Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: A prequel set before the events of Army of the Dead which focuses on German safecracker Ludwig Dieter leading a group of aspiring thieves on a top secret heist during the early stages of the zombie apocalypse.
Review: Possibly the most unnecessary prequel ever made, Army of Thieves focuses squarely on one character from Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead, and that would be German safecracker and funny man Ludwig Dieter played by Matthias Schweighofer, who also directed this movie. MS has stated he’s a huge fan of Snyder’s work as is a lot of his friends and he always wanted to work with him, making Army of Thieves his dream come true. But is the movie any good? Well I’ll say this, it was better than I expected, but not by a lot.
Being a Snyder film in a sense (he’s listed as one of the writers and he also produced the thing) AoT looks good. While some of Snyder’s influence can be seen here I was happily surprised that we weren’t bombarded with tons of slow motion and uncomfortable close-ups. Instead most of what we see here is just a sharp and straightforward style that you would probably see in a lot of other action flicks. We still get those location credits that pull you out of the movie though, something I also struggled with in Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, but it wasn’t a deal breaker so I’ll give it a pass. Although I could’ve done away with the neon-styled introductions to the characters. It’s been done to death Snyder; just stop already.
We also have a lot less characters to deal with as the team of thieves is made up of just five. We have the wheelman Rolph (Guz Khan) uber-hacker Korina (Ruby O. Fee) Johnny Cage’s less cool cousin and wannabe action star Brad Cage (Stuart Martin) and team leader Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel) as potential love interest for our goofy safecracker Dieter, who in this story is known by his real name Sebastian I-won’t-even-try-to-spell-his-last-name. Emmanuel might be the most famous face here, at least to Western audiences for her roles in Game of Thrones as well as the Fast and Furious movies. We also have Jonathan Cohen as the Interpol agent with an ass to grind (you’ll get that joke when/if you watch the movie) Delacroix and Nomie Nakai as his partner Beatrix.
When it comes to the characters they do a better job here than they did in Army of the Dead in the sense that we get to spend more time with them and (for better or worse) get a real sense of them as people and not just background dressing. Gwen and Dieter have solid chemistry that makes you believe as different as they are they could be a couple, Brad Cage is unlikable as he’s meant to be so props to Martin, and Cohen’s Delacroix is pitch perfect as the somewhat unhinged Interpol officer who refuses to stop chasing them even if the world is on the verge of a zombie apocalypse.
Sadly, even with solid performances by the rest they just don’t get the screen time they deserved to help them jump beyond the second tier, which is a damn shame because I think if Guz Khan (Rolph) had more scenes with Matthias Schweighofer (Dieter) this could’ve been a much funnier and energetic film. Same goes for Nakia as Beatrix. She gets one somewhat funny and charming moment with Delacroix and that’s about it. MS as Dieter is also genuinely likeable and funny, I laughed out loud at least twice and I honestly didn’t expect to, so kudos to him.
As for the story itself, well it’s about breaking into three legendary safes, what else is there to say? I liked the folklore behind each safe and how it played into helping Dieter crack them and the designs were interesting, but there’s only so many times you can watch CGI gears turn and levers drop into place before you call it quits. The action sequences are standard fare and really aren’t that memorable save for a chase sequence involving Dieter on a bicycle trying to outrun the police. And that’s about the size of it.
Army of Thieves isn’t a bad movie but it is a lazy excuse for a prequel. With the exception of one character linking to Army of the Dead I honestly don’t see any reason these two movies needed to be joined together other than it’s smart marketing considering how well AoTD did for Netflix. So if you miss it you’re not missing anything important, but if you want to watch it there’s just enough here to feel like you didn’t waste your time for nothing.
Sommer’s Score: 6 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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