REPPED: If Dwayne Johnson is Rocky Balboa at the start of Rocky III, then Dave Bautista is Mr. T working his way to the title. Bautista is the thinking man’s meathead and while Army of the Dead might not be the best use of his talents, Bautista still manages to carry this film on his broad ass shoulders. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel something when I saw Bautista’s Scott Ward flipping burgers at some rundown diner. The film’s prologue has Scott saving people during the initial zombie invasion which could have been its own movie but then we come to the present and we see the reward for his heroism and it’s not much. Where you have Dwayne Johnson and his constant need to show how badass he is, Bautista isn’t afraid to show some vulnerability and it’s refreshing to see some range with these physically imposing actors. Of course, this is still a Zack Snyder zombie movie so you’re gonna need the action and Bautista brings it! For all its problems, the one shining moment was seeing Bautista going full berserker and slamming zombies! Army of the Dead’s greatest sin was never having Bautista square off one-on-one with the Alpha Zombie. The fight we end up getting in the film is super lame and I was really hoping for a wrestling match between Ward and the Alpha.
NEGGED: I ABHOR Netflix-produced content because of how digital and lifeless it looks and Army of the Dead has to be one of the biggest offenders of this. I’ve seen The Irishman and despite being a Netflix film, it looks better than Army of the Dead, so what was going on here? Well, it appears as if Zack Snyder was also the cinematographer and it’s apparent that he can’t hold a camera properly. It’s almost unfathomable that this was shot by Zack Snyder because he’s always been a visually stimulating director; say what you want about his other films, but you can’t say he’s ever directed an ugly film, that is, until now. Visually, Army of the Dead seems like his most uninspired work.
FINAL VERDICT: Army of the Dead is about as bloated as I get after eating a bag of French Fries, and I do get very bloated! You’d think that with such a long runtime Snyder would take advantage and fully flesh out his impressive ensemble of characters but for all the talent he managed to bring aboard this project, no one has any real personality. They fall victim to the “Boba Fett Syndrome” where they would make for cool action figures but they have nothing going on underneath the surface. It’s a heist film in title only and lacks any sort of character or tension. From the concept to the characters to its Las Vegas setting, Army of the Dead hardly utilizes any of it to good effect and the result is a film that feels as lifeless as the undead themselves.