By Deep Guha
Zack Snyder is perhaps one of the most polarized filmmakers to ever grace Hollywood. Some view him as a true auteur while some think that he’s just an overrated filmmaker. No wonder that his latest offering, Army of The Dead, grabbed everyone's attention.
The film is a zombie-heist movie(Never thought these two words would be spoken in conjunction). The film starts with a military envoy transporting an important cargo but all hell breaks loose when a newly wed couple smash into them. We then jump forward to a montage of the Zombie-Wars(as put by a news reporter in the film) playing over Richard Cheese and Allison Crowe’s Viva las Vegas. After that, we arrive at the present time. Here we see billionaire Bly Tanaka(Hiroyuki Sanada) approach ex-mercenary Scott Ward(Dave Bautista) to execute a heist in the heart of a zombie infested and walled off Las Vegas. And as heist movies go, Ward recruits a “gang of tough hombres” along with Tanaka’s right hand man and sets off on his mission. But as usual, things don’t pan out as planned(shocking eh?). The movie also carries a father-daughter reconciliation arc at it’s heart.
See, the thing that sets Army of The Dead apart is how it subverts the genre. In the movie, the zombies are classified in tiers. Alphas and Shamblers. The latter ones are the everyday, dumb zombies with nothing special about them. The Alpha’s on the other hand, are fast, cunning, and know how to fight and avoid blows, which make them a lethal threat even to a trained group of mercenaries. Plus there’s a zombie tiger which once belonged to the famous Siegfried and Roy. Now, this is not the first time that any media has tried to create or use a new type of zombie.
We’ve seen countless renditions of these mindless monsters. But the way Snyder has done it, is entertaining and intriguing none the less. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise when you see his body of work comprising of the genre bending Watchmen and 300. The movie also showcases Snyder’s well known obsession with the perfectly chiseled body and it’s connection with god-like characters. Case in point, the Alpha zombie named Zeus, using a hotel named Olympus as his so called palace.
In this movie. Zack Snyder also acts as the cinematographer, and passes with flying marks. Tom Holkenborg a.k.a. Junkie XL provides the music which is interesting and complementary to the films general narrative. But it’s nowhere close to the Snyder Cut’s soundtrack, so don’t expect much.
The movie fails, no, ‘fails’ is a strong word; more aptly, the movie misses out on the opportunity to provide commentary on certain issues that it sometimes just manages to touch upon. Things like the immigration problem in America, unnecessary use of nuclear force, the vulgar use of power of detention officers over the detainees, the vanity of Las Vegas etc.
But overall, the movie is bound to please both zombie movie fans and heist movie fans, equally.
Army of The Dead stars Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Theo Rossi, Huma Qureshi, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ana de la Reguera.
It is currently streaming on Netflix.