Vampire Owl: We are the Army of the Dead. This movie should be about us.
Vampire Bat: We are not the Army of the Dead. We are the Army of the Undead.
Vampire Owl: You mean to say that they are different from each other.
Vampire Bat: Yes, there is also an Army of Darkness, you know.
Vampire Owl: Okay, still it is the dead that becomes the undead.
Vampire Bat: Well, death is a beginning, and for the undead, it has already begun.
Vampire Owl: I think that you are pointing to the zombies as the dead.
Vampire Bat: Yes, without full brain acitivity, they are to considered dead rather than undead, as we look closer at them.
Vampire Owl: Well, not all of the dead are undead, we can be sure about that.
Vampire Bat: I am sure that this one has some fine zombies though.
[Gets a vegetable pizza and three cups of iced tea].
What is the movie about? :: A convoy coming from Area 51, the highly classified United States Air Force facility located within the Nevada Test and Training Range collides with the car of a newly married couple on a highway near Las Vegas. The high level of secrecy surrounding the base had already brought enough conspiracy theories to the scene including UFOs and aliens which are regular part of such talks. This time, the package which was part of the convoy is revealed to be a zombie, a very strong muscular creature which escapes, and during the process kills all the soldiers, among which some of them are infected and transformed into similar creatures, seeking to attack more humans. The zombies do head to the city, and infect most of its population. The United States military faces suffer heavy casualities, and is forced to retreat while facing the ever increasing hordes of zombies which are not that easy to kill as they only get stronger. The government decides to do what they considers to be the last resort, to deploy a tactical nuclear strike on the city to end the zombie threat forever, even though there are protests against the same.
So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Later, the very rich and influencial Japanese casino owner Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his associate Martin (Garret Dillahunt) asks a former resident of Las Vegas and earlier mercenary, Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) who is currently working at a burger joint to take over a job to recover two hundred million dollars from his casino vault in the quarantined Las Vegas. The time is running out, with the nuclear strike coming up. Ward agrees and recruits his former teammates Maria Cruz (Ana de la Reguera) and Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) as the maim mercenaries, along with a helicopter pilot Marianne Peters (Tig Notaro), a safecracker Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighofer), and a sharpshooter Mikey Guzman (Raul Castillo), who also brings his associate Chambers (Samantha Win). Martin also joins them to make sure that there is access. They have a thirty two hour window to do what they have done the best in history, and even though they cannot fly in due to flight restrictions, they can fly out in one of the rescue helicopter located at the top of the casino.
And what is with the humans and the zombies which we have around here? :: As they are not able to find a way inside, Scott searches and finds his daughter Kate Ward (Ella Purnell), and offers her his share of the millions, asking her to help him get into the city. Kate directs them to Lilly (Nora Arnezeder) or coyote, a smuggler who knows the city. Burt Cummings (Theo Rossi), an abusive security guard who knows exactly what happens inside with the zombies. When Kate understands that Geeta (Huma Qureshi) also went into Las Vegas with two others, she feels that she should also be inside. Being the badly raised dumb kid that she happens to be, she stops at nothing to get what she wants, and the returned father figure can only agree. When inside, the common zombies are not the only ones that they have to face, for there are zombie animals too, including a zombie tiger. There are also a different kind of zombies, which are not the usual mindless ones. They are smarter, faster and better organized, with a mark on their territories. It won’t be that easy to dupe these zombies. Can they get what they want and make it out?
The defence of Army of the Dead :: It is clear that we haven’t had a full fun zombie movie like this one for a long time, and there is a lot of entertainment with the action, thrills and even a certain amount of horror that has been going on with the undead creatures. It also has some humour in between, and a fine detail of the post-apocalyptic world as well as the zombie attacks with descriptions to support them. Among the performers, Dave Bautista and Ana de la Reguera are at the top, with Nora Arnezeder and Matthias Schweighofer following closely. The man who is known as Batista in WWE is another one of those ring performers who has done so well in cinema, after Dwayne Johnson’s classic performance, and also John Cena up-to an extent. Ana de la Reguera and Nora Arnezeder are perfect lady soldiers who know exactly what they are doing. The movie, with its ending, also leaves something for a possible film in the future. Even though it is pretty much a long movie, you don’t really feel the length, as there is so much of action going on at all times, and we are indeed taken to this world of post-apocalyptic chaos.
Positives and negatives :: There are moments which this movie could have avoided to cut down the length, and it also kills one of its interesting characters too early – Samantha Win played quite a strong soldier who is lost before the big battles begin. Ella Purnell, even if meant to be irritating, plays the character that causes the death of most of the character – one of the most foolish characters ever in an action movie, for only horror films have dumber characters suiting them. Huma Qureshi is also here, but she is also wasted in a character which provides nothing good to the movie – without her, the film could have been shorter as there was no need to spare some time for the unnecessary. At least half of the characters are not made to be memorable either. This is also a movie about which not many people knows, and that is a disappointment – it could have had some advertisements in this part of the world, as it is something which will appeal to our audience too. Zombies will catch our attention as much as any undead creature rising from the dead.
How it finishes :: With the title, one wouldn’t really know if this is about vampires, zombies or ghosts, but the zombie idea also does work that effectively as any other monster, proven already in Warm Bodies, World War Z and so many Resident Evil films which kept coming back again, one after the other. This one makes a fine progress with the story, even with some predictability in store, and as it does have a lot of action to go with it. The movie is indeed an all-rounder, and you can feel that quite early itself. Even though the corona virus pandemic didn’t create the zombie apocalypse as a gamer or zombie-movie lover would have anticipated, it is only safe to say that there is always hope for something like it in the future. When that zombie pandemic happens, we will have watched some quality undead hunting movies like this one, and we will be ready. After all, Zombieland already has us partially prepared for the big event. For the rest of the procedure, the next sequel of this particular movie will keep us prepared.
Release date: 14th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Dave Bautista, Ana de la Reguera, Ella Purnell, Nora Arnezeder, Omari Hardwick, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighofer, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tig Notaro, Raul Castillo, Huma Qureshi, Garret Dillahunt
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.