ESP’s film critic Gavin Miller was among the first to head back to the cinema but continues to keep an eye on the best of the small screen as well…
It’s great to see sometimes maligned director Zack Snyder undergo an impressive career resurgence – this time competently returning to his cinematic roots.
He goes back to the genre where he made his name with 2004’s Dawn of the Dead – with this extremely lavish Netflix zombie production.
And with cinemas now re-opening we should hopefully see more of these types of movies return to the big screen from the small screen at home – as this deserves to be in a multiplex.
This undead heist horror-thriller won’t win any awards for ingenuity, but it’s an enjoyable gore-fest that really does have that blockbuster feel we’ve been yearning for.
After a massive zombie outbreak in the United States casino capital Las Vegas – which sees virtually the entire populace turned into blood-thirsty monsters – Dave Bautista’s (The Guardians of the Galaxy’s Drax) mercenary Scott Ward is tasked with gathering a team of multi-skilled specialists to steal $200 million at the behest of a wealthy businessman (Hiroyuki Sanada’s Tanaka). The team includes close pals Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) and Maria Cruz (Ana de la Reguera), helicopter pilot Peters (Tig Notaro), German safecracker Dieter (Matthias Schweighofer), sharpshooter Guzman (Raul Castillo), his associate Chambers (Samantha Win), ass-kicking smuggler Lily (Nora Arnezeder), arrogantly-sexist security guard Cummings (Theo Rossi), and company man Martin (Garret Dillahunt).
To add to the danger – apart from the obvious primary task of fending off this intelligent form of ‘living dead’ led by the genetically-mutated Zeus (Richard Cetrone) – Ward’s daughter Kate (Ella Purnell) forced herself to ‘tag along’ to look for a MIA Mom, and a nuclear strike is imminent from the government to wipe out the quarantined city due to its less-than-desirable inhabitants.
What ensues is bullet-ridden monster mash that has incredible big-budget aspirations – see the impressive computer-generated zombie tiger Valentine as just one example – and pulls it off with some aplomb.
It does suffer with the usual Snyder pacing, editing and film-length issues – see his DC Universe efforts as reference including his latest cut of Justice League – but underneath it’s a stylishly grandiose movie that is a part zombie, part heist, and part father-daughter reconciliation story – that mashes together into a suitably solid experience.
Underneath it may still be fairly conventional, but Snyder ultimately shows a competent return to gory form with a movie that is blood-splatteringly good fun.
ESP Rating: 3.5/5
Cast: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Nora Arnezeder, Omari Hardwick, Ana De La Reguera, Matthias Schweighofer, Raul Castillo, Garret Dillahunt, Theo Rossi, Tig Notaro, Samantha Win & Hiroyuki Sanada
Running Time: 2 Hr 28 Mins
Director: Zack Snyder