Dave Bautista says Army of the Dead is more political than you might expect

It’s no secret that zombie movies can get a bit political.

George Romero’s zombie classic Night of the Living Dead is renowned for its political undercurrent.

Dave Bautista told the Daily Star that Army of the Dead is no exception.

“There are a lot of political undertones in this film,” he said.

“A lot of them, I didn’t even pick up on when I read the script – I stumbled onto some of them as we were filming and I brought it to Zack’s attention because I was starting to feel this way and recognise this.”

Bautista stars as Scott Ward – a veteran who finds himself diving back into the zombie-infested Las Vegas to pull off an unexpected casino heist.

And it’s not just the film’s treatment of veterans that puts the US government under the microscope.

“It connected a lot because of the wall,” said co-star, Ana de la Reguera. “Because of the President, the injustice that was happening with Mexicans here in the US being kept away from their families.”

Army of the Dead takes plenty of swipes at the US government throughout, with the walled city of Las Vegas clearly resembling former President Trump’s ill-fated border wall.

Mexican actress Ana de la Reguera says that’s no coincidence.

“At the beginning of the movie, you see a little girl getting separated from her mom – that’s still what’s happening now,” she added.

“The movie has a lot of layers – it’s a zombie movie, it’s an action movie, it’s a heist, it’s a lot of fun, but it also has a lot of things that criticise the moment we’re living in.”

Army of the Dead director Zack Snyder admitted that this is no coincidence.

After all, zombie movies have often been a vehicle for social commentary and political statements.

“I don’t know what that says about us as a species but that’s kinda cool,” he said.

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“It’s a monster movie where the monster is us. It’s us without our humanity so that’s scary, I think to anybody.”

The real villains, Snyder claims, are the people within the movie.

“Of course, in the best zombie movies, the worst part of the zombie movies is the people – the zombies don’t really have an agenda, they’re just kind of like the weather, you know? They just kind of move around and if you get in the way, there’s a chance they’ll kill you.”

To that end, Army of the Dead features some truly reprehensible human characters.

And there are even a few hints that President Trump might be lurking in there somewhere.

“At the end of the day, zombies are just people who are stripped of all their humanity and they’re feeding off other people,” said Bautista.

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Thankfully, Army of the Dead isn’t all doom and gloom – there are some positive political statements, too.

“The thing that sticks out to me, that I love, is the diversity of this cast,” added Bautista.

“I love the message of diversity because I just don’t have any tolerance for bigotry or racism. I didn’t grow up with it, I don’t like it, I don’t have a tolerance for it.

“We’ve got to get past the superficial things like skin colour and where we’re from, what our backgrounds are. You bring a bunch of people together who are a very eclectic group, and it can create magic – you can get anything done. You can accomplish anything.

“We’re all just very different and diverse and when we come together, we can conquer a zombie apocalypse.”

Army of the Dead is available to stream on Netflix from May 21.

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