Army of the Dead (2021)
May 23, 2021 2:26 PM - Subscribe

Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.
posted by ruben (48 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Think I enjoyed the Pitch Meeting video more than the film. Except it doesn't have Tig.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:47 PM on May 23 [9 favorites]


I noped out about 30 minutes in, I think. Looking at the plot synopsis, I'm glad I did. I like all the actors involved - a lot - but the script just didn't work for me.
posted by Mogur at 3:33 PM on May 23


Snyder needs someone to follow him around and whisper in his ear: "Your viewers are mortal. They do not have time to sit through 2.5 hours of your self-indulgent dreck".

There were plenty of good things in this movie, and if the creators had been willing to cut the movie down to 90 minutes this could have been a dumb, fast, and fun romp. As is though the good parts are swamped by the annoying parts, and the slow pacing gives viewers plenty of time to mull over the many plot holes and problems with the script. Tentative first cuts: drop 20 minutes of the alpha-zombies screeching, drop 80% of the rapey-border guard, and drop the entire rescue-the-sister's-associate-and-her-kids sub-plot. Bam! A decent movie.
posted by Balna Watya at 4:08 PM on May 23 [15 favorites]


I enjoyed it soley as a brainless fun movie (those opening credits established as to how Vegas fell was *chef's kiss*) but I would have taken less of the broad emotional beats and infuriating side quests to have a faster paced movie. I enjoy Dave Bautista as a sensitive giant man and Tig Notaro reminded me that a woman's sexuality is a moving target, which I did not expect.
posted by Kitteh at 4:17 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Yep: this is completely mindless zombie fun, requiring the viewer to turn off their brains to enjoy almost any of it.

Oddly, I did enjoy the movie's blend of dysfunction, greed, nihilism and futility: from the jump (the team members being recruited with steadily decreasing cuts from the expected windfall) everyone goes in desperate, mutually suspicious, halfway expecting to die, and entirely willing to turn on each other in an instant. Wages of Fear with zombies.

I also really liked Dave Bautista's little moments with his reading glasses: his character is old and way past this, and knows it.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 4:22 PM on May 23 [5 favorites]


The problem with too much nihilism, though, is that when the characters don't really care, it's a supertough buy-in for viewers to care on their behalf. Like, if you have a movie where everyone dies one by one and you have one nihilistic character, it often works because the viewer is willing to step up for a single character out of a natural kind of good faith and humanity -- you're watching and you say, oh that poor nihilistic character thought they had nothing to lose and their death makes it clear that they had EVERYTHING to lose, and that's really touching! That makes for a pretty poignant moment. Which is great. I'm all for it.

But here nearly every character is a nihilist: Tig Notaro's character sets the tone for that by saying it doesn't matter if she dies, and then no one else seriously negotiates for more money or hesitates in any meaningful way. They all half-expect to die, as mentioned above, but no one half-expects to live. They're all written as fodder, so when they inevitably become fodder, you as a viewer honestly don't care.

And this is how Snyder fails every character on the crew. There's more convincing characterization for the alpha and his fantastically creepy zombie fetus (by the way, if it's a zombie fetus then would it really need a living mother?) than there is for most of the team. And sure, he pretty much took a Sharpie and scribbled a characterization note across each of their foreheads: FUNNY MERCENARY PILOT. TOUGH FIGHTER LADY. UNEXPECTED PHILOSOPHER. SUDDENLY REVEALED ROMANTIC INTEREST WHO DIES INSTANTLY. ETC.

But if the writing doesn't commit to it, and clearly it's already competing with a lot of other things going on, then this kind of movie ends up as just a lot of confusing noise with a few hacky bits of dialogue that feel tacked on. I kind of wish he'd just gone for full nihilism, where everyone gets mowed down in increasingly distressing and expensively produced ways, leaving one unapologetic survivor.

Anyway, this is my very first Zack Snyder film and to be fair I wasn't expecting much, but I was expecting more. The zombie tiger was great, the intro sequence was fantastic and I loved the parachute guy's last desperate moment, I also liked the zombie horse, I wish they'd done something with the reconstituted zombies because that sounds rad. I could have done without Sean Spicer or the awful use of the slow rendition of Zombie, but the quote about the president thinking that nuking Vegas on July 4 was super patriotic made me laugh in a real and unexpected way. I don't get why the Coyote sacrificed herself for, like, no reason. Do you?
posted by mochapickle at 6:23 PM on May 23 [4 favorites]


This movie could have and should have been 2 hours of brainless, raucous fun. Instead Snyder decided it would be “cool” to wrap up the last 30 minutes of his big, rollicking zombie casino heist movie by killing off every sympathetic character (and no—I don’t count Bautista’s stupidly-written plot mechanism of a daughter as sympathetic) with one exception—a guy who survives a nuclear blast—only to end with the “twist” that, no, he was actually turned into some kind of super zombie and now the whole world will be Totally Fucked, man!

I don't get why the Coyote sacrificed herself for, like, no reason.

Yup. Also, why did she throw the Zombie queen’s head off the roof? Coyote was the one person who understood and even respected the queen and her band of fast, smart zombies. If she had done it out of self-defense or to save the mission, that would be one thing. But she knew she was already toast. At that point, chucking the queen’s head to splatter on the pavement below just seemed like sour grapes.
posted by Atom Eyes at 7:05 PM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Well, my momentary theory re: Coyote for about ten seconds was that the alpha would bite her (he gets real close) and she would be the new queen? Like, by destroying the old queen she by merit becomes the new one. But then if that was where they were headed with that, it was quickly abandoned...
posted by mochapickle at 7:23 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Very disappointing movie, particularly because Snyder already made a great zombie movie that is far more exciting, smarter, emotionally affecting, funny, infinitely better acted, better plotted, and only 1h40m long. I guess James Gunn should get credit for a lot of that.

Obviously projecting - and I feel uncomfortable/mean doing so - but given the circumstances I'd be surprised if the parent stuff didn't mean a lot to Snyder, but it's all garbage nonsense that drags the movie down.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:45 PM on May 23 [3 favorites]


Tig Notaro's character sets the tone for that by saying it doesn't matter if she dies,

In her introductory scene, she's smoking a tip next to a fuel truck, right under the no-smoking sign. She also smokes while fueling up the chopper.
posted by mikelieman at 12:23 AM on May 24


It's very enjoyable at 1.25 speed while puzzling through the Tig Notaro VFX details. Dave Bautista just about managed to carry this movie but absolutely agree with all the points above about the politics, the morality, the length .
posted by cendawanita at 2:04 AM on May 24


Yup. Also, why did she throw the Zombie queen’s head off the roof?

Perhaps she was a little put out about the giant spike the Zombie king had thrown through her?

I thought this went along fairly well, I agree with the comments about length, totally unnecessary.
Romantic interest getting her head turned was pretty funny but overall the film makes me think that Snyder is just basically nihilistic.

There was also a fair amount of derivativeness worn pretty openly, borrowing on both better and worse films. Has Snyder seen the Resident Evil film that was set in Vegas? For sure.
posted by biffa at 3:44 AM on May 24


This is a film where it seems like *everyone* is carrying the 'idiot ball', filmmakers most of all.

What fucking Gomer Pyle bullshit outfit were these pathetic attempts at soldiers from? If you are transporting cargo like that why would you not have, oh, I don't know, AIR SUPPORT? Why are there not more radios among our heist group? Why is it the zombies hibernate and you have to worry about waking them but you can shriek next to them and it doesn't wake them up? Why doesn't anyone shoot themselves when faced with zombie doom or at least try to leave a bullet or two for that purpose? Why doesn't anyone SHUT ANY GOD DAMNED DOORS when fleeing pursuit? Why would a previously-normal sort of Las Vegas casino have a vault that permanently locks when a hung over cash crew fuck up the combo a couple of times after a hell of a weekend, not to mention such an impressively OSHA-violating approach path to it? Why nuke Las Vegas instead of just have a few weeks of 24/7 napalm drops and shelling with conventional munitions? If it's been years since Las Vegas was walled off, how is every battery still charged and every piece of rubber not yet devolved to dust? All this to get a fucking zombie head? Like, there was a whole fucking ZOMBIE WAR according to background TV, so you'd think that not-yet-destroyed zombie heads would've been pretty thick on the ground there for a while.

I was disappointed that after the comment about the dehydrated zombies near the container wall and rain that we didn't actually get Chekhov's rainstorm and rehydrated zombies. The Coyote was cool and I understand she probably had to die because she'd been making deals with the devil, but I kinda wanted the zombie king to pull his spear when he went after the helicopter and she somehow makes her way out as an ultimate survivor type.

Olympus totally works as a casino name, but it looked like our main target casino had two towers labeled the Sodom and Gomorrah towers and I really don't think that one would've passed market testing.

Tig, though, was as fun as I hoped. More action movies should replace the sassy sidekick dude with Tig Notaro.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:59 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]


Why nuke Las Vegas instead of just have a few weeks of 24/7 napalm drops and shelling with conventional munitions?

I thought the Trump parody was one of the few effective bits.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:16 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Was hoping for more; was hoping for some new twist/wrinkle on zombie films. But when a zombie film is ripping off lines from Aliens, maybe it is time to nuke the genre from orbit, just to be sure.
posted by nubs at 7:21 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


Tig, though, was as fun as I hoped. More action movies should replace the sassy sidekick dude with Tig Notaro.

OMG yes. That would be fantastic!
posted by mochapickle at 7:45 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]


I knew nothing about this going in, and really only watched it because Netflix served it to me while I was pretty stoned and unable to resist.

I thought the first 30 minutes or so were really great, just thoroughly enjoyable schlock that veered almost into Verhoevenesque wryness. Tig Notaro -- when I say that I knew nothing, I mean even that she was a replacement -- was a real delight in the gathering-the-troops scenes, during which she somehow displayed great chemistry with actors with whom she was somehow not actually working!

And Batista's reading glasses! Literally the star of the show. Whoever thought to give him reading glasses on a lanyard that he repeatedly employs? That person is the real hero of this story.

But then. Oh, but then. The rest of the movie is dumb-as-shit without any of the redeeming qualities of the first act. Give us anything! The alpha zombies are smart, great! Can we do something with that? Make them sympathetic? Nope. No payoff. The company man is, as expected, a snake! Any payoff there? Not really, even his death isn't particularly satisfying, especially amid the senseless winnowing of the rest of the crew (for whom, likewise, there is little sympathy built).

They're all written as fodder, so when they inevitably become fodder, you as a viewer honestly don't care.

Yup. What's the point of any of this?

I would absolutely watch the first act of this film a few more times, though.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:54 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


I was conflicted. It had potential - but sooo many potholes and silly things that went nowhere - Snyder on his own is the epitome of cool visual elements with no substance unfortunately.

Chekhov's rainstorm and rehydrated zombies

... and Chekhov's zombie slicing saw... and zombie robots ... and... did they not leave the doors of their "secret passage" wide open? (none of these "smart zombies" were watching?) and... "turning ratios" - fast when it the plot requires, hours and hours/days when it requires otherwise? (how long does it take to wander out of a very hot "zone", then drive from Vegas to Utah? - awhile, I have done it - well - the driving anyways)

iamkimian's link above truly sums up the nonsense.

I wanted fun - I expected nearly everyone would die - but, ended-up FFW through scenes towards the end. Twas another "Sucker Punch", alot of sound and beautiful visual fury signifying... what exactly?...
posted by rozcakj at 8:58 AM on May 24


Yeah, I mean I thought it was OK all around, I'd almost enjoy watching a whole movie out of the intro credits, the zombies overrunning Vegas and the flight to out before the city is walled in. But the actual heist part of the movie? Just switch off your brain, because it doesn't bear to think about it:

1) Ok chief, insurance has paid out for the loss of the money in the vault, good, great, so now you're double dipping by recovering that money? Sure, sure. The impression I got was that that was his casino and his vault, so maybe just maybe give your heist dudes the fucking combination to your vault? Just maybe?

2) I mean if you know what your rescue chopper is like a Bell 212? Ok, they can carry more passengers than I thought, up to 15, but if your vault is full of cash (and apparently uncut sheets? not even all bricks or bouillon!) and your dudes gotta carry pallet-loads from the basement up to the 3rd floor? Sh'yeah, deffo idiot ball time. (yeah yeah you could argue that Tanaka didn't expect anyone other than the pilot and Martin to escape with the alpha brain, but Ward, Cruz and Van shoulda maybe thought to ask?)

3) And right, if alpha brains are the goal, presumably there have been maaaany opportunities between when Vegas fell and the president nuking it like _years_ later apparently? (another thing I guess I missed - I got the impression that vegas fell over the course of a week or so and somehow they made a shipping container wall incredibly quickly to prevent an outbreak and they went from "vegas fell" to "I guess we're nuking vegas now" in another couple of weeks, but.. no?)

4) I really sorta wanted the "you should see what happens to these desiccated shamblers when it rains" line to pay off. Even if rain wasn't an option in Vegas, maybe a water line coulda broke, I dunno. Make it work out.

5) I get the mashup of heist film and zombie film, sure, but other than Dude Safecracker, none of the guys they recruited was a candidate for a "heist" film, and the actual heist part of the movie was pretty disappointing. I mean, I think it could be done, but I don't think they really accomplished it here.

*sigh* There's dumb and then there's 2.5 hours of idiot ball. Trim an hour off of it and it's good stupid popcorn movie, but 2.5 hours with all that downtime? Ugh. The tense scenes weren't really tense, so we didn't need time to recover, y'know?
posted by Kyol at 9:09 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


I'm at 38min in and I'll probably not nope out, but I've got it paused while I marvel at the dumbness of 'the plan'. They only get one helicopter? And it's got to carry the money, but it's not big enough for people and money? And they aren't flying in and landing on the roof of the casino? Also Tig looks like a force ghost.
posted by Catblack at 9:19 AM on May 24


Shoot, to #2, so gold is more or less $60,845 per kilo, so $200,000,000 worth of gold is ~3287 kilos. That's a pretty heavy load, my guys. Cash money is $100,000/kg (with $100 bills at 1g/bill), which helps bring it down to 2000kg. The heist was intended to be carried out by what, 8 people? (Ward, Cruz, Van, Dieter, Lilly, Martin, Guzman, Chambers - Kate, Burt and Peters aren't included because Ward didn't intend to bring his daughter, Burt was only ever bait, and Peters was busy preparing the helicopter.) So either that's 410kg/person from the vault to the helipad or 250kg/person. While I could imagine Bautista carrying 250kg, can you imagine Dieter carrying more than 30kg for any distance?

Think, people! Think!

Also thinking about this reminded me of the whole scene where they sawed through the wall after Martin locked the grating behind him. So, they couldn't just cut through the grate? Maybe the demo saw isn't designed for overhead use? And why did Kate screw around with the skeletonized zombie arm when she went up to the grate? We need the 6 hour Director's cut, apparently?
posted by Kyol at 10:14 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


So many movies ignore that money is actual physical stuff with mass and that takes up volume. We kept joking about the carry capacity of the helicopter as the film went on. (One of the things I really liked about Widows was that it actually covered the "cash weighs a lot" issue in heist prep.)
posted by rmd1023 at 10:30 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


I am just DYING for a mash-up of Under a Rock with Tig Notaro as sassy sidekick who has to guess which celebrities she just did a film with remotely.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:36 AM on May 24 [6 favorites]


50 minutes in, have to pause it to comment -- they sneak into Vegas and leave the door open behind them???
1hr 8 min and 15 seconds, Wilhelm scream!
Still watching, but wondering why no one thought to wear long sleeves. Oh wait, this is all set in early July. I hitchhiked my way out of Vegas on July 4th once. I got stuck on the long rise up between the city and the Hoover dam and that was terribly hot by mid-day. It was already a city I never enjoyed, but that time was the worst.
posted by Catblack at 10:48 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


I thought the Trump parody was one of the few effective bits.

This was hugely discussed in my house, since my strong feeling is that they waited too long to drop the bombs. I guess this is me at my most American, but when you have a city populated exclusively by zombies, the best time to destroy it is immediately. The second best time is next week -- maybe after you've rushed through some required environmental impact studies? The US would bomb Zombie Vegas right away, especially if we were trying to coverup that our military was responsible for the whole thing. The counterargument (someone else made to me) is that Trump would absolutely wait an extra six months and endanger the planet to have his "patriotic" 4th of July special, so, yeah, checks out.

I'm not much of a Zach Snyder person, but I didn't hate it. The worst part is that Dave Bautista and his emoji-faced daughter got Tig Notaro killed, but she probably would've ended up dying in the global zombie contagion they unleashed at the end of the film anyway. I'm kind of okay with everybody dying, too, since "go into city teeming with zombies" is the sort of idea that shouldn't pan out for anyone. (Whew, now I'm seeing why you guys complained about the nihilism.)

Things I genuinely enjoyed: Zombie Vegas (very much like the gloriously tasteless beginning of Zombieland), the way Bautista's offers got cheaper with every member he added to the team, the team member that quit as soon as he heard the plan because the "plan" was crazy. Things I will only enjoy if they come back: alternate timelines (zombie cinematic universe?), rain zombies (ran out of budget?).
posted by grandiloquiet at 11:07 AM on May 24


And and AND yeah 100% wait that convoy didn't have immediate air cover, maybe a couple of AH-64s? Or just shove Barry the Alpha Zombie's freight container up the rear end of an Osprey and avoid the roads entirely? No, no, a flatbed, a couple of humvees and an MRAP? Seems legit, sure, send it!

*sigh*
posted by Kyol at 11:40 AM on May 24


I mean I'm just thinking of the court martial of the poor bastard officer who signed off on that convoy that ended up with the loss of *checks notes* Las Vegas, really. Is this really the time to go all Army of One?
posted by Kyol at 11:44 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


So many movies ignore that money is actual physical stuff with mass and that takes up volume.

Probably the only interesting plot point of the waste-of-a-solid-cast Triple Frontier, too.
posted by Pryde at 12:51 PM on May 24


So apparently there's more - Zack Snyder has an ‘insane’ idea for Army of the Dead 2

Mentioned in the article is a coming soon animated prequel to Army of the Dead, Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas. Now, as others here have mentioned, the opening credits might be the most interesting bit - why not just do that movie? Maybe this is a rare story which starts too late, instead of too early.

But the article is more focused on the obvious sequel bait the film sets up. And lots of Snyder being "clever" with world-building Easter eggs, including comments such as:

-did we catch the robot zombies?
-the container in the opening sequence was marked to be shipped to Iran. What's up with that?
-what was up with the corpses near the vault dressed like the crew?

Yeah. I'm just done; I enjoyed Snyder's remake of Dawn of the Dead, but he's one of those guys who thinks more is always better - more of everything!
posted by nubs at 1:27 PM on May 24


"Why nuke Las Vegas instead of just have a few weeks of 24/7 napalm drops and shelling with conventional munitions?"

I'll give Snyder a minor pass on this. One of the things we learned in World War 1 was that it's surprisingly hard to kill *everybody* with conventional shelling. One side or the other would lob enough shells to turn whole swathes of France into a damned moonscape, they'd send their troops over the top - and the other side would promptly begin machine-gunning them. Granted, zombies aren't going to deliberately dig trenches (well, maybe the alphas will). But even the brainless zombies are going to find themselves in places that are naturally somewhat protected from artillery and napalm (ditches between two fallen buildings, basements, etc). And zombies are going to survive shrapnel injuries that would kill a human. So from that perspective, I can see the logic of using a nuke.

That being said ... a lot of the objections to conventional weapons also apply to the "low yield" nuke (as described in the movie) that they plan to drop on Zombie Vegas. Sure, anything actually inside the fireball is done, but it's far from clear to me that all the zombies *outside* that fireball would be killed. Burn, crush, and radiation injuries that would keep a human won't necessarily kill a zombie, after all.

There's another problem with conventional *or* nuclear strikes: What if you leave zombies alive, but damage the Zombie Containment Wall? Now, you've got a whole new problem, especially since we know from the opening credits that this zombie plague can spread very rapidly from even a single zombie.

Honestly, the more prudent approach would seem to be slow, painstaking sweep-and-clear efforts. Wall off one block of Vegas, drop in loads of troops, and shoot every zombie in that block in the head. Continue until every block is cleared. It's slow, and you'll probably lose troops no matter how careful you are - but you don't risk the outer wall, and you can actually verify your progress towards zombie eradication (which is harder to do if the city is a radioactive wasteland).
posted by Mr. Excellent at 2:16 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]


I was sort of interested until Sean Spicer appeared for five seconds. Apparently that's all it takes for me to immediately bail on a movie.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 2:20 PM on May 24 [3 favorites]


I watched this while also playing video games at the same time and with that amount of attention it was enjoyable. A heist movie set with a zombie backdrop.

I also really enjoyed the opening credits, its what sold me on the whole movie.

What I also really liked was the consistent headshots, even with handguns and automatic weapons. Other than the opener, no scenes of people unloading an automatic weapon into the torsos of zombies, instead they aimed the automatic weapon at head level! I love a zombie movie where the people fighting the zombies are competent (I thought this movie took place a few years later, where there would be people who are incredibly good/trained at killing zombies). Everyone who agreed to this heist would have won Most Professional in 007 and thats what I expect from these kinds of movies.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:54 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]


I've enjoyed a lot of very dumb movies over the quarantine period but apparently this was where I draw the line. I do think that if it was an hour shorter it could be a pretty fun film, but that extra time just adds in more time for you to think about how dumb everything is.
posted by graventy at 8:13 AM on May 25


Okay, so I was deep in an afternoon nap and I think I answered two of the very important questions I had:

Q. Why did Lilly/Coyote practically volunteer to be left behind/sacrificed?
A. There was that whole conversation with the corporate guy before they killed the queen, all about how she's left a bunch of people behind but she mostly just left the people who deserved it. In the end, Lilly is apparently guilty because she left people behind (and maybe also because of the side-deal she made with the corporate guy?) and therefore in the sideways ethos of this particular movie, she deserves to be left.

Q. Why did Vanderohe survive the nuclear fallout?
A. Vanderohe was borne of the zombies and the fallout, so now according to movie logic he's the new alpha AND he's immune to nuclear. So that means he's effectively indestructible and now they're going to need something bigger than a nuke to take down this new alpha generation.

So yeah. Anyway, I was 3/4 asleep. I literally had to lose consciousness to make sense of this movie.
posted by mochapickle at 3:25 PM on May 25 [1 favorite]


I love a zombie movie where the people fighting the zombies are competent

And yet it also made them look really, really stupid because they kept trying to headshot the Alpha Guy despite it clearly not working and them obviously having the marksmanship to blow his legs and arms off.

Ghah this movie is still pissing me off.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:04 PM on May 25 [1 favorite]


If this is still pissing you off, you might try Boss Level instead.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:51 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]


I liked this just fine as a mindless zombie-romp and am glad the zombies won in the end.
posted by Pendragon at 6:45 AM on May 26 [1 favorite]


I've not seen it, but I thought I'd check to see what people thought after watching the Red Letter Media review. Two ideas:
  1. Since they already have Tig Notaro on greenscreen, they could simply replace everything else or...
  2. Build the next movie around exactly the same performance by Tig Notaro.

posted by Grangousier at 11:14 AM on May 26 [4 favorites]


If this is still pissing you off, you might try Boss Level instead.

Somehow this got a March release date in the UK but isn't on Netflix or Prime. I'm a sucker for a GD type film and am keen to see it.
posted by biffa at 12:15 PM on May 26


I also really enjoyed the opening credits, its what sold me on the whole movie.

Like Wonder Woman '84, there's a really good 90 minute film in Army of the Dead, but sadly you need to sit trough the 60 minutes that's "NOT really good". Ditch one or two of the sub-plots, I suggest Theo Rossi, and perhaps the entire refugee camp.
posted by mikelieman at 6:18 PM on May 26


Tig Notaro was in a slightly different and better movie than everyone else, one where the script had a sense of irony.

This wasn't the least enjoyable dumb movie I've ever seen - there were a lot of great visuals and I did enjoy a lot of the little character notes - but it would have been vastly improved by simply overdubbing the whole thing with a script that didn't suck. And possibly a bunch of selective cutting - the whole refugee plotline does nothing and goes nowhere. Does Gita actually survive? Does she just... fall out of the helicopter during that final fight, or what? Did her kids get evacuated? Did the camp get evacuated? It was unclear to me.

Also yeah, the weight and volume (especially volume, for this plan) of $200 million dollars in bills makes the heist impossible on its face, even without the zombies, but hey, at least that's a heist movie problem instead of a zombie movie problem. Some variety in the flavor of stupidity keeps things interesting.

I really wish this movie had been written by someone who understood how plot works. And dialogue. And, you know, physics. But I'll add it to the list of movies that are pretty fun to have muted in the background.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:45 AM on May 30 [2 favorites]


he whole refugee plotline does nothing and goes nowhere. Does Gita actually survive? Does she just... fall out of the helicopter during that final fight, or what? Did her kids get evacuated? Did the camp get evacuated? It was unclear to me.

Ok, I'm glad it's not just me wondering about Gita...she was in the helicopter, then there was the fight, and after the crash it's apparently just Dave and his daughter. He does tell her to use the money he grabbed to get the kids (Gita's, I think) safe. So where did Gita go? Did we sit through the entire rescue effort only to have Gita fall out of the chopper? Do we need to start a #justiceforGita hashtag?

I can say with some confidence that the refugee camp was evacuated - the helicopter flies over/through it shortly before it crashes, and no one is there.

I'm beginning to think that the best thing to be done with this movie is to take the moment where they discover the bodies dressed like some of the crew outside of the safe seriously: this is some kind of fucked up timeloop/alternate reality thing where Tanaka keeps restarting the loop and putting together slightly different crews & efforts each time in an attempt to crack the vault. It could make for an interesting mini-series, where we watch slight variations on the attempt, with the crew becoming slowly more aware each time that Tanaka is the real villain.
posted by nubs at 12:32 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]


I, too, watched because of the opening credits. And also because I suddenly remembered it was gonna be the new Tig thing. I was like, "This is amazing! This whole mess of plot that would usually take up two or three tedious action movies is presented here clean and quick and perfect in like five minutes! How can the movie possibly top this?" And then I learned that the movie could not even approach the quality of the opening credits and pretty much was terrifically bad on purpose just to have fun at my expense.

I, too, wondered why the army would let a convoy full of world-ending biological weapons share the same road with drunk road head enthusiasts, but that was so early on I was willing to forgive.

So the part where they rank everybody in order of uselessness and they determine the company man is the least useful? Reasonable and sensible. Tanaka by contrast: Not at all reasonable or sensible. Given he only cares about two people on the team, namely his guy on the inside who's going to cut the zombie head off the zombie body and the person in charge of transport so that he can make sure the head gets to him, why would Tanaka not want to choose his own transport person? Let's say it worked out the way Tanaka was thinking and the sole survivors were the company man and Tig. What's Tig going to do when the people who hired her all get killed and the guy nobody trusts shows up with no money and a pissed off zombie head champing in a bag? Leave is what.

I watched this movie while finishing up and frosting a brown butter carrot cake from the Serious Eats site. It meant that I kept pausing it for long stretches and coming back to it. Too-long ridiculous horseshit like this is the best kind of thing to watch when you have stuff to get done. It ruins a good movie to stop in the middle and wander off for an hour. But this thing! Perfect for cake.

The zombie animals were fabulous. I loved them, and the human zombies were pretty great, too. I loved that all those talented dancers and gymnasts got fun zombie roles and I loved watching them leaping and twirling.

The thing that offended me most--well, no, that was Sean Spicer. The secondmost offensive thing in this movie was the liberties it took with zombie science.
1. No smart zombies! Vampires can be smart; zombies must be mindless automatons.
2. I understand that in contemporary horror movies the monsters all have to make a supremely irritating metal-on-metal shriek noise. But the irritating shrieking the zombies were doing in this movie was clearly communicative for the smart fast good-dancer zombies. Why not just speak English like you did in life? Why invent shrieksperanto? Inefficient.
3. This last thing has lowkey bothered me in all zombie movies, not just this one, but this movie really brought it top of mind. So the zombie tiger is so rotted, it's vertebrae are visible in many places because the muscles of its back have decayed. But its rotted muscles seem to work better than they did in life. If rotted, shredded, largely missing muscle still works top notch and lets a zombie be all crouching tiger hidden dragon all over the set then why is zombie brain tissue so vulnerable? If a zombie tiger with no backstrap can jump and frolic, then why would a single bullethole shut down a zombie's brain?
posted by Don Pepino at 4:14 PM on May 30 [3 favorites]


The opening credit sequence is the best screen adaptation of World War Z that I've seen yet. Switching to fast, smart zombies after that is rather disappointing.

The heist itself doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but to an extent that can be explained away by it being a smokescreen for the actual heist. But that heist doesn't make a whole lot of sense either, so you're back where you began.

It seemed like Geeta just disappeared once she got on the helicopter, though that's consistent since she disappeared for most of the movie. Not sure if there was other stuff with her that got cut, although honestly they probably should've just cut her sideplot out completely.

Also, the closing song is literally Zombie?
posted by ckape at 9:21 PM on May 30 [3 favorites]


The company man is, as expected, a snake! Any payoff there? Not really, even his death isn't particularly satisfying,

Well, I mean, if you show a zombie tiger in the first act it has to chomp somebody's head in the third act, so we got that at least.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:11 PM on May 31 [4 favorites]


Also, the closing song is literally Zombie?

Snyder: "We'll just use 'Hallelujah' again at the end."

Everyone: "Do you only know the one song? Can't you find something more appropriate?"

Snyder: googles...
posted by biffa at 6:18 AM on June 1 [5 favorites]


I'm beginning to think that the best thing to be done with this movie is to take the moment where they discover the bodies dressed like some of the crew outside of the safe seriously: this is some kind of fucked up timeloop/alternate reality thing where Tanaka keeps restarting the loop and putting together slightly different crews & efforts each time in an attempt to crack the vault. It could make for an interesting mini-series, where we watch slight variations on the attempt, with the crew becoming slowly more aware each time that Tanaka is the real villain.

Person of Interest: If-Then-Else
January 7, 2015 2:33 AM - Season 4, Episode 11
(I'm in tears just thinking about the episode)
posted by mikelieman at 7:01 AM on June 2


I did like the cover versions of all the songs they used. That was a nice way to mix it up. So, the music and the opening scene. I "watched" it while cleaning up and reorganizing things, which is probably the perfect way not to waste time trying to make sense of this (seriously, did no one consider that that much money weighs a lot? also, yeah Paul Reiser did it better in Aliens).
posted by kokaku at 9:23 AM on June 22


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