I don’t normally do movie reviews (plenty of other sites for that) but I watched part of this last night and felt compelled to spout my worthless two cents. That’s how bad it was. It urged me to blog about its inane stupidity in hopes that someone – someone! – out there reads this and doesn’t waste their time on the film. Don’t be fooled by the amazing cover art! Someone else created that, and it does look awesome.
Now, let me preface my tirade with this: I think director Zack Snyder seems like a nice guy. I do. He’s passionate about his craft, he gets money from studios for big budget films, he cranks them out reliably, and he has legions of fans who really admire his work. I am not one of those fans. I do not like ANY of his movies – to various degrees of dislike – but they all do have kernels of good ideas and swaths of great directorial talent. Occasional good ideas makes a good movie not.
Netflix premiered this zombie heist escapade May 21st but it had a theatrical run before that. I’m not sure how well it performed in theaters, but probably not that good and will really find its roll on Netflix.
To briefly summarize the movie, a government secret has gone awry (heard that before? Same trope from Return of the Living Dead, an actual GOOD zombie movie) and masses of zombified humans erupt from the mistake. The zombies are somehow quarantined in Las Vegas and here is where the Ocean’s Eleven-style of heist comes into play. Dave Bautista (Drax of Guardians of the Galaxy) is hired by a rich guy to put together a team and get his $50 million stash out of a hotel in Vegas that is surrounded by flesh eating zombies. See, the government is about to nuke the city so the clock is ticking; get in, get out, get rich.
That all sounds well and good, and ya know, on paper, I would be on board with such a story. If it had the balls of the movies it unsuccessfully tries to mimic, the aforementioned Ocean’s Eleven and…well, every fucking zombie movie ever made. Army of the Dead doesn’t score many points for originality. And that’s part of the problem; this genre has been dug into the dirt for over a decade now, and while still popular (hell, I will always always love zombies and the genre) I feel that to keep the story going you need to add more twists. Zack Snyder tries to do with this emotional plot points and some father/daughter drama, but for me it all falls flat. I didn’t care. On the zombie side of things, he tries to liven things up with SMART ZOMBIES, something George Romero already tinkered with in Land of the Dead long ago.
So yes, now that means we get a smart, logical Queen Zombie who leads other hordes of calculating nasty zombies. All I could think though when I saw the actress slinking about and sniffing enemies was how much she was overacting. Of course, it was overacting at Snyder’s off screen request. “More snarling! More glaring! Good! Good! Perfect!”
I will be honest, I could not watch this whole movie. So this is a half-assed movie review and really just a rant. I don’t care. I was bored by it. I hated all the characters. The acting sucked (Dave Baustista was fine, I had no problem with him). But as far as breathing new undead life into a half-dead genre; no, Army of the Dead did not do that for me.
The current Metacritic score as of today is surprisingly similar: 57 for the Critics, and 5.8 for the Users. That’s a LOT of people who think this was just an average-not-worth-remembering zombie film. Maybe one day Zack Snyder can make a movie that is intelligent AND flashy, but I have my doubts. This is what he’s good at, shallow films with rehashed ideas and moments of great directing that never quite come together. Good luck, Snyder. I’m sure you’ll be just fine.