REVIEW / FILM OPINION: After “Army of the Dead” released last May, Netflix has just released the prequel directed by Matthias Schweighöfer: “Army of Thieves”. A new adventure carried by Matthias Schweighöfer himself, which unfortunately does not reach the madness of Zack Snyder.
Army of Thieves : forget the zombies!
Let’s talk little talk well, Army of Thieves is less successful than Army of the Dead. Less fun, less well paced, less explosive, the feature film fails to reproduce the roller coaster proposed a few months ago by Zack Snyder. The fault, above all, in a less personal staging … It must be said, also, that the film has no connection with the work of Zack Snyder except through the main character played by Matthias Schweighöfer. Because this prequel takes place far from the zombie epidemic that is just beginning in Las Vegas.
Against all odds, Matthias Schweighöfer chooses to hardly ever talk about the zombie invasion, which globally does not even have to exist in Army of Thieves. Via just a few premonitory dreams, Matthias Schweighöfer recalls that his film takes place in the same zombific universe as Army of the Dead. But other than that, nothing. No horrific springs, by extravagant violence, and above all, no zombies … Thus, the connection with the first opus is sometimes a little forced, a little superficial, and especially not necessarily useful. Which often gives an unpleasant taste of opportunism …
However, the idea of putting the zombie universe in the background is far from stupid. The zombie movie has been approached in all forms: horror, comedy, blockbuster. The audience saw all kinds of zombies: walkers, runners, crawlers, climbers, good guys, bad guys, talkers and even smart zombies. And Army of Thieves could have added a bowstring like this. Notably by offering a spy film against the backdrop of zombie invasion. After all, as Guillermo Del Toro said with his Crimson peak : “This is not a ghost story, but a story WITH ghosts”. But here it is not.
Because Army of Thieves, this is not a zombie movie, or even a movie WITH zombies. But once this disappointment is swallowed up, Matthias Schweighöfer’s work is quite effective entertainment, which plays with the codes of the heist film.
Three chests for the price of one
The beginning of the movie is a nice little candy. Matthias Schweighöfer is inspired by Zack Snyder’s lively staging to present his colorful characters. From there, he has fun with the codes of the heist movie. He takes the clichés inherent in the genre to adapt them to a light, comical, sometimes absurd style, especially through his protagonist. The goal is thus to offer a shift. A shift identical to that of Zack Snyder on Army of the Dead compared to classic zombie movies. So the typical team, way Ocean’s Eleven, is back. Once again, the smooth plan is described with a welcome humorous touch and betrayals are on the cards. Army of Thieves tick so all the boxes in the manual for the good little heist film.
Unfortunately, Army of Thieves ends up running empty. 2h10 is too long a time compared to the quantity of elements to be covered. The plot of the footage is too light, lacks depth, and is above all too futile to require an edit of this duration. The three heists lack inventiveness. Three feats of redundancy that ultimately loses the viewer’s attention. The latter still wonders when the zombies will land. And finally, Army of Thieves gets nicely boring.
Jonathan Cohen: “Screw the zombies”
Remains however globally impactful characters. Matthias Schweighöfer, in the lead, mocks an endearing hero, cowardly and cultured blond head, which remains the great strength of the film. His character destroys the usual clichés and makes it possible to offer the assistance a hero who stands out from the crowd.
Jonathan Cohen, here in his first English language film, He is also doing well, and offers a convincing performance in the skin of an Interpol agent, whether in French or in English, despite a terribly (and deliberately) cliché writing. An interpretation, it is good to underline it, different from its comic roles which stick to the skin like Serge the mytho, Family Business, The flame, but without denying his unique talent for comedy … And our compatriot is doing wonderfully, in a caricatural role that he manages to appropriate, until this already cult replica: “Screw the zombies”!
So, to sum up, …