[The following review contains MINOR SPOILERS! And also a couple of CUSS WORDS! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!]
Zeus is a zombie king. He is married to a zombie queen, who is pregnant with his zombie heir. He commands an army of fanatical zombie zealots. He rides a zombie horse. And, of course, his loyal pet zombie tiger is always by his side.
If any of the above information makes you roll your eyes so hard that you can see your own (delicious) brain, then Army of the Dead probably won’t appeal to you. This is Zack Snyder at his most self-indulgent, without any semblance of stylistic restraint whatsoever. It’s loud, dumb, grotesque, exploitative...
…and, to be perfectly honest, I kind of love it. Army of the Dead knows exactly what it is—a B-movie with slightly higher production values—and never pretends to be anything else. It embraces the absurdity of its premise enthusiastically, unapologetically, and wholeheartedly. The inciting incident is caused by a passenger seat blowjob, for fuck’s sake; the film is one hundred percent in on the joke. You could put it on a double bill with Machete Meets El Mariachi and market it as a Grindhouse sequel.
Yes, the narrative is unnecessarily bloated and unwieldy; Army of the Dead clocks in at approximately 150 minutes, which is… excessive, considering its genre (both horror and comedy tend to benefit from brevity). But this is a Zack Snyder joint we’re talking about; the story is basically inconsequential, existing only to serve as a framework for the spectacular visuals—and the director delivers some truly delectable imagery here. Highlights include: a soldier flailing desperately (and, ultimately, futilely) as he parachutes straight into a pack of ravenous undead; a facsimile of the Eiffel Tower collapsing onto an infected Elvis impersonator; and an elderly gambler being devoured by the horde while a nearby slot machine spews out a jackpot, burying his blood-spattered body with a shower of gold coins—and that’s just in the opening credits sequence!
Make no mistake: Army of the Dead is pretty Goddamn far from being conventionally “good.” It is, however, a whole lot of fun. And at the end of the day, that’s all it really needs to be.