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Review: Overlord

Overlord
8 10

PLOT: A group of American soldiers, dropped behind enemy lines in advance of the D-Day invasion, discover horrifying Nazi experiments designed to give Hitler’s army a literal “thousand year Reich.”

REVIEW: One thing you need to know about OVERLORD going in – this ain’t SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. It’s a Nazi zombie movie. Adjust your expectations accordingly. If historical inaccuracies bother you, then well, maybe you shouldn’t be watching a movie about Nazi terror from beyond the grave. If you can deal – then guess what? OVERLORD is one of the horror sleeper hits of the year and a blast from start to finish.

It’s the follow-up for hot Aussie director Julius Avery to his under seen Ewan McGregor thriller SON OF A GUN and watching this, it’s obvious why he's being touted for the long gestating FLASH GORDON update as he’s got some serious action chops. This is evident right from the opening, where a unit of paratroopers fly over Normandy, are attacked by heavy fire, and have to make a hasty escape. The claustrophobia of the plane and the terror of paratrooper Boyce’s (Jovan Adepo) decent to the earth are expertly conveyed, kicking the movie off in a way that makes you realize this won’t just be another schlock horror outing.

While the script, by Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith, trades in war movie clichés, such as the soldier talking about home and immediately dying in a horrifically gruesome fashion, the movie does so in a knowing way. It knows how ridiculous it is and it celebrates the fact. It’s helped immeasurably by the three leads. Adepo bring the right degree of intellect and innocence to his part, but I suspect many will walk away singing the praises of Wyatt Russell. He’s cast in a part that trades on his uncanny resemblance to his father, Kurt Russell, and positions him as the heir apparent to his dad’s crown (I couldn’t help but think he would make an amazing Snake Plissken). Adopting his dad’s swagger and framed as an iconic hero, complete with low angle shots, this is certainly an effort to make him into a star and a worthy one at that, with him playing the group’s resident badass – a demolitions expert bent on accomplishing his mission (with no time for the Nazi undead).

French actress Mathilde Ollivier plays the third lead, a villager forced into a sexual relationship with the sadistic Nazi commandant (Pilou Asbæk – somewhat reminiscent of Ronald Lacey in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK) in order to protect her brother from the Nazi experiments. John Magaro is the requisite comic relief, a Brooklyn wise guy with a quick temper. They’re all familiar, but mixing in these genre tropes with the gore and excess of the zombie experiments makes this an undeniably fun outing, especially in the gonzo, gore packed final act.

Boasting what seems to be a healthy budget, OVERLORD is the rare, R-rated actioner that’s getting a wide theatrical play, and it’s one that hopefully genre fans will come out and support. There has to be a fate for these movies other than a quick Netflix bow. Seeing this where it belongs, in theaters, is the right call and I’m sure OVERLORD will push all the right buttons for hard-core horror/action fans.

Source: JoBlo.com

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