Remember when Army Of the Dead came out and then, within days, it was revealed that another movie featuring Dieter was currently in the works? Dieter’s film would be the beginning of a shared universe built around Army Of the Dead. I remember wondering why they would start this endeavor with Dieter the safecracker. Sure, he was unique, personable, and fun in Army Of the Dead, but he didn’t really seem to embody the essence of that film.
So, Army Of Thieves came out Friday on Netflix and I watched it that night primarily to see what approach they would choose.
I have to say, while I didn’t LOVE the movie, I did appreciate their strategy. (Don’t come @ me – the movie was fine. I just didn’t LOVE it.)
Army Of Thieves picks up as the zombie outbreak is initially starting in Las Vegas. Dieter is a gifted, but unknown and unutilized safecracker, working a boring job and living a boring life. As expected, he has the opportunity to join an army of thieves (it’s more like a squad, really, but that wouldn’t make nearly as good a title), and then begins a quest that ultimately–no surprises here–leads him to Las Vegas and Army Of the Dead.
Directed by Matthias Schweighöfer (the man playing Dieter), and co-starring Nathalie Emmanuel, whom you’ll recognize and adore if you are a Game Of Thrones fan, Army Of Thieves is a fast-paced, entertaining, fun, largely inconsequential film. Yes, it does touch upon what’s happening in Las Vegas, but because it occurs in Europe, the Vegas outbreak is mostly out of everyone’s mind. (Kind of reminds me of America as China struggled with the Coronavirus.) There are a few lines hinting at Dieter’s ultimate fate, but, otherwise, it’s fairly disconnected.
However, if you love a good heist film about safecracking, Army Of Thieves is right up your alley. If you enjoy pretty European locations, Army Of Thieves is also for you. If you’re simply a fan of Matthias Schweighöfer, you’ll be quite pleased as well because he’s in almost every single scene.
I have to admit that I do like the approach Zack Snyder, the mastermind of the Army Of the Dead universe, is taking with said universe. Perhaps he recognizes how Star Wars is currently trying to find ways to avoid being so reliant on the Jedi/Sith central conflict in their universe. By showcasing a second movie that barely displays a zombie at all, Snyder can connect multiple points of his overall mythology without painting himself into a zombie-infested, blood-splattered corner. I do have to wonder, though, whether or not the audience will stick around for shows and movies relating to Army Of the Dead if they don’t primarily feature zombies. Time will tell, I suppose.
Which leads me to my final point: as already stated, I didn’t LOVE Army of Thieves. I liked it for all kinds of reasons. I certainly don’t regret the two hours I spent watching it. But, honestly, I wouldn’t currently deem it required viewing, especially considering what happened to Dieter in Army Of the Dead.
Well, like I said. Time will tell.