Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★★★

Zack dropping’ two hitters in one year. Army of the Dead is a slick little gem to drop after his superhero masterwork. Decidedly more minimalist in his approach here, the most relatively quaint film he’s made since his last zombie movie, but still, being made by the guy who made the craziest trilogy of comic book spectacle out there, it still has glorious moments that sparkle with his usual grandiose mania. Though the mileage may vary on the shallow focus photography, it was awesome in Justice League’s Knightmare sequence, and here, though it’s a choice that largely sits on the intimacy of the action, I believe it will prove to be a divisive choice. The digital recreation of a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas is an impressive display of scale, absolutely love the fly-by moments and the more smaller scaled suspense sequences really thicken the pulse - hibernating zombies! Not everything works, the pacing sags a little at the beginning, and there’s a B plot within the main objective that ends up exactly how you’d imagine, but Zack’s always got his heart on his sleeve and little details stick out; an abruptly gruesome demise for a character ends with an emphasis on a teardrop and a saddened look of total horror. And there’s a romance here that pops up and humanizes some monsters. The ragtag group here, is filled out well, each member has their own little quirk, but it’s Bautista that really shows he’s got the charisma of a leading man, capable of action, warmth and humor. Happy to experience this on a big screen, and that tiger is badass! A fun time that harkens back to Zack’s first feature and basks in the apocalyptic glory. Hardly his best movie, but a fun diversion nonetheless.

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