Things That Bother Me About "Army of the Dead"

  • OldManSanns's Avatar Administrator Azir 1030 916 Posts Joined 08/05/2019
    Posted 3 weeks ago

    So I watched Zack Snyder's zombie movie "Army of the Dead" on Netflix this weekend. It's...fine. Using the significantly low bar of "we already have Netflix so it's free", I don't feel like I wasted my 2 hours 28 minutes watching this movie. And there was some cool world building and assorted nice touches like the tiger and the "time loop" theory. That said, there were A LOT of things that just really bothered me about the movie because they needlessly weaken the overall experience, and I just need to get them off my chest.

    This is definitely a rant post, so if that's not your thing, please back out now and have a nice day. :-) Also: "spoilers", I guess? But realistically everything in this movie is super-predictable, so I don't really consider anything spoiled.

    If Tanaka owns the casino, why didn't he just give them the code to the safe along with an exact description of the countermeasures and instructions how to disable them? I know thematically this is to heighten the suspense, but then you just rewrite him as a mob boss without direct knowledge instead of the owner!

    Why is there the shady double-cross from Martin? If Tanaka and Martin really are strictly-business, then they would appreciate that it was already a high-risk operation and they should be direct with their subordinates to minimize the chances of things going south. 

    Building on that: if Martin doesn't even know about zombie alphas before Coyote tells him, how does he know that's what he's there for? Maybe Tanaka granted him autonomy during the mission, but that just implies they should have approached the group with an offer of ~$10M to investigate and capture the zombies rather than hope Martin can figure something out once he's inside. The whole casino heist was just a needless distraction.

    And why does Martin turn so homicidal? Coyote is the only person that knows he's trying to smuggle the zombie head out of the city, besides which the cast generally seems very unconcerned about the threat of the zombie infection spreading out beyond the walls. He seems so committed to betraying and killing off the team despite it lowering his personal odds of survival, and no reason is ever given.

    When Chambers is dying, why is her final act to tell Guzman "go"? She's a zombie killing bad ass who just saw the man she doesn't trust (Martin) block off her escape route; why isn't she warning the group about him? Or trying to shoot him? If you're worried about "spoiling" Martin's upcoming double-crosses (which again make no sense; see above), you could have it come out garbled because she's fighting off a pack of zombies. Instead, she comes off as a weak-kneed lovestruck little girl in her final scene, which was totally out of character.

    Speaking of spreading the infection: why do we not get any shot of them closing the secret passage into the city?! I presume someone shut the door off-screen, but seriously -- if the entire premise is that Las Vegas has been completely walled-in to prevent zombies from getting out, you'd think we'd get at least a 1 second shot of someone closing the breach that would ruin everything.

    Why does the dialogue make such tight timelines in-universe time for the bombing if they are going to be so much longer in actual runtime? There is no reason to tell the audience "we've only got 10 minutes!" and 20 minutes later the nuke still hasn't arrived. You could make the argument that scenes happen in parallel so things actually happen quicker in-universe, but that just feels like lazy writing. It would be trivial to instead have in-universe be slower than real-time; you could say 30 minutes and still have the same intensity without sacrificing credibility. Plus: it's a nuke! Even if it's a "light tactical nuke", that doesn't mean you can start your escape at T -1 minute and hope to survive.

    Speaking of surviving: so this nuke is so "light" that Vanderohe can survive by just being inside an underground vault? If so: why is there no military effort to sift through the rubble and ensure that no zombies survived? They clearly established that these zombies can survive anything other than destroying their brains, so it seems like a pretty big liability to just assume every single zombie in the city had their head vaporized.

    If Coyote knows the alphas will retaliate for beheading the queen, why do they leave her body in the middle of the street? Why not at least drag it inside a car or into one of the buildings so as to stall the upcoming horde?

    Speaking of Coyote's poor decisions: she suspects Martin's betrayal and her priority is keeping the team alive, so she A.) does the one thing she knows will definitely put the entire team in jeopardy, and B.) does it for no other assurances than said untrustworthy man's word. Why not just tell the team she thinks Martin is going to betray them? Why not just leave him for the zombies -- we've already established she's cold-blooded enough to do what she thinks needs to be done. And if you are so sure that this person is just waiting lying until he can kill everyone off, why do you believe he can ever be trusted?

    If Kate is only concerned with getting Geeta back (conveniently the only 1 of the 3 captured women not die inside the Olympus, BTW), why don't we get any closure on what happens to her? She probably dies in the helicopter crash, but it's just super weird that the last ~45 minutes of the movie are "Operation Save Geeta" and then we don't even get a confirmed death. And it's like Kate goes from valuing Geeta's life more than her own to entirely forgetting about her as soon as her shoes hit the copter.

    And finally -- like the ending, this last one is a bunch of inter-related things jumbled together -- how can Kate be so stupid as to try to infiltrate the zombie base on her own and why is she actually successful? I suppose the official answer is because zombie Zeus marshalled literally every competent zombie besides zombie Cummings and they all rushed passed in such a hurry they didn't notice her hiding in a car, but that is wa-a-a-ay too cute for my taste. She just happened to be hiding at the perfect time? And the captured women didn't notice they were being unguarded and try to leave on their own? And Kate finds them in a casino with dozens of stories and thousands of rooms in less than 10 minutes because again, the dialogue is needlessly tight on time? This is where the film blows any conceivable suspicion of belief: Kate should have been picked off within 120 seconds of leaving the casino, Ward should have been frantically still looking for not-there Kate when the nuke exploded, and Peters should have long ago left with the helicopter and never returned, realizing these idiots were going to get her killed.

    This isn't part of the movie/plot per say, but also: why is this movie so long??? At 148 minutes, it's almost 2.5 hours for an absurdist escapism movie. For reference: Shaun of the Dead is 99 minutes. Train to Busan is 118 minutes. Zombieland is 88 minutes. I Am Legend is 101 minutes. World War Z is 116 minutes. Every Resident Evil movie is between 93 and 106 minutes. It's like Zack Snyder is determined to knock your socks off with a meal so he decides to prepare a 5-course meal, but each course is only so-so with too big a serving so you just leave feeling bloated, wishing he'd focused on making one plate unforgettable instead. For instance: you could cut Martin out entirely -- no betrayals, Chambers get separated due to someone accidentally kicking the glowstick, Queen dies as a result of a bad encounter with the entire team -- and the movie is actually better. Or cut out Geeta & Kate, who frankly felt like they were in an entirely different movie which just overlapped with the heist movie. 

    Like I said: it's not really a bad movie, it just has so many glaring plot holes that detract from the viewing experience so much and I don't know why.

  • dapperdog's Avatar Dragon Scholar 1335 2434 Posts Joined 07/29/2019
    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Yeah, when you give Snyder all the power to do anything without some kind of straight man next to him telling him why it sucks, the film eventually tends to be extremely long, with confusing edits all round.

    I haven't watch this one. But after Man of Steel, Bat v Sups, and justice league I've pretty much got an idea what a Snyder film is. Credit to the man, he's got some vision, even if its littered with oozing junk on a landmine, but a man with a vision is still infinitely preferable to any score of boardroom full of managers focus testing everything according to the latest trends, and who's got access to the family wallet so they can squeeze as much dollars out of it (Yes Disney, that's exactly what you are).

    Go watch his personal justice league cut, which ran an eye watering 4 hours. Now we know why they needed to hire another editor for the original version on film.

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