Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★½

Never have I seen utter disdain for our fellow man as I have witnessed in Army of the Dead. Never have I watched such a spurning for the collective experiences, tragedies, and bonds that we call the human experience, but through the eyes of Zach Snyder, humans are seen as pitiable and foolish, lacking any sort of redeeming qualities. From the onset, the very zombie apocalypse that brings down the entirety of a major city comes from reckless, hedonistic lovers, somehow capable of releasing an indestructible force from an army convoy powerless to stop a single, careening car. In this world, no sort of collaborative effort, not even that of the macho military, is valuable. It is only those who look out for themselves and use others solely to get ahead that make it out on top. It’s weird then that they keep letting Snyder make team-up movies and that suckers like us keep watching them.

During the entire nearly two and a half hour runtime. I cannot recall a single moment of enjoyment. For a movie about a zombie takeover of Vegas, there’s no fun at all to be had. With no Vegas flair and with the story dragging its feet to even get to any action, it was bad enough, only to then be bombarded with sad moment after sad moment. Why is a movie with such a premise of dumb enjoyment trying to make political comparisons from needless suffering? And some dangerously xenophobic political points too by the time the end finally comes around. It takes itself so seriously that it ends up, intentionally or not, mocking any sort of struggle, especially when every single effort of this team fails, no matter how heroic or sacrificial they are. Like a bad case of “””subverting expectations”””, no actual story progresses in this film, and much like the movie itself, everything comes crashing down in a fiery blaze.

As stagnant and blurry as a polluted, standing puddle, Army of the Dead is miserable in practically every way: the unclear, hazy backgrounds, the bad CGI insertions, and lifeless intercut group sequences make every moment an unpleasant ordeal. There’s only one point of pride that Snyder ever seems to take in this big-budget student project, and it’s the wealthy businessman contracting out mercenaries to do his bidding like something out of a libertarian paradise. It’s clear that Snyder only prides people who can fight for themselves out of sheer selfish interests. Even the protagonists--masculine specimens no one would call weak wills--are deemed losers for having emotional baggage and taking up this task spurred on by their death wishes. They are outerly distinct, but in terms of inner lives and defining personalities, they are as bland as the zombies that infest this story. In any other hands, it would be a sign of bad writing, but from the mind of Zach Snyder, there's no doubt there was no concern at all for them as individuals and, like how he views humans as a whole, solely needs them for exploitation.