ARMY OF THE DEAD (2021) Reviews and overview

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‘Always bet on dead’
Army of the Dead is a 2021 American action horror film about a group of mercenaries who attempt a heist in zombie-infested Las Vegas.

Directed by Zack Snyder (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Watchmen; Sucker Punch; Dawn of the Dead, 2004) from a screenplay co-written with Joby Harold and Shay Hatten.

The movie stars Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana De La Reguera, Theo Rossi, Huma Qureshi, Omari Hardwick, Tig Notaro, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, Matthias Schweighöfer, Raúl Castillo, Nora Arnezeder and Samantha Win. Produced by The Stone Quarry’s Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder and Wesley Coller.

“Occasionally, it achieves a Grand Guignol grandeur […] Concerned almost exclusively with the power of his images, Snyder often neglects momentum, and his action scenes have more baroque swagger than excitement. But the stacked cast (led by Bautista, that slab of empathetic strong-man sensitivity) underscores the uncommon humanity of the material this time around.” AV Club

” …a fun piece of escapist entertainment that remains engaging throughout its two-and-a-half-hour runtime. Snyder rarely gives into his worst instincts here. There’s minimal slow motion, and the action rarely eases for unnecessary sentimental moments. Instead, the director expertly stages thrilling set pieces that involve lots of bullets and appropriately shocking gore.” CBR

” …there’s no economy of storytelling here. If you want to mash-up zombie movies and heist movies, that’s fine, but both of those genres tend to be fairly fleet-footed in their storytelling, and Army of the Dead never maintains much momentum. Instead, it comfortably goes through the motions and Snyder never has much interest in upending his tropes until the very end of the movie…” Collider

“Zack Snyder movies tend to be divisive for myriad reasons. But regardless of how arguably successful or unsuccessful Snyder is at telling stories and handling characters, one thing he can usually be relied on to always do well is deliver impressive technical polish […] Shockingly, that’s not the case with Army of the Dead at all. Objectively speaking about visual value alone, Army of the Dead looks bafflingly terrible.” Culture Crypt

“It may not be great, but it’s also an inspired and enthusiastically thrilling work from an oversaturated genre that’s usually just as lifeless as the zombies themselves. There’s also more optimism, less angsty edge, and multiple women kicking ass that also suggests Army of the Dead, while not Zack Snyder’s best film, is a gauge for his continual positive growth and evolution.” Flickering Myth

“Both a prequel and an anime series are already in the works, which the film hints at without ever really justifying. We may be living in the superhero age, where films can longer be films, simply chapters in some larger vision – but all these ideas and ambitions muddy Army of the Dead when they should be amplifying its simple pleasures.” The Independent (UK)

“The film may be an over-the-top concoction of assorted genres, extremely bloody violence, and an increasing sense of spectacle, but it also, somehow, possesses just enough of a wounded, sorrowful heart to give the excess a sense of purpose. It’s not too much, obviously. There is, after all, a zombie guard tiger…” Mark Reviews Movies

” …Zack Snyder’s Zombie Heist Film Is Big, Dumb & Boring …a bland, humorless addition to the genre. As such, fans of Snyder’s work will no doubt want to check out Army of the Dead, and those intrigued by the premise may want to give it a shot. But Army of the Dead is by no means a must-watch zombie or heist movie…” Screen Rant

“It’s all very exhausting, and at 148 minutes, Army of the Dead more than overstays its welcome. It also tries to shoehorn in a few clumsy emotional moments at the last minute, and throws in a few twists and turns as well, but none of this works […] There’s a certain fun to be had in Army of the Dead, but it’s the mindless, ugly fun that you wake up the next day regretting.” Slash Film

” …even more than Snyder’s 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, feels assembled from bits and pieces of other, superior pop-culture touchstones. It’s less roiling than World War Z, less ingenious than a good Ocean’s film, less all-for-one inspiring than Guardians of the Galaxy. Yet it has a pleasing brawn and sweep, and you get caught up in it. As meat-and-potatoes escapism, it’s good diner food served with extra ketchup.” Variety

Army of the Dead isn’t bad to the point of unwatchable. When it does give us action it’s well done. There are also some good suspense scenes such as when the team tries to get past some sleeping zombies. It also delivers some impressive gore including a brutal mauling from the walking dead tiger. It even hints at some Romeroesque social commentary, but leaves them undeveloped as well. Given the cost of the film, and the ideas it raises and squanders, Army of the Dead ends up being thoroughly underwhelming.” Voices from the Balcony

“There’s enough gore, mayhem, and decay in Army of the Dead to make for a satisfying zombie-movie experience, and while it’s the best film Snyder has made since his last of the Dead, it’s also one that continually hints at the more satisfying work it might have been. The director goes all-in on spectacle, but his script is a pair of threes.” The Wrap

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