Reviewbr> "Why, we're gonna fly that giant suppository back to 1943 and shove it up Adolf Hitler's ass." - Sergeant Carl Weaver
With the Allies being punished back in the Pacific in the early stages of World War 2 by the Imperial Japanese Army U.S troops are arriving in Australia. Unfortunately one infantry division's two mascot pumas escape into the Australian outback. Fearing a colossal publicity disaster a five man unit under the command of Captain Donald O'Brian is dispatched with orders to either capture or kill the two rogue felines. Surprisingly a honking big machine is sent along with the unit.
Naturally there's a slight difference between what the men think their mission is and what the actual mission is. Sergeant Carl Weaver is really a Colonial in the U.S OSS, the predecessor of the modern CIA, and is tasked with a special assignment. The machine is an alien quantum wave generator, that can buckled time and space apparently like a Barnum & Bailey circus mirror, that was discovered in the remains of an alien flying saucer that had decomposed in the Aussie outback. Weaver activates the machine as his orders are to travel back in time 50,000 years ago and retrieve the intact flying saucer. Surprisingly the unit is transported back in time, discover a fully intact flying saucer, and then an even more sinister hidden plan is unleashed. The Nazis want the craft and want to use it to build an armada to take on the universe and even God! Can a mixed group of G.Is stop the Nazi war machine or will we all be wearing lederhosen?
The 25th Reich is a throwback to all those 1950s Sci-Fi outings that kept the Grindhouse cinemas rocking on. While the movie is trying its very best to get the vibe happening through the score, shooting techniques, and apparently being produced in "Megarama" it is still very much a modern movie subject to modern production values. For example while the space ships have a very authentic golden age of Sci-Fi feeling the CGI is impressive and clearly using modern production techniques. Clearly there's a low budget but the movie does get an epic feeling happening during the opening and closing scenes, the same cannot be said of the entire middle of the movie which basically features five blokes charging around the Aussie bush. So yeah there's a sort of schizophrenic feel to proceedings that unbalances what you are viewing.
Thankfully there's enough intrigue and character interest to keep us watching past the first scene else I would imagine the turn off would be fairly steep. The five U.S infantrymen are at best tropes of passed War movies but their banter and the constantly evolving plot work to the movie's advantage.
I have to say I was disappointed in this movie after the trailers promised so much
In short order we have Captain Donald O'Brian, a former Hollywood Actor who has a couple of personal secrets. Sergeant Carl Weaver who adopts a sort of Telly Savalas hard as nails persona. The redneck Corporal Haywood Updike, who has home town sayings, wants to be president, and who you know isn't going to make it to the final credits. Jewish geek Eli Ishback who is there for no decipherable reason beyond being injured early in the movie and having to be supported for the majority of the rest of the movie. And of course the New York Italian Roberto Barelli, every Second World War movie featuring an American army unit has to have a New York Italian. As the movie progresses internal conflicts and secrets come to light that adds some depth to what could have been a fairly shallow exercise in touching bases with the normal constructs.
Perhaps the biggest issue with The 25th Reich is that nothing much happens, or at least you are expecting a lot more is going to happen and it never gets delivered. If you have seen the trailers then you have pretty much seen the movie, no amount of clever dialogue or out there concepts are going to overcome that issue. Worse yet right at the end of the movie we get a title card reading "To be continued in The 25th Reich and the War With God". That's right there is no resolution to the movie we are being baited to dial into the sequel. While I no doubt will catch the next movie in what might well be a series, this is going to irritate a lot of people. That's presupposing there is a second movie. To be honest with this movie I felt like I was watching a SyFy channel outing and even then that I got short changed.
There are other issues a plenty but I kind of feel I'm flogging a dead equine here, though I have to point out the pacing is all over the shop and there's a haphazard approach to movie structure. Sorry but occasionally I just don't feel like drowning a sack full of puppies, no matter how malformed said puppies may be. For example I'm not going to mention the accents which have a habit of coming and going.
There's a bit of chow for gorehounds, though you aren't going to be dining out on the movie. A mosquito attack leads to some damage, actually that's about it so yeah not much to write home about. Stephen Amis does hit out with some controversy in one scene that is either going to work for you or you might just put it down to being contrived to shock. We're talking the anal rape of one character by a redneck Nazi mechanoid spider. Now admittedly that's not something you are going to see in most movies but to be honest it sort of throws that redneck stereotype out there without it actually advancing the plot in any fashion.
There's no T&A kids, though the whole premise sort of screams out for its inclusion. Must be that Grindhouse thing affecting my view here. Ladies are not even catered for which should have been a foregone conclusion really.
I sort of had expectations for the movie, none of which were meet, but still managed to sit through the whole running time without too much damage being done. The trailers lead you to believe you are going to be watching something a hell of a lot better than you do end up watching so that could explain my disappointment to a certain extent. Clearly I'm not about to give a recommendation, however if you dig B grade or low budget fare then you could do a lot worse. Give it a go on rental if interested for a rainy Sunday afternoon screening.