the vault (woah that rhymed....bars), and we wait around for about 35 minutes before the film rushes into its 3rd act. I could make the easy joke that Snyder films are long because he doesn't believe in editors, but that's not really the case. The reality is that Snyder makes his films so long because he genuinely thinks his content is cool and edgy and fun, but it's none of those things here. It's just stupid.

And sometimes stupid movies are fun, but we're actually expected to take this material seriously! A film that starts with a car crash caused by a blowjob genuinely tries to push this complicated, poignant father-daughter storyline, and it's just the most cliched thing ever. Plus, Snyder and his co-writers throw in this haphazard allegory for Mexican immigrants being detained in prison camps by border patrol agents, and it completely falls flat because A) there's only about 5 minutes of screentime devoted to fleshing this storyline out, and B) this is a ZOMBIE HEIST movie after all, so getting introduced to this political metaphor out of the blue feels jarring and out of place, no matter how good the screenwriters' intensions were.

To make matters even worse, this film's version of an evil border patrol agent evil border patrol agent who is ALSO a medical professional who takes peoples temperatures and monitors the detainees for symptoms of the zombie virus. The thing is; all of Tig Notaro's scenes were shot during the pandemic...under the supervision of COVID-compliance officers and medical professionals. These people kept everyone on set safe. Making the border agent/virus officer character a sleazy rapist bad guy, although obviously not Snyder's intention, feels like an odd way to pay respect to these medical professionals who helped Snyder finish his movie, as well as helped him complete his reshoots on Justice League. It's also just a bad look in general as COVID-compliance officers singlehandedly saved the film industry from oblivion by allowing production to resume in July of 2020. See, THIS is what happens when you don't think through your political metaphors in your dumb action movie!

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