Army of the Dead is billed as a ‘zombie heist’ film. Sign. Me. Up. The mind boggles with the genre-mashup possibilities and it starts ever so well with a classic Snyder opening montage that is both gorgeous and hilarious. It succinctly sets the scene: Las Vegas is ground zero for the zombie apocalypse, but the hordes of zombie strippers and zombie Elvis impersonators are walled off in the nick of time confining the outbreak to Sin City.
Cool; but this is also a heist movie. Ergo down-on-his-luck macho mercenary (Dave Bautista) assembles his crack squad of specialists (the sarcastic helicopter pilot, the surly navigator, etc) to boost the safe of a very zombie-infested casino. Great so far, but Snyder’s brains must have been devoured before he wrote the script because the result is a misfire.
I just did not care about these characters. The ‘heart’ of the story is the relationship between Bautista and his daughter played by Ella Purnell. They are fine actors but the dialogue is boring and their motivations are at best thin and at worst nonsensical. In addition, the tension is drained by a misguided, super-serious tone. Despite a juicy premise, Army of the Dead is clichéd and a sorry missed opportunity.
by Jonathan Winter