By now Zack Snyder’s Netflix feature starring Dave Bautista is a massive streaming success which indicates that it was firmly on the pulse of the average punters celluloid palette.
You can see why as the trailer promises a jam-packed action feast billed as a cross between a comrade bank heist flick with elements of Oceans 11 (The Vegas element has a lot to do with this), with a post apocalyptic zombie infested world.
The films detailed prologue entails a zombie outbreak in the greed, glitz and glam of Las Vegas which is contained by huge storage containers that form a wall around the city.
Then we’re presented with the premise.
There’s money ripe for the picking in the vaults of the casinos and Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) employs Scott (Bautista) to form a crack guerilla team to infiltrate the quarantined city and retrieve the bounty. It’s a mad proposition but one Scott is willing to take up for a chance to rebuild his life and possibly reconnect with his daughter Kate (Ella Purnell), who he has become estranged with since the zombie outbreak occured.
Once the carrot has been dangled, the audience then sit back and eagerly wait for the carnage to begin. But first we must endure the Mission Impossible style formation of the team and our introduction to them and possible zombie fodder.
There’s two of Scott’s former associates, Maria Cruz (Ana de le Ruguera) and Vanderhoe (Omari Hardwick) the spiritual member of the group, helicopter pilot Marianne (Tig Notaro, who stepped into replace Chris D’Elia through CGI and green screens costing Snyder a fair packet of the production costs), German safecracker Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer), and Chicano sharpshooter Guzman (Raúl Castillo) to name but a few.
Once the set up is established Scott’s daughter Kate, Tanaka’s associate Martin, and with the help of Lily aka The Coyote, the team sneak into the quarantined walls to carry out their mission. The catch, The Government are planning on nuking the whole city in a couple of days, so there’s no time for messing around. Plus, you know, it amplifies the tension… And of course you know that that timeline is going to shorten once said Government decide to move the nuke strike up, meaning the team have even less time to complete their task.
Here’s the thing that gets my goat though.
With such a cool premise, there’s not much substance for the audience to chew on.
Some may counter that with me, stating that it does exactly what it says on the tin. But I like my movies served a little cooked, not raw.
There is some humour on display and some strangled attempts at deep and meaningful chats along the way, but it’s missing some zing to tantalise us with.
Since watching the film there’s been some online discussions about Scott’s team stuck in a time loop purgatory, and this idea I can get behind and if there is truth to this theory, all of a sudden this film gets elevated a little in my reception of it. With rumours of a follow up film on the horizon and with Netflix’s success story to couple it, I wouldn’t be surprised if this isn’t fleshed out in some way.
I just hope that they can work on the story a little more and give the characters more to work with now that they’ve been established and give the audience a more hefty and enjoyable experience.
Snyder provides us with another gloriously shot, stellar CGI, packed with some cracking action.
But it is a little half baked and rests on a small thread of an idea. Yes that’s a cool thread, but needs more time and energy spent on building up the storyline and characters to allow them to stand out more.
But I guess time is the real player here. And time will tell if this story will continue and we get more from Snyder’s world or not.
- Saul Muerte