Movie Plot – Army of the Dead: After a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries takes the ultimate gamble by entering the quarantine zone to pull off the biggest heist ever.
Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: Zack Snyder, Shay Hatten, Joby Harold
Cast: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, Omari Hardwick, Theo Rossi, Nora Arnezeder
A New Zombie Franchise
Based on the title and content, you might expect a sequel to Dawn of the Dead, the film with which Snyder broke through as a director in 2004. But nothing could be further from the truth: Army of the Dead marks the start of a completely new zombie franchise, which will later be supplemented by a spin-off film, an anime series and a (possible) sequel. I’ve actually never seen Dawn of the Dead, but one day I will! So don’t expect a comparison of his two Zombie movies.
But first, Army of the Dead. The opening images immediately create high expectations. While the cheerful song ‘Viva Las Vegas’ sounds on the soundtrack, we witness the zombie outbreak in the world-famous gambling city: half-naked strippers bite, bullets fly around, blood splashes against the skirting boards, a zombie-Elvis shuffles past and a fighter jet bombs The Strip, after which the army decides to seal off the entire area hermetically with a wall of shipping containers. Nice start! How the zombie outbreak didn’t get further than Las Vegas is a mystery, but it is and always will be a movie.
A chance to become a millionaire
The film is mainly carried by Dave Bautista. The man appears to have more talent than wrestling. We are introduced to his character, Scott Ward. He is a roughneck with a small heart, who managed to escape from the quarantine zone just in time. Now he runs an eatery, but even there he gets little rest. A Japanese businessman makes him a proposal: Scott must return to Las Vegas – where the city is still teeming with the undead – to crack a safe under a huge casino, where some two hundred million dollars in cash is stored. Hurry, because in forty-eight hours, on Independence Day, the government plans to flatten the whole mess with a nuclear bomb for good.
Why would you take such a job? The answer, of course, is obvious: money. In Scott’s case, the reward is fifty million dollars, hands down. However, not all zombies are mindless creatures. Indeed, among them are the so-called “Alphas”, who can do a little more with their dead brains than others. I know I wouldn’t risk my life for it.
With Army of the Dead, Zack Snyder creates a kind of kingdom for his zombies, where some specific rules and laws apply. For example, from time to time, some sacrifices are required. And, surprise surprise, the ‘king’ of musty-smelling Las Vegas even turns out to be quite adept at the noble art of horseback riding! It is precisely this kind of wacky detail that Snyder manages to revitalize the genre with.
I also thought it was a nice group going after the money. Some worked better than others. On the whole, they did all fit together. Still, don’t get emotionally attached because this is still a zombie movie.
One of the criticism is that Army of the Dead is a long movie. However, I was never bored as I found it to be entertaining. I just have one big thing to complain about, and that’s Scott Ward’s daughter. Let’s say she kind of goes to do a side quest which could have been totally left out. I get that Zack wanted to create some emotions through a father and daughter relationship, but it felt out of place.
Army of the Dead is a very entertaining, innovative Zombie film. It is also nice to see that Netflix is not so patronizing and just lets Zack Snyder do his thing with a series of exploding heads, breaking bones, and shattered bodies. And that zombie tiger? That one, of course, is incredibly cool.