Stanley Scorsese’s review published on Letterboxd:
2021 has been good to Zack Snyder. He got to release his long-awaited director’s cut of Justice League, and to go towards Netflix to have more creative freedom with his zombie-heist flick Army of the Dead. But after hearing thoughts from YouTubers like Cody Leach and Sean Chandler after seeing the movie yesterday, I finally get to share my thoughts about Zack Snyder’s newest action flick!
Army of the Dead is the new Zack Snyder joint about a group of mercenaries are hired to make the greatest heist of all time. The mission: rob billions of dollars from a Vegas casino for a billionaire.
Well this was a lot of fun, until the ending occurred. I knew about the making of it when Zack Snyder was remaking his version of Justice League, and I couldn’t wait to see what it looked like when it hits Netflix. And so when I heard that both of his movies where coming out in 2021, I was absolutely in shock! It was like opening presents on Christmas morning to me! So back in March when I got to see Zack Snyder’s Justice League, I thought it was one of the best comic book films I’ve witnessed in my adult life! Aside from having a meaningless epilogue to the ending. So right after that, I couldn’t wait to see Army of the Dead because he has creative freedom so say goodbye to working with major film studios. So let’s talk about Snyder’s second new film!
I’m going to talk about the positives, starting with this cast. You got Dave Bautista, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Nora Arnezeder, and Raúl Castillo and they did pretty good. Bautista plays Scott Ward, a mercenary who gets called to do a mission to steal $200 million from a casino in the forbidden city of Las Vegas. And he does this by recruiting some of his buddies from his time at the war against the zombies. He also tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter. While there’s not much else to describe the characters, they’re enjoyable to see their chemistry but I’m going to get right into it with Mr. Snyder’s visionary work.
Zack Snyder is a man with a vision that he can bring to life with his films! He’s got the right feelings, the mood, the settings, and the idea of how to make his films as if he was getting ready for the next battle. I’m also very happy that he’s getting to have creative control with how he wanted to make Army of the Dead! I mean his screenwriting ain’t for shit, but he should hire real writers to polish it up for him. Anyways, his cinematography is incredible! I thought his camerawork was bleak and dark for the tone of the movie. It kinda reminded me of Wally Pfister’s work with Christopher Nolan or John Mathieson’s work with Ridley Scott.
Now I’m done talking about the positives, let’s talk about the bullshit. The pacing and the runtime was a big time drag for me, everything had to be put in to make the movie emotional and humanistic as possible. Plus the awkward humor didn’t work for me, it felt forced. While I’m happy Snyder got to have creative control, he’s letting his ego get in the way of making another masterpiece. Sure he isn’t going to compete with the likes of Nolan or Scott but he needs to learn a mistake that this is what happens when you get egotistical!
This is also another thing I agree with Cody Leach, it’s the daughter and her utterly stupid decisions. I’ve seen the cliché act of the father-daughter relationship, I’ve seen this shit! She thinks she can come in and get involved in this mission when she has no business. All to save some single mother. And she never has any real training on being a trained killer, she just pops zombies in the head with a pistol. To make matters worse, she gets everyone killed in the third act and it pissed me off more than anything in any movie ever! She didn’t check on the woman after the helicopter crash, and she didn’t have a single scratch on her body. How in the fuck can someone survive that without having a scratch?! And if it wasn’t for the dad dying after a zombie bite, I would love to see him severely scold her for botching the entire mission. Someone’s got to get a deservingly ass chewing! And that third act pissed me off that much to where it made me like the movie even less!
Despite these issues I have with Army of the Dead, I thought it was a decent action flick that was mixed with Dawn of the Dead and The Killing. Now if Zack Snyder can make some readjustments to make a director’s cut to cut some of bullshit out, I might could rewatch it and like it more. But I doubt that’s ever going to happen. Snyder’s been fucked over too much by Warner Bros. for his DC adaptations whereas his creative control had got the best of him. If that’s not pride and stubbornness, I don’t know what is. So if you’re a fan of Snyder and his work, it would be wise to save your money from seeing it at the movies and stream it on Netflix!
I’m giving Army of the Dead 3 stars!