Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★★

Zack Snyder’s best & worst tendencies are on display in his new Netflix zombie epic, with flashy zombie action & humour rubbing awkwardly against a strangely inert emotional family subplot. The things that work, work really well, but are undercut by some one note characters, mumbly line readings & an unnecessarily bloated runtime.

The inciting incident that sets off the zombie plague is kind of perfect. A just married couple engaging in some convertible oral sex collides with an army transport, releasing Zombie 0 just outside of Vegas. Following an equally great credits sequence, we fast forward to the heist & rapid introduction of characters.

Once inside the walled off zombie wasteland, there is some fun to be had with undead tigers, horses & some other cool additions to zombie lore. I liked the trading of the douchebag guard for safe passage & the booby trapped safe scene was cool. But the uninteresting characters mean the numerous deaths don’t register. And Snyder & his co-writers steal wholesale from Aliens, right down to the finale on the roof. The untrustworthy company man even does Burke’s door lock & meets a similar fate - though his death is one of the highlights of the film.

And why give Dave Bautista such a dull sad sack lead role? The aforementioned emotional thread between him & his estranged daughter feels sledgehammered in. Army is also one of those countdown movies where no one shows an ounce of urgency. And why rely on an old shitty helicopter for your escape?

It’s a bit of a problem when the zombie hordes are more interesting than the main team we are supposed to empathise with. Maybe we could get a Non-Snyder Cut that shaves off 20 mins of bloat to make it a more pacy zombie actioner.

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