Friday, May 21, 2021

Army of the Dead (2021)

Streaming Services: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Army of the Dead (2021)
Genre: Action, Crime, Horror
Length: 148 minutes
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: The Stone Quarry, Netflix, TriPictures
Director: Zack Snyder
Writer:  Zack Snyder, Shay Hatten, Joby Harold
Actors: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, Tig Notaro, Raúl Castillo, Huma Qureshi, Samantha Win, Richard Cetrone, Michael Cassidy
Blurb from IMDb: Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.

Selina’s Point of View:
I love zombies. I love Zack Snyder. No force on earth could have kept me from watching this flick.
From the moment I saw the trailer for Army of the Dead I was ready. Although it’s not a sequel to the Night of the Living Dead (1968) series, I did initially make that mistake. It wasn’t that far out of the realm of possibility. Snyder did direct Dawn of the Dead (2004), and he also admitted that he would be utilizing some of the aspects of Romero’s work. I was a little surprised to hear it wouldn’t be a direct product of it, though.
The fact that it was an original story written, and directed, by Zack Snyder only intensified my curiosity.
I was thrown off a bit by the opening scene. The way he represented the soldiers felt off to me. I simply can’t imagine a single soldier moving at a snail’s pace if one of their superiors gave them an order to run as far away from something as they could. It hit me wrong. I get what he was trying to do, but I think the same thing could have been accomplished with a realistic reaction.
That said, things only got better after that.

I find myself having to ask something. Is this a new genre-hybrid we’re seeing? Zombie/Heist? This is not the first one I’ve seen. In fact, the catalyst for the plot was strikingly similar to what we saw in Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (2020). That being: a few people who escaped the zombies once before are asked to return to the site of the outbreak in order to steal a huge sum of money.
It combines a lot of tropes from both sub-genres. For instance: during the opening credits, we have a full introduction to the crew. This is repeated in a more traditional manner during the actual story. From the zombie side of things, we see tropes like the team facing off with a previous member that was turned.
Just a side note, can we eradicate the fucking slow-clap trope? That’d be great. Thanks.
But I digress.

As trope-filled as parts of it seemed, there was a freshness to it. I imagine a lot of that is because what’s expected of one sub-genre, is not what’s expected of the other. So, you don’t know which direction the story’s going to take.
That said, Army of the Dead was not lacking in shock value. Snyder went SUPER far in some scenes. There were few things I’ve never see in any zombie film. They caught me completely off-guard. It wound up being one of those movies I HAD to watch on streaming, whether or not it made it to theaters, because I was too vocal to be in polite company.
As far as I know, this film had one of the longest (if not the longest) run-times of any zombie film that currently exists. My post today is late simply because I just didn’t expect it to be 2 hours and 28 minutes long.
Even at that length, I barely felt the movement of time.
It was just that good.

Train to Busan (2016) is still my favorite zombie flick. Night of the Living Dead follows, just because it was the movie that started it all. I think, now, Army of the Dead pulls into a close third – un-throning Anna and the Apocalypse (2017).
I can’t leave this off without noting Zack Snyder’s soundtrack choices.
In the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, he introduced audiences to Richard Cheese – a lounge singer that covered “Down With the Sickness” by Disturbed. It was the first time I found I really had a soundtrack preference with any film. I just love that juxtaposition of slow, kind of poppy, music playing over a violent, bleak, apocalyptic scene. He pulled the same thing with this one. In fact, he used Mr. Cheese again. I’m so here for that choice.
I know that there are plenty of people who disagree with that assessment, but it just works for me.
I can’t recommend Army of the Dead enough. Especially if you’re a zombie fan.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 71%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 79%
Metascore – 57/100
Metacritic User Score – 6.4/10
IMDB Score – 6.8/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating5/5
P.S. There will be a (currently unnamed) prequel coming sometime down the line. We will also be getting an anime-style series called Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas.
Movie Trailer:

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