Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead has all the poetry of a cinder block. But the problem is that Zack Snyder insists on scratching out his own version of Shakespeare on it.

Brash, bludgeoning, and woefully long, Army of the Dead takes what should've been Heat (1995) by way of Zombieland (2009) and devolves it into an overly serious romp about feelings, feelings, feelings and more feelings. Fucking hell, even the damn zombies have feelings.

Anyone remotely familiar with Snyder's work shouldn't be surprised. The recently released director's cut of Justice League (2021) is four hours of costumed vigilantes puttering about with their feelings. But we expect that. We understand that. What causes Army of the Dead to misfire is how the film's visually stunning, tongue-in-cheek opening credits sets absolutely the wrong tone for the film. It's a vibrant and snarky sequence that is never replicated.

It's a disappointment. A casino heist in zombie-infested Las Vegas emanates with infectious promise. Instead, the wit and cleverness of the heist genre is quashed by Snyder's need to always kick down the front door.

Brevity is the soul of wit they say, and sadly Snyder is about as concise as the bible. Every character beat is stretched to the point of breaking, and every death is telegraphed with a handwritten signpost to anyone paying attention.

Again, Army of the Dead isn't Shakespeare. And that's the whole problem. What little fun the film has with itself is wasted on Snyder's failure to thread that needle between tension, humor, and drama. Unfortunately, it does none of them well.

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