'Army of the Dead': AAPI Heritage Month Must-See Movies

Our spotlight movie of the day is the zombie megahit "Army of the Dead," starring larger-than-life AAPI movie star Dave Bautista.

Chuck Walton

By Chuck Walton

Army of the Dead AAPI Heritage Month

© Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

It's currently one of the most watched movies on Netflix. It's made over $1 million in movie theaters. And in its first month on the streaming platform, it counts over 72 million viewers. Zack Snyder's zombie movie "Army of the Dead," starring AAPI super actor Dave Bautista, is definitely a big deal.

The Movie

Early on in his career, Zack Snyder directed the zombie remake "Dawn of the Dead" (2004). And as early as 2007, he started to develop the story for "Army of the Dead." It's more of a spiritual successor to "Dawn" than a remake or a sequel. But yes, it's been in the works for a long, long while.

It's also a pretty original combination: zombie movie meets heist film. At the start, "Army" finds zombies taking over Las Vegas. Subsequently, the government goes into full lockdown – gating off the city in "Escape from New York" fashion. Now, though, it's up to Bautista and his band of badass zombie killers to infiltrate Sin City one last time.

Their goal is to retrieve the $200 million lying inside a casino vault before the military nukes the city into oblivion. So it's really "Ocean's Eleven" meets "Return of the Living Dead." Or maybe "The Dirty Dozen" crossed with Snyder's "Dawn of the Dead."

© Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

© Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

Along the way, there are some crosses, double crosses, secrets revealed, new zombie powers unleashed and lots of other fun stuff. If you liked this year's earlier release "Zack Snyder's Justice League," we're practically guaranteeing you'll love this, too.

The AAPI Connection

It's AAPI legend Dave Bautista in the driver's seat, and he makes the most of the ride. It's the first time we've seen Bautista, who's half-Filipino, in such a high profile, leading man role. He handles the action with as much aplomb as you'd expect from a former WWE champion. But he's also got some acting chops as we've seen in films like Denis Villeneuve's "Blade Runner 2049" (and he's also in Villeneuve's upcoming "Dune"). His comic timing as Drax the Destroyer in the MCU has always been on point. And there's a reason why director Rian Johnson cast him in the next "Knives Out" movie.

He does great work in "Army of the Dead," and we hope to see him in more leading roles like this upcoming.

© Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

© Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

Why You Should See It

"Army of the Dead," with its AAPI-proud star, a mighty ensemble, lots of awesome zombie-killing action, and a fun premise, is guilty pleasure, popcorn filmmaking at its finest. This is unfiltered Zack Snyder entertainment that knows what modern zombie movie lovers are looking for, and is more than happy to provide it.

© Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

© Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

Did You Know

Outside the project, and after shooting had been completed, allegations of sexual misconduct from multiple women were brought against actor Chris D'Elia, who played the film's helicopter pilot. Subsequently, the moviemakers decided to recast the part with actress Tig Notaro.

Although she seamlessly appears in the final movie alongside the cast, Notaro only filmed with Ana de la Reguera. The rest of her scenes with her co-stars are all due to movie magic and cgi.

Chuck Walton

Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.

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