Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★★★½

Zack Snyder's first foray out of capeshit in a long time is both a refreshing change of pace and clearly an outlet to vent his personal frustrations and demons. I don't think it's a reach to read into the central story of a father and his daughter reconciling their shared pain and the eventual conclusion of that relationship as something akin to wish fulfillment on Zack Snyder's part. But theres also seemingly a parable about what happened over at Warner Clowns with the rest of the cast.

There's a Japanese businessman who sets up the job, clearly modelled on Kevin Tsujihara, who instead of taking the surefire bank vault payout opts for billions and sends a baseballcap wearing misogynistic creep (Obviously Geoff Johns) to betray the group. Of course there's the friends Zack made along the way, Ana De La Reguera feels like a stand in for Patty Jenkins and Omari Hardwick is probably a mox of Jason Momoa and Ben Affleck, the bro who ultimatley remains stuck in the situation in a way. Theo Rossi shows up for good measure as an alt right rapist, meaning he's Devin Faraci and most film twitter bloggers or hell maybe even Joss Whedon.

For something shot in 2019, it's scarily precient, dare I say visionary. A politicised pandemic, used by what's obviously the Trump administration to disappear undesirables (Snyder trolling Sean Spicer by getting him to make a cameo and having a Black woman pre-emptively scream at him about shit that would happen during the George Floyd riots) and using alt right GI Joe cosplaying pieces of shit to enforce the management of said pandemic.

But the big silly, Verhoevenish satirical vibe suggests Snyder is able to look back at what happened and have a laugh about it. It feels like something Jerry Bruckheimer would produce for Michael Bay or Tony Scott in the 90's. The group camaraderie is straight up out of Con Air and just as fucking hilarious. Dave Bautista being a walking tank, who is a bit of a loveable downtrodden lug is straight up a 90's Stallone character.

Snyder takes ample opportunity to evolve those badass Batfleck fight scenes with some awesome Raid style zombie combat. This are Dave Bautistas best action scenes, and hopefully Samantha Win is given an action franchise of her own because she gets an early action scene that's on par with anything in The Raid or John Wick.

I've seen people complain about the length, but once again the formula is straight up 80's/90's action movie. Con Air, The Rock, Armageddon, Aliens, Terminator 2 all take time to set up the stakes and then go balls out in the second half. Your mileage may very on the dream lens, I personally loved the constant soft out of focus look, but I can see why it's not for everyone.

It's nice to see Zack get a chance to birth a new movie universe, but this time be fully supported by the people in charge and free of effect from the blogger industrial complex. Here's hoping this one has the chance to go as big as it teases at the end.

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