There is something special about summer films, when you can go into a cinema and watch blockbusters in all categories, have your popcorn and feel the summer vibe on screen. I have especially seen a lot of summer blockbusters in cinema since the early 90´s. Back then i used to go to the cinema at least 3 weekends every month. It was a bit cheaper to go watch films in cinema then, compared to today, and i had enough money saved from working summer jobs. Let´s give you a perfect example of a great year, when summer releases delivered a lot of great films. In the summer of 1993 i watched Hot Shots! 2, Cliffhanger, The Fugitive, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, The Vanishing, Army Of Darkness, Falling Down, Sniper, and many more titles in cinema. Every summer i always visit the cinema ( except for last year ), since i love seeing the latest films on a big screen. And there was especially one summer release that i will never forget, back in 2004. It was a film that a lot of people were curious to see, but was not sure if it would be good. And that was director Zack Snyder´s remake of George A. Romero´s cult zombie film Dawn Of The Dead. Considering how many people who love the original film from 1978, it seemed impossible to make a remake that fans of George A. Romero would approve. But all the people who doubted director Zack Snyder, would soon find out that he actually made one of the best horror remakes ever. The 2004 film version of Dawn Of The Dead, is not only one of my favourite zombie films, but maybe the best in this genre for the last 17 years. The plot is pretty similar to the original film ( with a few changes made ), but it is the action in this film that is so much fun to watch. Lots of violence, lots of gory attacks, and the zombies looks really good. With a great cast included, Dawn Of The Dead is a must see for zombie fans. Director Zack Snyder have continued to make great films, and as you probably know he released his version of Justice League this spring, worth checking out. When i found out that director Zack Snyder returned into the zombie genre with his latest film Army Of The Dead, i was very happy to hear the news. And now Netflix released the film just a few weeks ago, i finally got a chance to see this film. Is this the best zombie film since the 2004 version of Dawn Of The Dead, or have Zack lost his way with Army Of The Dead ?
A United States military convoy travelling from Area 51 collides with a car on the highway outside Las Vegas. The covoy´s cargo, a zombie, escapes, killing and infecting before heading into the city. Most of the population in Las Vegas become infected, and after a military intervation fails, the government quarantine the city. Casino owner Bly Tanaka ( Hiroyuki Sanada ) and his associate Martin ( Garrett Dillahunt ) approach former mercenary Scott Ward ( Dave Bautista ) about a job to recover 200 million dollars, from his casino vault in Vegas before the military deploys a tactical nuclear strike on the city. Scott needs to put together a team who can pull this mission off.
If you are a big fan of Zack Snyder´s film version of Dawn Of The Dead, i do believe you will find yourself having a good time with Army Of The Dead. This is definetely a film that is made for fans of the zombie genre, and there is plenty to be happy about. Let´s begin with the most positive details of this film. The zombie makeup looks absolutely gorgeous, compared to a lot of zombie film releases in the last 7 years. You can tell that they really took the time to make an effort to make the zombies look cool, and we do get some different zombie versions ( not giving away any big spoilers ), who definetely fit in with the lifestyle of Las Vegas. Especially the zombie leader Zeus ( played by actor Richard Cetrone, who some of you might remember from the Underworld franchise with Kate Beckinsale ). The thing about Zeus is that he is can actually make decisions that makes sense, compared to other zombies. He can also control them as well, and this is definetely something we don´t see very often in zombie films, that one specific leader controls the horde. Richard Cetrone definetely deliver a performance that works well with the zombie character. Retired professional wrestler Dave Bautista knows how to work well in action scenes, and he does this in Army Of The Dead. It is more his dialogue scenes that works less good, simply because he is better at delivering action than acting. I especially enjoy the performances of actors Nora Arnezeder ( who did a really good performance in the 2012 remake of Maniac ) and Ana De La Reguera ( who plays Vida in one of my favourite comedy TV series Eastbound & Down ). So what else does Army Of The Dead offer? This is pretty much a film that does not rely on a strong story, but focuses more on being entertaining, and i think this is actually a good idea for a film like this. My biggest issue with this film is the length. 2 hours and 30 minutes is a long time for a zombie film, and you need a lot of good scenes to work, to match with this playtime. There are a few dialogue scenes that feels drawn out, but overall i had a good time with Army Of The Dead. Not as good as the 2004 remake Dawn Of The Dead, but still a fun ride. Director Zack Snyder could be the new zombie king in the future, if he continue on this path. He knows how to make zombie films, and deliver some new surprises, in a genre that needs to take some risks. I hope he have another film planned, that might be even more brutal than this one. How about an apocalyptic zombie lockdown in Stockholm, and seeing zombies with Swedish folk dresses and viking armour? I think that could be the masterpiece we all have been waiting for.