This latest season of The Walking Dead has received a lot of flak from critics. Most of these complaints are centered around an incoherent narrative and a continuation of a recent shift in tone for the hit show. These are not the only issues however, there is another significant complaint around Season 8 in particular. The action just isn’t cutting it. For a season marketing itself as All Out War, this is a major drawback.
The lackluster action this season revolves around the conflict between Rick’s alliance and the Saviors. With two large groups such as these one would expect the ensuing battles to be intense. This is certainly not the case. The gun fights are majorly struggling and here is why.
The Cinematography is Woefully Uninspired
The camera work in All Out War is repetitive. Most every scene involving a gunfight plays out the same way. They’re all a close up of characters shooting, immediately followed by characters on the other side ducking for cover. Switch sides and repeat. Action scenes following this method creates a boring, almost tedious viewing experience. Which is exactly the opposite of how a shootout should filmed.
There is no single, right way to film a firefight, but many different shows and films manage to do it well. Even The Walking Dead in its earlier seasons managed to do so. From the Rick’s wonderfully brief shootout while retrieving Hershel in Season 2, all the way to Season 7 with the betrayal of the Trash People. The Walking Dead should look back on its earlier seasons for inspiration on making these scenes more enjoyable.
The Tension is Gone
The loss of tension is not entirely on the shoulders of poorly executed action. The writing of Season 8 itself has doomed these scenes to fail. It is hard to create an intense shootout when the audience knows what will happen next. Take Rick’s assault on the outpost for example. Morgan’s brush with death was anything but convincing. I don’t believe anyone genuinely though he had been killed, even for a moment. Further, Eric’s death was heavily telegraphed before the shoot out. Why else would he suddenly be getting such attention after being entirely absent beforehand. It is difficult for action to succeed when the outcome is blatant, and the firefights that get us there are borderline monotonous.