Overlord: Revisionist zombie Nazi movie isn’t really a movie

Review: This shoot-’em-up zips by cartoonishly and pleasingly enough

As JJ Abrams-produced joints go, Overlord splats right in the middle

Film Title: Overlord

Director: Jules Avery

Starring: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier

Genre: Horror

Running Time: 109 min

Wed, Nov 7, 2018, 14:32

   

It’s the night before D-Day and a plane full of ethnically diverse, entirely mismatched paratroopers are making their way through chaotic skies towards occupied France.

These assorted knuckleheads and heroes include Private Boyce (Jovan Adepo) as the Good Guy, Tibbet (John Maguro), a loudmouth from the Bronx, and Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell), who brings the brawn.

Their mission is to take out a Nazi radio tower ahead of the upcoming firefight. With the assistance of a comely local freedom fighter, the soldiers move on their target only to discover that the boo-hiss Nazis are performing experiments on humans so that they might ... something about immortality and something about super soldiers. The rules aren’t awfully clear.

Is it wrong to expect some small degree of nuance from a revisionist zombie Nazi picture? From Jed Kurzel’s thundering score to the SS goon who takes the time to spit on a small boy’s baseball, Overlord bombasts its way through its mondo sub-genre, with a sign that reads “Moreau”, an imposing keep that recalls, well, Michael Mann’s The Keep, and several direct lifts from Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

As JJ Abrams-produced joints go, Overlord splats right in the middle, being neither as competent as 10 Cloverfield Lane, nor as messy as Cloverfield Paradox. Wyatt Russell, son of Kurt and Goldie, glowers with aplomb as he pounds and stomps his way through the villains. Jovan Adepo is unfailingly affable. Pilou Asbæk does his best with a ludicrously written pantomime Nazi.

As a shoot-’em-up action film, it zips by cartoonishly and pleasingly enough. The gore and blood work is fun, even if none of it comes close to eliciting anything like a scare.

But you can’t help but wish it were a little more like a movie – with dramatic tension and whatnot – and a little less like a first-person shooter game. Best watched with the rowdiest of crowds.