LAMONT SMITH’s review published on Letterboxd:
Review and overall thoughts
Most horror fans believe that the zombie subgenre film changed in 2002 when British post-apocalyptic film, 28 Days Later, came out and introduce the audience, running zombies.
As I’ve stated before, those weren’t zombies, those were people who infected by the Rage virus, called the Infected. So, when Zack Snyder remake of the George A Romero classic, Dawn of the Dead came out in 2004, I consider that as zombie film that introduce the running zombie.
So, after some time directing DC superhero films for the DECU, Snyder is back in zombie subgenre with the zombie heist film, Army of the Dead.
After a nice prologue that shows how the zombie outbreak began in Las Vegas and government quarantining the city, we’re introduce to Scott Ward, the leader of a mercenary group called, Las Vengeance.
He is approached by a Japanese casino owner Bly Tanaka who wants to hire Scott and group to break into his casino and recover the $200 million in his vault before the military destroys the city with a tactical nuclear strike (al la Racoon City).
I like this set up for a horror movie at it combines elements of Ocean 11 (or 12 or 13) with Resident Evil. You have a rag-tag group of mercenaries that are going in and break into a vault that is consider ‘unbreakable’ within city that has been overrun by zombies.
The only other zombie heist movie is an indie film called Dead Heist back in 2007. Once again, Snyder takes advantage of using running zombies as they are more threating and deadlier, as we see in the opening scenes of the movie.
Snyder ups the stakes as these zombies have evolve, with group known as Alphas, who have an Alpha King and Queen.
This makes the action scenes even better as these zombies are athletic, can dodge bullets, knives, and most can fight just as good as the mercenaries.
Of course, the make effects on the zombies are excellent and we have plenty of blood and gore, especially with the zombie tiger, Valentine.
While the action scenes are good and all of the actors do a nice job with their roles, the problem with this movie is the emotion drama that Snyder and his writing team tries to throw in here.
We have Scott and his daughter Kate, who haven’t spoken to each other in months and, of course, there’s a cliché plot device in an obvious attempt to create dramatic effect between the characters.
It changes the tone of the film and slow the pacing down as it these scenes don’t fit for movie like this.
Of course, it should be no surprise that Tanaka and his right-hand man Martin have ulterior motives for this heist (again, Resident Evil vibes) and I did love Omari Hardwick (from Power fame) and Matthias Schweighofer chemistry. Nora Arnezeder was pretty good as Lily (the Coyote)
Overall, while this was a good zombie horror movie, something is missing that is preventing it to be just as good as the 2004 Dawn of The Dead movie was.
I believe that if Snyder and his writing team would have focus more of the heist and the zombies and left out the emotional drama between Scott and Kate, this would been one of the best zombie horror movies.
2 out of my 5 bloody gold coins