Hasitha Fernando on the biggest WTF moments in Army of the Dead…
While Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead didn’t redefine the zombie-horror genre per se, it was certainly a fun action-heist flick featuring oodles of blood, guts and gore. There were, however, some truly WTF moments in the film that left many people scratching their heads. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in and find out what they are…
1. UFOs in the Night Sky
One of the very first blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments from Army of the Dead can be found in the opening minute of the film. As the military convoy code-named the ‘Four Horsemen’ departs Area 51 in the Nevada desert carrying their precious ‘cargo’ we see two white orbs hovering in the distance briefly at around the 35-42 second mark of the film’s runtime, which then proceed to shoot off and disappear with a small sonic boom. Now this could be a playful nod to Area 51 itself, which is a top-secret military facility synonymous with little-green-men or it could be referencing something else entirely. Is it possible that Zeus’ genesis was extra-terrestrial in nature? Or that this trail of bread crumbs is just the beginning of an inevitable Alien vs. Zombie war somewhere down the line, as the franchise branches off? Robert Kirkman, the co-creator of The Walking Dead, recently disclosed in an interview that the TV show’s zombie outbreak was due to a ‘space spore’ so it’s not a stretch to imagine something similar happening here as well.
2. Zeus the Alpha Zombie
Although the character of Zeus played an extensive role within the film’s narrative, next to nothing is revealed about this Übermensch zombie who certainly was a force to be reckoned with. Think a UFC cage fighter on crack, that’s how brutal the monstrous creature was. But judging by how casino owner Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) appeared to be in cahoots with the military and how the heist’s real objective was to secure the blood sample of an Alpha, makes one believe that Zeus may have been the product of an experiment gone wrong, rather than being a creature bred for a purpose. It’s possible that Zeus was the test subject of a top-secret military experiment or that he was simply exposed to an unknown pathogen-either terrestrial or extra-terrestrial in origin – which resulted in his transformation to a sentient flesh-devouring monster. The appearance of those UFOs in the beginning of the film (as discussed above) could hint at this interplanetary involvement, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
3. The Cargo’s Final Destination
One of the plot points which didn’t quite add up was why Zeus was transported from Area 51 in the first place. Why risk moving an important asset like him from a secure location to somewhere else via Las Vegas, with a military convoy who knew diddly-squat about the cargo they were accompanying? In the film the only individual who appears to know what was really going on was the radio dispatcher at the other end of the line. It seems pretty odd that they didn’t bother to send at least someone who was aware of how dangerous Zeus was. Strange, very strange indeed.
4. A Shady Casino Owner
As the owner of a casino, you’d imagine that he’d have the combination to his own safe right? Wrong! And that’s one of the biggest head scratching WTF moments in the film. Of course, it’s obligatory to have a nerve-wrackin’-safe-crackin’ moment included in a heist movie, but the fact that Tanaka didn’t possess the combination to his own casino’s safe was quite…unusual. This could have been easily fixed with one line or so in the flick, but wasn’t. Which makes us ask ourselves if this was a plot hole or an intentional omission by Snyder?
5. Robot Zombies
Yep, you’ve read that correctly. There are actual robot zombies present throughout the film’s runtime. At first when I noticed a few of the shamblers sporting glowing blue eyes I thought I was seeing things, but when Mikey Guz (Raul Castillo) fires through a zombie in the casino to reveal a terminator-esque endoskeleton underneath my suspicions were confirmed. Once again, it’s one of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments which needs to be seen if it’s to be believed. In a recent Q & A session with Netflix Snyder did indeed confirm that our eyes weren’t deceiving us, and these were indeed…zombie robots. He elaborated stating, “I had the idea from the beginning that these zombies were going to embody an evolution, they were on their way to becoming something else, not stagnant like the zombies we’re used to. I really wanted this sort of weird ambiguity to their origins-which of course we’ll explore in the animated series, Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas. If you pay close attention, there’re a number of zombies which are clearly not zombies. You see normal zombies and then you see some robot zombies. Are they monitors that the government has placed among the zombies to monitor them? Are they technology from another world?” So, it seems that we will get a more concrete answer when the animated TV show debuts sometime this year, but till then we’ll just have to wait it out.
6. An Infinite Time Loop
In several instances of the film, we see the charred corpses of a team clad in the identical gear that our ragtag band of misfits were also donning. The ever-philosophical Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) theorizes that these are actually themselves caught in an infinite time loop, reliving the events of the Vegas heist over and over again. In an interview with Screen Junkie Snyder kinda sorta reaffirmed that this maybe the case. Once again this could be a subtle nod to the director’s very own Watchmen movie, where Dr. Manhattan discusses how tachyons can alter the space-time continuum, or it could be that the nuclear blast created a bunch of tachyons that in turn reset the timeline repeatedly for our hapless bunch of thieves. Think Groundhog Day with zombies.
7. Last Man Standing
How the hell did Vanderohe survive after Vegas gets nuked? Okay let’s assume for a moment he was able to do so ‘cos he was underground trapped in a bank vault. But there’s absolutely no way the guy’s body would be able to handle the extreme radiation levels of his surroundings when he came out into the open. No effing way. So how do we explain this? Well, it’s possible that the zombie infection coursing through Vanderohe’s veins could have countered the radiation poisoning. But that would also make some of the zombies in Vegas immune to the nuclear blast’s effects too, wouldn’t it? At least the ones that weren’t incinerated. Vanderohe’s survival does leave the door wide open for a potential sequel, but that remains to be seen. Here’s hoping it does eventually happen.
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Army of the Dead sees Zack Snyder directing a cast that includes Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tig Notaro, Raúl Castillo, Huma Qureshi, Garret Dillahunt, Samantha Win, Richard Cetrone, and Michael Cassidy.
Hasitha Fernando is a part-time medical practitioner and full-time cinephile. Follow him on Twitter via @DoctorCinephile for regular updates on the world of entertainment.