Army Of The Dead brings us a new entry in the long-running series – this time directed by Zack Snyder, begnining with a team of army guys taking something unknown through the desert, while a young, newly-married couple are also seen enjoying their new life together. Given how both are shown onscreen at the same time, you get the feeling these two situations are about to clash…
What is it they’re carrying? The original copy of the Constitution? The Holy Grail? The Ark from Raiders of the Lost Ark? Could it be some, all or none of these? Here’s a clue… what do ‘…of the Dead‘ films normally contain?
Yes, this time, the zombies are coming to Las Vegas! And in fact, seeing them infesting Vegas, it’s clear they have not heard about social distancing!
There’s some brilliant slo-mo opening credits where our heroes to come are showing an endless slaughtering of the enemy, only let down with the slight annoyance that there’s a moment where one zombie is shredded with a chaingun, while it’s on top of a car. This particular ‘shot’ really should’ve been done without text credits over the top, so the blood could flow in its full glory.
Anyhoo, time for a plot, and big, rich businessman Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada – Mortal Kombat 2021) has a proposal for former marine Scott Ward (Dave Bautista, Dune 2021, Escape Plan 3), who earned the Medal of Freedom after saving the Secretary of Defence from zombies, and is now working in a burger joint.
There’s $200m in a vault beneath the Las Vegas Strip. In short, he’s got 96 hours to find it and get it out of there, and he’ll get $50m for his trouble to split between whoever he gets to work with him. Hence, he puts together a rag-tag bunch of idiots who may or may not be able to get the job done, including his daughter, Kate (Ella Purnell – Belgravia, Ordeal By Innocence), with whom he fell out, since she hasn’t talked to him for years because he had to kill her mother when she turned into a zombie, some time before the start of this movie.
On a bit of a downside, after the opening credits, it’s a bit slow to do the establishing shots, as the main action doesn’t begin until we’re almost 50 mins in, although this film is a three minutes shy of two-and-a-half-hours, but then then Zack Snyder finally brought us his four-hour version of Justice League to life recently, so we shouldn’t expect a 90-minute quick in-and-out.
However, there’s plenty to enjoy during its running time, including witnessing the zombies’ inner sanctum, Valentine the zombie tiger – who used to belong to Siegfried and Roy, another creature which will be revealed later, and as usual with this sort of film, not everyone will survive, but will it be those you’re expecting to fail? All I’ll say about that is that sometimes there are cliffhangers as to how the fate of certain characters will pan out, with some characters for whom you’ll want to root, and others for whom you’d happily kick in the eye.
Amongst the frequent head shots with blood splattering over the camera, this time we have some clever zombies, who don’t just eat first and don’t bother to ask questions later, they have a hierarchy and can get pregnant! Plus, some can hibernate – which means walking past them… I don’t envy anyone having to do that. I do hope no-one hot dies! However, some of our heroes make some bloody stupid decisions along the way.
Zack Snyder has filmed Army of the Dead in a 16:9 ratio which really helps for this type of film, since the full height of the frame is often utilised, but then it’s close to the 1.43:1 70mm IMAX ratio which Zack Snyder sometimes likes to use.
One day the zombie apocalypse will come, so you’d best get ready…
There’s also a potential sequel teased when…
Backup spoiler tag…
Army Of The Dead is on Netflix from today, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Check out the trailes below:
Running time: 147 minutes
Release date: May 21st 2021
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 (Dolby Vision, Redcode RAW (8K))
Director: Zack Snyder
Producers: Wesley Coller, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder
Screenplay: Zack Snyder, Shay Hatten, Joby Harold
Music: Junkie XL (as Thomas Holkenborg)
Scott Ward: Dave Bautista
Kate Ward: Ella Purnell
Vanderohe: Omari Hardwick
Maria Cruz: Ana de la Reguera
Burt Cummings: Theo Rossi
Dieter: Matthias Schweighöfer
Lilly (The Coyote): Nora Arnezeder
Bly Tanaka: Hiroyuki Sanada
Martin: Garret Dillahunt
Marianne Peters: Tig Notaro
Mikey Guzman: Raúl Castillo
Geeta: Huma Qureshi
Chambers: Samantha Win
Zeus: Richard Cetrone
SGT. Kelly: Michael Cassidy
Groom (Mr. Hillman): Steve Corona
Bride (Misty Hillman): Chelsea Edmundson
Corp. Bissell: Zach Rose
Humvee Driver: Brian Avery
Liberace Partygoer: David K Maiocco
High roller: Ryan Watson
Zombie Elvis: Jessica Harbeck
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.