It’s only been two months since the frustratingly blurry, overwrought release of Zack Snyder’s endlessly hyped Army of the Dead on Netflix, and already the world’s biggest streamer is going back to the well. Today, they dropped the first trailer for follow-up Army of Thieves, which is in fact a prequel focusing on German actor Matthias Schweighöfer’s character Ludwig Dieter, taking place years before the events of Army of the Dead. To which we can only asks: Who in their right minds has any particular desire to see this story?
I mean really. Really. Who out there is desperate to see a bank heist origin story about the safecracker from Army of the Dead, taking place in a setting that isn’t even particularly related to the zombies in that film? Moreover, who makes a zombie movie prequel that is only tangentially related to zombies? Why should we care about an origin story for a character who was barely of any particular importance in Army of the Dead in the first place? It’s extremely difficult to see what the pitch here is meant to be, in terms of getting anyone to genuinely care.
Army of Thieves doesn’t even have the glint of something directed by Snyder himself, although that’s honestly probably for the best, or it by all likelihood could have turned out just as ugly as Army of the Dead. But still, it does seem to greatly reduce the number of fanboys out there who will feel compelled to seek it out. Instead, the film is directed by Schweighöfer himself, who returns to play safecracker Dieter, a 40-year-old man repeatedly referred to as a “kid” in Army of the Dead for reasons unknown. Co-starring with Schweighöfer are Game of Thrones vet Nathalie Emmanuel, in addition to Guz Khan, Ruby O. Fee, Stuart Martin and Jonathan Cohen.
Army of Thieves doesn’t have an official release date yet, and is likely to hit Netflix in late 2021. Will anyone care to see an Italian Job riff on the vague promise that it connects in some way to a Zack Snyder movie? It’s hard to imagine who that viewer would be, but they probably exist.