Army of the Dead (2021) – A Review

We’ve had slow zombies. We’ve had fast zombies. We’ve even had a zombie film from Zack Synder already so why watch another? I can only imagine the pitch meeting. Let’s make a zombie bank heist mash up movie and set it in Las Vegas…..ca-ching! A tantilizing idea to say the least. So should we spin the wheel and bet it all on Zack….I mean black….or should we know when to walk away or when to run? Let’s get into it!

Strong Character

There is a lot to like here. I want to make that clear from the beginning because I’m conflicted about how I feel about this movie. Overall it’s extremely entertaining though which I feel I need to stress. This movie is pure dumb fun with strong action scenes, likeable characters and a real flair for entertaining stylistic action. The characters in this essemble could be accused of being heavily cliched almost to the point of coming across cartoonish but it works in this kind of movie. I found all of them interesting and rarely annoying which is quite an acheivement in an essemble action movie.

Brains Not Included

I’ve mentioned already that this movie is dumb. That is an understatement. You will need to switch your brain off and throw common sense and rationale out the window in order to enjoy. Think of it as an entertaining joyride. As soon as you start to linger on any plot points, character choices or simple logic…..it completely implodes. So don’t do that….right? The movie doesn’t want you to think about anything for too long. Just soak up the visuals and enjoy the action, right? In most cases, this is perfectly fine. I have no problem watching no brainer action films and for me they get a pass. The problem here is, I don’t think Zack wants us to see this as another simple action film. Minor spoilers warning! This movie features lots of sprinkled in layers for keen vieweers to spot. Ufos, time loop theories, greek mythology, the hero’s journey, robot zombies & alien evolution to name but a few!! Maybe these are added just for enjoyment for fanatics on repeat viewings but I can’t help but feel that Zack wants to elevate dumb fun to thoughtful reflection which is absurd. If we are expected to think about what we’ve seen and perhaps ponder on implications, then we have to judge it also for all the absolutely bananas logic throughout the movie. It makes it very difficult to judge.

Long in the Tooth

Length here is definitely an issue. This movie feels both too short and too long at the same time. Let me try to explain. First and foremost, this movie is too long. Two and a half hours for a zombie action movie just makes no sense. Keep it moving at a fast pace and keep the action solid. Unfortunately, at times, it just slows down too much and adds really unnessecary details. Add to that Zack’s love of slow mo and you’re in for a lengthy experience. And why I hear you ask is it too short? Well it isn’t but repeatedly they set up plot points and then bury them. Some ideas are explained in exposition and then never come to fruition. It feels like they are constantly trying to add lore and backstory only to have characters killed off and for none of it to matter. It’s just weird….perhaps there are some deleted scenes but for me it’s already too long so I don’t welcome any more padding. Some of this rubbish could have been cut down and it would have balanced out the patchy pacing and brought the run time down to an acceptable figure.

Overall

This is still a great action movie. If you can get over the runtime and don’t think too hard about what’s going on, it’s a really fun time. The opening credit sequence is worth a special mention and shows that Zack has a great confidence and flair for out of control action. Also the last half hour or so of the movie is an absolute blast and it doesn’t disappoint. So if you like exploding heads, squirty blood, slow mo bullet ballets and Dave Bautista absolutely owning fools, then this is the movie for you. Kick back with a beer, switch your mind to passive mode and enjoy the fireworks. Viva Las Vegas!

Did you enjoy the movie? Are you looking forward to the prequel? Do you know about the time loop theory? Let me know in the comments below :

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