Is the Netflix zombie heist movie, “Army of the Dead,” worth your time?
Army of the Dead hit Netflix just a few months ago on May 21, 2021. In that time, it has been streamed in millions of households across the world. While tons of people enjoyed the film, looking at the ratings, it seems that plenty did not. As of right now, it has a 68% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.8/10 on IMDb. Maybe the runtime of two hours and 28 minutes is to blame. In that amount of time, there could be plenty of chances to lose interest in the story being told on screen.
Here’s the thing; I’m not sure what viewers were expecting to get out of this film. Army of the Dead tells the story of a group of people who decide to head into the heart of zombie-packed Las Vegas, in the hopes of successfully completing a huge heist. It’s hard to take a concept like that too seriously, and even harder not to enjoy the film at least a little bit.
Army of the Dead begins with a military vehicle and a car, with a happy newlywed couple inside, crashing into each other on a highway in Nevada. The large container they were transporting takes a lot of damage in this crash, letting out the deadly being they were unknowingly carrying. It’s not long before all of the soldiers either become dinner or turn into the undead and head into Las Vegas. Through a montage, we see the damage done to the city and its people, as well as the military rescuing any survivors they can and walling off the city.
After taking out some zombies and helping survivors escape in Army of the Dead, Ward (Dave Bautista), Cruz (Ana de la Reguera) and Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) all end up in average jobs. Ward has said goodbye to the thrill displayed in that opening montage and is now flipping burgers. He is approached by a rich man, offering him a chance to make a lot of money in a short amount of time. He tells Ward that there is 200 million dollars in a vault under Las Vegas. If Ward can get a team together that is willing to go in and get the cash, they will keep $50 million to split. There’s a catch besides the large amount of zombies they will have to face; the government has decided to nuke the city, and they have to get out with the money in hand before that happens.
Ward gets in touch with Cruz and Vanderohe, and they work together to create a solid team. This group includes an expert at cracking safes, a helicopter pilot, and a guy who has gone viral for his zombie killing videos. They also have to take in one of the rich fella’s men. Other people join them on their way into the city. Together they face a lot of loss, twists, and turns. Will it be worth it? That is the central plot question of Army of the Dead.
This film was directed by Zack Snyder, who is probably most well-known for Dawn of the Dead (2004). He also directed 300 (2006), Watchmen (2009), Man of Steel (2013), and Sucker Punch (2011).
We are so used to seeing zombies that are slow and easy to get past with a few bullets, as long as there aren’t too many of them. With Army of the Dead there were some basic zombies like this, that fit into the stereotypical mold, but also some unique ones that were superior. These ones were extremely fast, strong, smart, and organized. There was even a zombie tiger! There was a king and queen zombie, who had their own thing going on as well, which was cool. Most of the time, the undead don’t get portrayed in this way and are just there to be shot at and add gore to the film, so it was refreshing to see a little bit of the story from the perspective of the zombies. Some zombies were even used by the characters to set off traps, which was also unique.
Of course, with a movie like Army of the Dead, there is going to be a little cheesiness going on with everyone. But, it seemed to work well in this case, and the cast was great. Some members of the team were strangers to each other, but some had bonds that went way back. The strong connection between them was clear and more unions were created along the way. While some characters weren’t fleshed out as much as they could have been, I found myself enjoying their stories for the most part. They were all fun in their own ways. Most members of the team were funny, making for some hilarious dialogue. There are a few members with ulterior motives, so you can never really be sure what is going to happen next.
The set was great, and the soundtrack for Army of the Dead was solid too. Action was a big part of the film and very well done. There is quite a bit of violence, but it didn’t seem to be too overwhelming or excessive. This film also contains some gorgeous shots and enjoyable editing.
Army of the Dead is fun and definitely worth your time, if you’re looking for a horror film with loads of action, drama, and laughs. If you do end up enjoying it, you’ll be happy to hear that Netflix has green-lit a prequel and an anime series called Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas.
Take a look at the trailer for “Army of the Dead!”