Nada Films’s review published on Letterboxd:
I have been eagerly waiting for this movie’s release ever since it was announced and I can honestly say that this film is not only entertaining but also filled with emotional depth that I did not expect.
I came in expecting a fun zombie movie and while I did get that I also got a very emotional story a man overcoming grief whole also rekindling his relationship with his daughter and played by the most unlikely actor Dave Batista. I’m not saying he’s not an adequate actor because he is. His performance in Blade Runner and in the MCU are actually pretty good but here it seems like Zack really wanted to invest in Batista’s acting chops and it paid off.
Army of The Dead is probably Zack’s most comedic film while also being one of his darkest. Not as dark as Watchmen but still pretty dark. The film wear’s it’s dark humor like a badge of honor and it compliment’s this film’s storytelling by giving it personality and also giving the character’s life, so much so, that I literally felt sad about the outcome of this movie.
The only complaint I have is Ella Purnell’s character. Because the way she was written makes her come off as kind of a hypcrite because while he reasoning for resenting her father is understandable what I found very hard to believe was her risking her and her dad’s life for a complete stranger but with that taken into account, the film didn’t make her the moral compass of the movie necessarily at least not completely. At first she was portrayed is this “holier than thou” character but when she made the decision to leave her dad to rescue her supposed friend the movie didn’t signal her decision as like the right thing. In fact the movie doesn’t really point to any of the main characters as morally ambiguous except obviously Hunter and Martin because there has to be a villain in this but when it comes to the team, they’re more portrayed as anti-heros and it really fits with what the movie is going for.
The film has a very cynical view of not only the US government but also people as a whole. It starts with soldiers transporting what is literally the most dangerous thing known to man and when the first zombie escapes what the soldier on the radio tells the other soldier is to leave his comerades. That in itself is an indication of the movie’s cynical view of human behavior. You have character’s who at one point were heroes trying to steal money that nobody will miss and yet the oned who were really morally reprehensible were not any of the soldiers doing the heist, nor the people that hired them but the government who made this all happen and they didn’t do it to undo a mistake, the did it to obtain something that can be weaponized. Which really shows how the writing REALLY has a cynical view of the US government.
I haven’t even mentioned the cinematography of this movie which is unsurprisingly AMAZING. Zack is known for his amazing visuals but this time we get to see him being the man behind the camera. I don’t know why it took him this long to be the director of photography for his movies but when I tell you that this movie is visually beautiful, I am not kidding and it’s not only because this has his usual style of mimicking classic paintings in certain scenes or his use of slow motion but also because he uses the camera to make this seem like a reality show in a way or as if this is all being recorded by the cameraman of a news channel. He uses the focus to not only showcase beautiful imagery but to also uses the blur as a tool to showase how morality is blurred as soon as you enter the zombie-filled Las Vegas.
Don’t let the trailer fool you, there’s a lot in between the lines of this movie. It’s not just a fun action movie, it has a lot to say as well. I can’t help but give this a 4.5/5. Might even make a video on this on my instagram.