As I sat in the dark theater, surrounded by empty seats eliminated by use with caution tape, the first ominous tone emanated from the digital audio system. I immediately was aware that I was watching a Zack Snyder movie. With focal points shifting on screen, and the recognizable tones of Elvis’ “Suspicious Minds” played on the classic car stereo on screen, I settled in to enjoy another zombie movie, one of my favorite genres.
What I got, was not just another zombie movie, but an adventure that made me laugh, cringe, and sit on the edge of my seat with anticipation, or was it fear?
Dave Bautista plays the amiable, yet aloof, Scott Ward, and as the protagonist of the story, he filled the role admirably coupled with Ella Prunell, known for Kick-Ass 2, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, playing his estranged daughter.
In Dead, Las Vegas has become a quarantine zone for a zombie outbreak, after an incident in which an infected zombie being transported from Area 51, escapes from it’s military transport. Storied actor, Hiroyuki Sanada, fresh off his post-panedemic success in Mortal Kombat, plays Las Vegas casino owner, Bly Tanaka. Tanaka is looking for a team of mercenaries to enter the quarantined city, and break into his casino’s vault, to recover a $200 million fortune. Basically, a really large insurance scam, as the insurance company has already paid out on the loss. However, the US government in this case, has decided to nuke the city to eliminate the scourge, so time is limited.
Ward (Bautista) assembles a ragtag team of mercs, including a German safecracker (played hilariously by Matthias Schweighöfer), a power saw wielding Omari Hardwick (Kick-Ass, TV’s Power), his daughter, an old military buddy, Maria (Ana de la Reguera), and a refugee camp coyote, Lilly (Nora Arnezeder). Included in this team is a helicopter pilot, Marianne Peters, who is played by Tig Notaro. This role was originally filmed with troubled actor/comedian, Chris D’Elia, but Snyder and the studio made the choice to digitally replace him with Tig. To be honest, the CGI insertion of her role was seamless and extremely well done.
Snyder’s fingerprint is all over this movie, but his recognizable ‘slow motion’ technique is not used to the extent as it has been in his other movies, instead replaced with a tilt shift style, Gaussian blur, which helps establish a focal point of a scene. Personally I found this more enjoyable than the rampant slow motion use of other movies like Snyder’s Justice League, but it might not be for everyone.
To keep this review spoiler-free, I won’t delve too deeply into the story. However, keep an eye out for a new type of zombie in this movie, and prepare to be pleasantly surprised with the license taken in relation to the genre itself. I was lucky enough to see this in the theater, and I would recommend this viewing, but it is available now on Netflix for immediate enjoyment.
Overall, this was an exciting ride, full of humor, bromance, blood, and zombies. Just my type of movie.
Abbreviated Review Rating: 4 out of 5 ★’s