Updated: Sep 16, 2021
Director Zack Snyder’s return to the zombie genre comes in full swing in this epic two and a half hour long Netflix movie. The film begins with the U.S. Army transporting a classified package. However, when a road accident occurs, the package is damaged, which reveals an undead human who kills the soldiers present and turns them into zombies. The undead army make its way to the nearest city: Las Vegas. Soon, the entire population becomes infected and the U.S. attempt to reclaim the city. This fails and they quarantine Vegas from the rest of the U.S.
In the present, Scott Ward, a veteran of the events of Las Vegas, works at a restaurant when he’s approached by a mysterious casino owner, Bly Tanaka, about a job to recover $200 million from his former casino before the U.S. military nukes Las Vegas. Scott agrees to do so and assembles a team of his former teammates from Vegas, with Scott’s estranged daughter, Kate, tagging along. The team tread carefully in a barren and decrepit wasteland that was once the shining city of Las Vegas, careful not to awake any new enemies. As the group make their way to the heart of the city, hordes of zombies slowly make their way to Scott’s team.
Zack Snyder has always had a fascination with zombies, believing that zombies are a “post-modern monster created by society”, and this love for zombies is on full display in Army of the Dead (2021). It features not only zombified people, but also a zombie tiger! Additionally, it has likeable characters, intense action sequences, beautiful cinematography, and a few surprise twists. Unlike a lot of Snyder’s films, Army of the Dead (2021) doesn’t use his standard dark and grainy style of filming with copious amounts of slow motion, using it to focus on mundane details that add nothing to the plot. Army of the Dead (2021) is well lit and doesn’t abuse its use of slow motion, using it only twice, and both times, focuses on details that add weight to the scene. For example, Snyder shows specific action sequences in slow motion to add tension and make the audience wonder whether the characters will escape alive.
Despite being one of Snyder’s stronger films, there were a few things I didn’t like about this film, namely that it did include a few scenes that were a bit pretentious in its message about zombies and society. A few deaths were predictable just by analyzing a few moments before their untimely demise. In addition, certain characters were not fully fleshed out, rather they were just made to be jerks in the film and were later brutally killed off. I feel this is kind of a cheap way to justify brutally killing someone. However, despite the flaws of the film, I still thoroughly enjoyed it for what it was: a fun, zany action flick with zombies in it.