Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★

2021 Ranked

“If you coordinate and communicate, this should be a simple in and out.” 

I think a phrase to sum up this movie would be ‘wasted opportunity’. The concept and some of the ideas thrown into the mixture are interesting, it’s just the execution of the overall plot and movie that feels like a waste. A zombie heist movie should be fun, and while there’s a few moments here and there that are entertaining the rest of the movie is bogged down by bad writing and plot development. 

One of the main issues I have is the amount of characters crammed into the film. Each having their own subplots and stories that never really gel well together. Some of these B plots are forgotten about and then brought up again after so long that I’d actually forgotten they were happening. If this had been kept as a smaller scale, smaller team, doing a heist in a zombie filled city, then it would have worked. Instead you end up with plot upon plot stacked up onto each other until the whole film feels so bloated and messy. There’s so many weird little moments too, like with the world building of these zombies, really odd little moments that build up these creatures but feel out of nowhere and not matching the tone of the rest of the movie. 

It’s not helped that none of the characters are particularly interesting or well developed in the slightest. There’s so many different characters with different stories and unexplained motives that most of them get lost in the mixture. The performances are fine, with a few fun moments between the different member of the crew. Dave Bautista works as the action lead, sadly  let down by a few of the emotional moments with his character not quite working, but that’s probably the scripts fault more so than his performance. It’s interesting that Tig Notaro is actually the highlight of the film, despite not originally having been cast here. 

Snyder has some flourishes of originality here and there, the opening of the movie and the credits is fun and stylish and feels fresh. But once the rest of the movie kicks in, it all becomes rather grey, we lose sight of these fun, kooky looking zombies that were shown in the opening, instead replaced by rather dull and mundane creatures and locations. Far too often is the camera blurry that the action and set pieces feel awkward to watch and understand what is happening. There’s some good moments, with actual tension and well made action, but unfortunately it’s not enough to keep the film entertaining for its two and a half hour run time. 

I haven’t even mentioned the script, which is really rather poor. Awkward moments of comedy and shoehorned emotional cues that don’t quite land either. Creating a bit of a weird tone during a few segments of the film. Snyder really needs to know when to reign it in. There’s so many moments to feel like they outstay their welcome, just going on for that moment or two too long. The ending especially suffers from this. It’s clear where it’s wanting to head, but it really takes it time to get to it. Without much in the way of emotion or tension. 

Overall, there’s a few moments I did like, which is why I’ve given it a 2. There’s also plenty of interesting ideas. It’s just so overly bloated and messy that the end product doesn’t quite work.

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