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Army Of The Dead Review: Don’t Watch This Ham-and-Cheese Special While Having Your Dinner



Army Of The Dead

Army Of The Dead (Netflix)

Starring  Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tig Notaro, Raúl Castillo, Huma Qureshi

Directed  by Zack Snyder

Rating: **

To watch heads being blown off(in slo-mo with brain particles showering  a queasy confetti on the  screen), jaws being ripped off and limbs being severed with  atrophied  severity, requires nerves  of steel. Considering the craze to view Army  Of  The Dead I suppose Covid has got us there already. Insensitivity  is  the  new mantra for  survival. Corpses  of loved ones  are left to their own devices. We mourn in isolation. We  wallow in solitary grief.

In many ways Army Of The Dead  is an unintentional metaphor  of the pandemic. It shows  victims  dying horrible deaths and  being helped to the  other world  by their loved ones , the contagion level  being so high it is  best  to   slay rather than grieve.Next bed , please.

 This  Zombie  movie trope  used to be fun  for some back in the time  in 2004 when  Znyder made  his directorial debut with Dawn  Of  The Dead.

 Those were the daze!   Now  given the circumstances I am not too sure  bringing  us a flamboyant  gut-wrenching(literally)   film about zombies is not a case  of biting off more than they can chew, if you will excuse the distasteful pun.  Znyder  derives  great  pleasure  in  watching the  zombies devour on human flesh, chewing the meat  to the bone.

Speaking of which , this 2 ½ hour marathon of mayhem could do with some  of that: meat  on the  table. For a human-versus-zombies tug ‘o’ war the  plot is skeletal , perhaps in  keeping with   the  overflowing  supply  of  skeletons(which look like they have seen  better days) strewn everywhere . There is also a tiger with  an unknown  skin ailment  which  could do  with a bath.The   direction is  selfcongratulatory  with a  look-ma-no-hands kind  of  childlike glee. Snyder has gone berserk with the  mayhem, breathing  a heavy congested  air into  every frame as the  characters try hard to  preserve a touch of  the humane in the  riot  of  barbarism.

There is a father-daughter reconciliation story  between  Dave  Bautista( more wooden and brainless brawn than Sylvester Stallone)  and his cute daughter  Kate(Ella Purnell). There is  a distinctly camp German safe-cracker(Matthias Schweighöfer) forming what seems  like  an emotional bond with  Vanderohe(Omari Hardwick). There is Ana de la Reguer looking  Mr Bautista  straight in the eye  right in  the  middle of  the mayhem to say, “Why do you think I am here?” And then perhaps  knowing our hero’s IQ level,  not waiting for an  answer to say, “It’s because  of YOU!!!”

  Everything has to be spelt out in grisly  detail. Between  the swirl  of  blood and the  bursts  of  backchat there is  little room  for  any kind of  plot development.

The  actors ham through the cheesy lines relying on a limited  repertoire  of expressions that range from startled to stumped. Whether  these expressions  are for the camera  or for what the actors are made to  go through for  the camera, we will never know. Also  unknown is why this “army”  of  characters  decides to  travel to Los Angeles to retrieve money from an abandoned casino when  the the city is  clearly taken over by zombies .

 Maybe these characters are adventurous. One woman in the team the pilot Marianne(Tig Notaro)  keeps smoking her  cigar while the zombies  feast on her colleagues’ heads.  I  don’t know  if  the  violence is meant to be  funny. While the savagery  goes on uninterrupted smoky songs  play in  the background. One  of the songs  goes, ‘Don’t go out tonight, it’s bound  to take  your life.’

Don’t say you were  not warned.

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