Army of the Dead (R21)
Starring Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana De La Reguera, Omari Hardwick,
Directed by Zack Snyder
Following his falling out (subsequent entente?) with Warner Bros over Justice League, Zack Snyder defected over to Netflix where he was given carte blanche to make his comeback — the return to the zombie genre 17 years after his Dawn of the Dead remake. The resulting mojo-recharger: a Vegas-set heist flick not unlike last year’s Train to Busan: Peninsula: it entails an Escape from New York-ish set-up (Dave Bautista leads a motley crew —Tig Notaro and Matthias Schweighöfer deserve special mention for providing levity — into an infected Sin City to recover US$200 million from a casino vault); plenty of ghastly imagery (an effing zombie tiger!); and a focus on carnage-fuelled mayhem (the s*** hits the fan and pretty much everywhere else in the third act). The difference? Snyder’s is pumped on anabolic steroids. Army it isn’t as pacy and tight as Dawn, but it still rocks for its sheer cinematic verve (best witnessed on the biggest possible screen). Snyder had a lot of pent-up energy and obviously had a blast exercising his newfound freedom (as will fans looking out for Easter eggs and pop culture references), but as the movie progresses, it also becomes clear that his idea of fun isn’t always the same as ours. (3/5 stars) On Netflix
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