Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★★

A zombie outbreak has caused Las Vegas to be walled off and quarantined. Former soldier turned chef 'Scott Ward' (Bautista) is approached by casino owner 'Tanaka' (Sanada) with a proposition to retrieve $200m from a vault, before the government nukes the city in a bid to quell the outbreak. Ward accepts the offer, assembles a ragtag group of specialists and head into action.

Playful horror / action / heist. Echoing 'Aliens', 'Ocean's Eleven', 'Terminator 2', 'Escape from New York'. Ambitious, comedic, gory, daft, chaotic and stylish. Though messy, bloated (a wider plot to harness the intelligent 'Alpha' zombies seems unnecessary) and frequently dry. A breezy opening act loses some momentum and veers into distraction. Really feels like an homage / throwback to the 90's Bruckheimer films - in its grandiose, high-concept, popcorn spectacle. Bautista is impressive in the central role, mixing physical action chops with surprising dramatic range. The heist quest ultimately takes a backseat - with the essence of the story concerning survival in the presence of an underestimated enemy and sudden extraction. A visually stylish film, the use of shallow focus places the attention directly upon its subject - though its a bit showy, and makes action scenes with pace and movement almost incomprehensible. A fun, grandiose, wholly unsubtle affair with reconciliation at its core. Expect sequels.

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