Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Army of the Dead Review: A Stylish Zombie-Fueled Jackpot

Army of the Dead Movie Poster

Release date: May 22, 2021
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Written By:  Zack Snyder, Shay Hatten, Joby Harold
Starring: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana De La Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Garret Dillahunt, Tig Notaro, Raúl Castillo, Huma S. Qureshi, Samantha Win, Richard Cetrone, Michael Cassidy

Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.

Chelsea Edmundson	...	Bride (Misty Hillman) Zach Rose	Zach Rose	...	Corp. Bissell Brian Avery	Brian Avery	...	Humvee Driver David K. Maiocco	David K. Maiocco	...	Liberace Partygoer Ryan Watson	Ryan Watson	...	High roller Sabine Varnes	Sabine Varnes	...	Zombie Showgirl Mónica López	Mónica López	...	Zombie Showgirl Kelly Phelan	Kelly Phelan	...	Zombie Showgirl James M. Halty	James M. Halty	...	Slot Machine Man (as Jim Halty) Leon Budrow	Leon Budrow	...	Zombie Male Stripper Maeve Garay	Maeve Garay	...	Little Girl Danielle Burgio	Danielle Burgio	...	Soccer Mom Jessica Harbeck	Jessica Harbeck	...	Zombie Elvis Josh Horton	Josh Horton	...	Man in car Natalie Jaramillo	Natalie Jaramillo	...	Woman in car (as Natalie Marie Jaramillo) Frank Andrade	Frank Andrade	...	Tattoo Artist Ava Wagenman	Ava Wagenman	...	Soccer Mom's Daughter Wayne Dalglish	Wayne Dalglish	...	Dagliesh
Army of the Dead feels like an amazing combination of two of my favorite media properties, the Dead Rising series of video games and the Italian Job.  Like Dead Rising, it has impossible hordes of zombies, but ones that you can manipulate if you play it right.  And it has improvised weapons, over the top personalities, and plenty of gore.  And like the Italian Job, it gathers a wonderfully different cast of characters that break up the serious heist with personality and levity.  It is the perfect combination of good action, varied characters, and a certain level of campy horror and dark humor.  

The film gathers an ensemble cast with all sorts of different, quirky team members to take on this impossible mission.  The main character is Dave Bautista, who you will love or hate, but I hope you love.  He is just a great lead and has that perfect combination of action chops and humor that can make a movie that much better.  He is joined by a mostly hand picked team of misfits that each bring something to the table.  From the safecracker, to the stereotypical pilot, to the YouTube star, every one of these characters adds variety to the team.  I also really loved the international aspect of the film.  You have actors from all over, including German superstar Matthias Schweighöfer playing a very funny safe cracker and Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada as the boss Tanaka. And special shoutout to Omari Hardwick as a badass improvisational fighter who also brings some levity when needed.  As I said, each member of the crew adds something to the film and they all play different parts in this unlikely, undead heist.

Casey Messer	...	News Anchor #1 Ken Thong	Ken Thong	...	Kevin (Scott's boss) Donna Brazile	Donna Brazile	...	Female Pundit Sean Spicer	Sean Spicer	...	Male Pundit Sheila Awasthi	Sheila Awasthi	...	Angela Sebastian Balchand	Sebastian Balchand	...	Adjit Colby Lemmo	Colby Lemmo	...	Laura Ward Marisilda Garcia	Marisilda Garcia	...	Anita Isachar Benitez	Isachar Benitez	...	Cruz's Shop Mechanic (Sharkey) Carolyn Wickwire	Carolyn Wickwire	...	Elderly Woman Antonio Leyba	Antonio Leyba	...	Carlos Colin Jones	Colin Jones	...	Damon Daisy Davis	Daisy Davis	...	Refugee Woman #1 Lora Martinez-Cunningham	Lora Martinez-Cunningham	...	Refugee Woman #2 Athena Perample	Athena Perample	...	Alpha Queen Albert Valladares	Albert Valladares	...	Alpha General Alexander Ward	Alexander Ward	...	Vault Shambler Steve Soliz	Steve Soliz	...	News Anchor #2
The crew are a great addition to this film but what makes Army of the Dead so enjoyable is the combination of action and humor.  The film has a wonderfully dark comedy that will have you cringing and laughing throughout.  There are so many little touches that will remind you that this is set in Vegas, from the casinos, to the personalities, to the fact that there are zombie white tigers.  Everything about this film will have you cheering on the crew or cringing at the horrible things and situations that they have to deal with.   

And the style of Army of the Dead also sets it apart.  Set in Vegas, the film has a rat pack style that will evoke classic nights on the strip.  From neon colors to big band music, the film definitley takes its Las Vegas setting to heart.  This really comes through in the introduction as you see the zombie outbreak takeover the strip, with all the craziness you would expect.  And although the film is zombie heavy with plenty of action, there are also moments of suspense and levity to break up the action.  There were definitely times when I was either holding my breath or laughing out loud throughout this undead caper.  The film is over two hours but didn't feel it at all.  I enjoyed every minute I got to spend in Zach Snyder's twisted head and I hope that there are more movies from this universe planned.  

Army of the Dead hits the jackpot with a Dead Rising and Italian Job mashup of my dreams, a great cast, wonderful dark comedy, and plenty of action and style. 

Watch it.

Jordyn Aurora Aquino	...	Young Woman Sarah Minnich	Sarah Minnich	...	Jessica (Air Hostess) Bernhard Eichholz	Bernhard Eichholz	...	Puppeteer Ozzy Alvarez	Ozzy Alvarez	...	Puppeteer Kevin Kirkpatrick	Kevin Kirkpatrick	...	Puppeteer Eric Fiedler	Eric Fiedler	...	Puppeteer Fred Tatasciore	Fred Tatasciore	...	Zombie Vocal Amanda Troop	Amanda Troop	...	Zombie Vocal Gary A. Hecker	Gary A. Hecker	...	Zombie Vocal (as Gary Hecker) Jon Olson	Jon Olson	...	Zombie Vocal Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Alexander Alayon	Alexander Alayon	...	Cholo Gangster (uncredited) Aleks Alifirenko Jr.	Aleks Alifirenko Jr.	...	Zombie (uncredited) Maura Allsman	Maura Allsman	...	Casino Shambler (uncredited) John Antorino	John Antorino	...	Alpha Zombie (uncredited) Gabe Baca	Gabe Baca	...	Refugee (uncredited) David Baker	David Baker	...	Shambler (uncredited) Darryl Barnes	Darryl Barnes	...	Alpha Zombie (uncredited) Sean Berube	Sean Berube	...	Alpha Zombie (uncredited)

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Army of the Dead is available on Netflix on May 21, 2021.

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