Army of the Dead is perhaps one of my most anticipated films of the year so far. All I was really after from this film was fun action adventure film with plenty of blood, guts and zombies and it delivered exactly what I wanted.
Directed by Zack Snyder, Army of the Dead stars Dave Bautista as the leader of a group of mercenaries that are hired to infiltrate the zombie ridden wasteland of Las Vegas in order to relieve a casino of $200million from an underground vault before a nuclear bomb is dropped on the city. Think Suicide Squad meets Ocean’s Eleven with a little Escape from New York and a lot of zombies and you’ll know exactly what to expect from this.
Now, despite this being another zombie film from Zack Snyder, don’t let the familiar looking title fool you – this is not a sequel to his 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. This is a separate universe altogether and is an original film not tied to any other of the many …of the Dead films that are out there. However, there is a prequel film on the way called Army of Thieves which is scheduled for release later this year.
As for Army of the Dead itself though – is it any good? The short answer is yes. I’d rank it up there with some of Snyder’s best work infect and I’d actually say it is better than his previous foray into the horror genre although strictly speaking, Army of the Dead is way more action that it is horror.
The story itself isn’t anything special but it does take some of the more predictable aspects of the zombie film genre and give them a little unique twist but in truth, what Zack Snyder has given us here is a better Resident Evil film than anything Paul W. S. Anderson has given us in the last 20 years.
Zack Snyder has always been a very visual director but for the most part Army of the Dead looks and feels like a very normal film with very little to identify it as a Zack Snyder project which I found to be refreshing but I must admit I’ve not seen anyone’s name appear in the opening credits of a film this often since John Carpenter and Tommy Wiseau. Snyder was clearly wearing a lot of different hats during the production of the film and I personally think the film turned out all the better for it.
The highlight of the film has to be Dave Bautista’s performance as the film’s lead. I’ve been a fan of Bautista’s since his WWE days and while his film career got off to a rocky start, he certainly seems to have found his footing as a leading man and manages to show some really good range in his acting ability here. He gave me everything I could have wanted from him in this type of film / role and this is probably his finest outing for me outside last year’s My Spy, which I found to be incredibly entertaining.
Good zombie films are hard to find these days and great zombie films are nearly impossible to find. But, for me Army of the Dead almost reaches that territory of being great. It may be touch too long for some folk, but overall it is a cracking watch. Strap yourselves in, grab the popcorn and enjoy this one.
by Edward Laing