Army of the Dead - 3.5/5 - Walking Dead meets Ocean’s Eleven
No Spoilers -
I would classify Army of the Dead as an Action-gore flick. I’ll go ahead and out this out there… If you don’t like blood spurting on the ground and people being ripped/torn/blown apart then this is not the movie for you. If that kind of thing doesn’t bother you then Army of the Dead is worth checking out.
There’s a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas. The outbreak was contained by a wall of shipping containers around the city. A group of mercenaries is hired to go into the quarantine zone to recover millions of dollars from the basement of a casino. As you can imagine, things don’t go according to plan.
I appreciated some of the character development in the story. As is common with the horror genre, some of the characters actions just don’t make any sense. Also, there were some things that were put in for coolness factor and had little to do with the actual story. While I feel there was some issues with it, I can overlook them in the spirit of enjoying a good action flick. It worth checking out if you’re looking for a good gory zombie movie.
Spoilers – Read with Caution
I did have some issues with the movie, but I think it was all related to the writing over the acting or cinematics.
The main subplot in the story is the main character Scott Ward (played by Dave Bautista) trying to reconnect with his daughter Kate (Ella Purnell). Kate is a volunteer at a refugee camp for survivors of the zombie outbreak. My first question is why is a refugee camp located right beside and active zombie outbreak. I’m not talking close by; I mean the back of the camp runs up against the shipping containers holding the zombies at bay. I find it hard to believe that in America, there’s no where else for these people to go besides directly beside a zombie outbreak in the middle of the desert.
Kate decides to tag along into the quarantine zone to try to save a friend who went in to try to get the money out of a slot machine. As far as I could tell, Kate has no training that would qualify her for a trip inside the quarantine zone to fight zombies or save anyone. Also problematic with Kate’s character is when she demands to her father Scott that if he doesn’t take her with them, she will just sneak in right after they leave. They had to find a guide to get them into the quarantine zone so how would Kate know the way? Also, as a father, if I was in that position my daughter wouldn’t go or follow us in. No negotiation. It would not happen. Kate goes in with the team and makes stupid decisions that get people killed, no surprise there.
My favorite characters are Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) and Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighofer). They are strong characters in their own right but I really enjoyed their characters interaction. Ludwig is the comic relief of the group. He and Vanderohe build a genuine friendship that I appreciated throughout the film. It felt like a friendship that should have taken at least weeks to develop instead of a day and a half, but I was happy it was there none the less.
One of the main cool factor things in the film is Vanderohe’s saw. They make a big deal about it throughout the entire movie. They use it once near the end to cut through a wall. It was so anticlimactic it was disappointing.
The movie does have an interesting take on zombies. There are 3 types of zombies in the movie. The first is the run of the mill mindless herd. They are created when a person is bitten by an “Alpha” zombie. Alpha’s are fast and strong. They seem to have an animal level of intelligence. They are made when a person is bitten by the original zombie.
We aren’t told how this zombie came into being, but he seems to be the most human like of the bunch. He is calculating and goes so far as to have and wear an armored helmet. It looks like a custom job so I’m betting he made it himself. He openly cares for the alphas, especially the “Queen”. We discover that the queen was pregnant with his child. This is a little much for me. They are undead, literally not living, yet they are capable of growing an undead baby? Something dead can’t grow, it just makes no sense.
These are nitpicky kind of criticisms but don’t let that deter you from giving the movie a look. It had a host of entertaining characters, good acting, and if gore is your thing you won’t be disappointed.