‘Army of the Dead’ lets Zack Snyder cut loose on a too-long zombie-heist combo

Snyder really directed the 2004 remake “Dawn of the Dead” early in his profession, earlier than “300” and his intensive sojourn into the world of graphic novels and superheroes. While “zombie/heist” is handy shorthand — “Ocean’s Eleven” meets “The Walking Dead” — the film mashes up a number of genres and older movies, owing maybe its most sizable debt to “Aliens,” to the level of pilfering a memorable line of dialogue.

Like that movie, this one entails a squad of troopers (OK, mercenaries right here, however shut sufficient) heading into a perilous setting surrounded by slavering creatures, finishing up their mission beneath a ticking-clock situation. The monsters, furthermore, may be a little extra advanced than customary incarnations, including an additional diploma of problem.

In this case, the activity entails cleansing out a Las Vegas on line casino vault earlier than the authorities drops a nuke on the metropolis to eradicate the zombie menace. If the concept of Sin City being overrun by senseless zombies sounds virtually redundant, properly, that is supposed to be half of the enjoyable.

The principal downside is that Snyder spends greater than a third of the film establishing the premise and assembling his crew, earlier than the actual motion begins in earnest. And whereas there’s an inevitable “Who will make it?” high quality to this type of train, too few of the characters stand out sufficient to make the prospect of changing into zombie meals as regarding accurately.

That begins with the group’s chief, Scott Ward, performed by “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” Dave Bautista. He brings his share of baggage alongside for the experience, together with his strained relationship along with his grown daughter (Ella Purnell), which is usually as drained as that sounds.

Tig Notaro and Matthias Schweighöfer do present comedian aid as a helicopter pilot and safecracker, respectively, the latter actually serving as the linchpin of the complete operation. Yet even with some actually eye-popping explosions of gore, the numerous hurdles thrown in entrance of the gang make the film really feel bloated, a byproduct of marriage ceremony so many parts in a package deal that clearly carries a larger price ticket than horror films historically do.

In playing phrases, Netflix has already gone just about “All in” on Snyder’s zombie world, together with plans for an animated series and prequels. In addition, the movie is receiving an unique theatrical launch — a potential godsend for newly reopened theaters — earlier than its debut on the streaming service.
For all the craziness that preceded its arrival, Snyder’s expanded cut of “Justice League” bolstered the epic tone and imaginative and prescient he brings to that sort of materials. Love it or not, it is a distinctive ability, courting again to his bloody work on “300” and “Watchmen.”

“Army of the Dead” possesses dribs of these qualities, however not at a comparable stage. So whereas this would possibly signify a diverting lark in its dizzying mixture of film conventions, that is one other one of these situations the place what occurs in Vegas most likely ought to keep there.

“Army of the Dead” premieres May 14 in theaters and May 21 on Netflix. It’s rated R.

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