Army of the Dead
By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Super-gory heist movie is popcorn fun for zombie fans.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie begins as a quest for money, but ultimate focus is on reuniting a family (which is depicted as the purer of the characters' two quests).
Positive Role Models
Cast is diverse, with strong male and female characters. But they're all extreme risk-takers whose behavior isn't precisely admirable. A supporting character, Kate Ward (main character's daughter), is a humanitarian who works helping underserved children.
Violence & Scariness
Extreme, over-the-top blood and gore. Many characters die. Huge, spraying blood spurts. Guns and shooting. Knives and stabbing. Zombies biting. Heads blown off. Bodies shot to pieces, blown apart. Zombies sliced with huge power saw. Character's head twisted 180 degrees. Zombie beheaded; head smashes to ground. Explosions. Car crash. Helicopter crash. Pregnant female zombie killed; dead fetus removed from her abdomen. Zombie stabbed in top of skull. Characters punched and impaled. Fighting. Zombie tiger eats a person's head.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A woman undoes a man's belt while riding in a car; she leans over his lap, and he says "get in there" and then makes moaning noises. Three topless female zombies shown for several seconds.
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Extremely strong, frequent language includes "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "c--t," "ass," "bitch"/"son of a bitch," "hell," and "oh my God."
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Products & Purchases
Jack Daniels bottle.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Brief shot of character glugging Jack Daniels from the bottle. Characters drink beer in social settings. Toast with sparkling wine. Character smokes cigars.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Army of the Dead is an extremely gory zombie-infested heist movie directed by Zack Snyder and starring Dave Bautista. The explicit gore is intentionally over the top and sometimes played for humor: Zombies are obliterated in various ways, and blood is everywhere. A pregnant female zombie is killed, and the dead zombie fetus is removed and shown. Human characters die, and there are lots of guns, knives, and explosions. Several very violent acts are committed against women. Language is also really strong, with many uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. Oral sex is implied (a woman unbuckles a man's belt and leans over his lap while he makes moaning sounds), and three topless female zombies are seen for several seconds. A character smokes cigars, and there are a few moments of social drinking, plus a character glugging from a bottle of Jack Daniels. The movie isn't without its problems, but it gets by on being pure, dumb fun for those who like this kind of action.
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Army of the Dead
Based on 5 parent reviews
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very good movie
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What's the Story?
In ARMY OF THE DEAD, a military transport is unexpectedly upset, unleashing a zombie outbreak. Some time later, the zombies are contained in Las Vegas, and the government is planning a nuclear strike to stop them. Meanwhile, businessman Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) hires Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) to infiltrate a Las Vegas casino and procure a forgotten $200 million in cash, hours before the strike could wipe out the entire area. Scott assembles a crack team for the job, but zombies and other threats make things more difficult than planned. Even more challenging: Scott's daughter, Kate (Ella Purnell), insists on coming along to find a missing woman who's lost in the zombie zone. Can Scott and his team make it out alive, let alone with the millions they were promised?
Is It Any Good?
Zack Snyder's zombie heist movie is hardly original, and yet, because of its cast and hardy sense of humor, it marginally succeeds as an action/horror roller coaster ride. Like many of Snyder's movies, Army of the Dead is far too long and far from flawless. The zombies aren't at all scary or interesting, and there's some iffy imagery. But though the movie employs the director's usual drab color palette, it does sometimes unexpectedly brighten up once the team arrives in Vegas. And while some camera movements and cutting can be jerky and disorienting, other sequences work quite well. In a shift from some of his earlier movies, Snyder even attempts to give his female characters a little power and a real voice.
The movie is elevated by its lovable, diverse characters, led by the always charismatic Bautista, and -- in a switch from Snyder's grim, humorless superhero movies -- a rolicking sense of humor (much of it supplied by Tig Notaro as a helicopter pilot). In the end, the movie reveals a good heart, valuing family over the stolen millions. While Synder still can't resist including his name at least a half-dozen times during the extra gory, show-offy opening credits sequence, Army of the Dead ultimately doesn't take itself too seriously. It seems to know that it's just here for mindless moviegoing fun.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Army of the Dead's violence. How did it make you feel? Which moments are shocking, and which are exhilarating? How did the filmmakers achieve that effect?
Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of horror movies? Why do people sometimes like being scared?
How does Army of the Dead compare to other zombie movies you have seen? Why do you think there are so many zombie movies? What can zombies tell us about who we are?
How are women and people of color represented in the film? Do they have agency? Did you notice any stereotypes?
How important is family in the movie? What are the relationships between family members like? How far do family members go to help one another?
- In theaters: May 14, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: May 21, 2021
- Cast: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera
- Director: Zack Snyder
- Inclusion Information: Latinx actors
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 150 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence, gore and language throughout, some sexual content and brief nudity/graphic nudity
- Last updated: February 19, 2023
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