Sorry to say, I was disappointed with Overlord, the pulp tale of a small batch of US soldiers dropped into Nazi occupied France, mere hours before the landing in Normandy, only to discover a secret underground laboratory in which locals are transformed into zombie soldiers for the sole purpose of world domination for the Third Reich. That synopsis sounds more than a little cool does it not? Like it could be the more up-beat exploitation zombie mowing extravaganza version of the movie Downfall, which… damn, I think that’s ten years old now!
Unfortunately Overlord is not much fun, it’s R rating/18 certificate has not been taken advantage of as much as the material calls for, its story beats are generic and unoriginal, the characters are not particularly likeable and the Nazi zombie soldier stuff feels like a mere after thought for only act 3. Seriously, the mad science experiment stuff feels hardly even there, it was only the major selling point of the trailer – now you could say well, surely that’s just the trailer’s fault for giving off false impressions; true, but what else then is the movie offering up? A generic load of not very much to be honest.
When I say the characters are unlikeable – oh dear God, the characters make some well and truly stupid beyond belief decisions. After jumping out of an airplane the fact of reality is quickly established for our main heroes that there are Germans literally everywhere, they could be just off in the distance ready to shoot or around any corner turned; and I mean established very, very quickly. So what do the heroes do after grouping up and finding out only about 5 of them survived even getting on the ground? Walk and talk like they’re on a good old stroll, the Germans are forgotten about within seconds, don’t worry that their presence has been established as anywhere and everywhere, nice night for a walk isn’t it?
Not only that but the token no-nonsense grumpy guy gets saddled with the task of reminding these fools, our main characters, to stop talking so loudly, to turn their damn torches off, that maybe using a camera isn’t such a good idea; stuff a soldier really ought to know in enemy territory at night, or better yet, stuff anybody with a brain would work out through standard common sense. The real kicker for me though, was when they capture a Nazi officer just as he is about to start raping a village girl who is keeping the heroes hidden, they tie him up and the grumpy guy starts beating him up, demanding information about the underground zombie lab, and our number one hero, the absolute main character in all this, has a look on him like “this is wrong, we shouldn’t be doing this, we’re sinking down to his level”, and he even tries to stop the grumpy guy from continuing the beating, citing that “that’s enough”!
How are we supposed to feel about that? The guy wasn’t just a Nazi, he’s a rapist too and we’re supposed to feel bad when he gets beaten up; because the main character is just so good and moral and kind hearted underneath? Well screw that noise, I kept thinking of Inglourious Basterds, because, you know, the guy was a feckin’ NAZI!!! A RAPIST NAZI NO LESS, beat him with baseball bats, scalp his head, carve a swastika into his face, but no, Overlord wants to take moral high ground and suggest that violence against violence is not the way to go – WHAT???
This is supposed to be a film about zombie soldiers and you’re trying to teach lessons in humanity? Get outta here! Even though moments of gore are not shied away from, this is hardly the gore fest its rating suggests, it’s like the movie doesn’t want to allow itself to let loose and have fun with its premise, choosing instead to try and be serious, is it ashamed of its exploitation roots or something like that? The music was a mixed bag, I counted about two times it was actually really good and unique sounding, most other times it was just as generic as the rest of the film, dialogue didn’t impress, the story was told in a rather boring fashion, characters do things, not because of who they are, but because that’s just how people behave in the movies and don’t even get me started on small things like a character drying off after falling head to toe in water very quickly or a multitude of gun shots failing to alert the enemy who are literally just outside.
Overlord has no idea what it wants to be or why it should exist, it feels more like a tired obligation rather than something someone legitimately wanted to make and barely even offers what was first promised, let alone what one would expect from a halfway decent movie, you could say the acting isn’t too bad, a little unremarkable but far from terrible and on the technical front it’s ok I guess, but aside from that: no, not for me thank you.
Author: Motion Picture Maniac
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