The 25th Reich (2012)
Directed by: Stephen Amis
Written by: David Richardson, JJ Solomon, Serge De Nardo, Stephen Amis
Starring: Angelo Salamanca, Dan Balcaban, Jak Wyld, Jim Knobeloch, Serge De Nardo
The 25th Reich (2012)
(15) Running time: 83 minutes
Director: Stephen Amis
Writers: Stephen Amis, Serge De Nardo, David Richardson, JJ Solomon (novel)
Starring: Jim Knobeloch, Serge De Nardo, Angelo Salamanca, Jak Wyld, Dan Balcaban
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
Before the days of Christopher Nolan’s deadly serious movie making, film were allowed to be fun and get away with it. I am in no way complaining at how Nolan has changed the face of cinema, however true and honest fun films are a rarity these days, which makes The 25th Reich, stupid as it is, a welcome and refreshing change. Please though, don’t go into this movie expecting anything less than a totally daft story, a bonkers script, bizarre characters and some at times dodgy, at others impressive special effects. If you go in with expectations low, then you just might walk away from this feeling thoroughly amused, and maybe even a little happier than what you were before watching it. Yes the ending is rather bleak and leads nicely onto further adventures, but the sheer audacity and madness of it all will make it very hard not to enjoy.
The premise is fairly straightforward: five US soldiers have been sent to the Australian outback during World War 2 to capture some escaped Puma’s. I will not go into detail as to why they need to catch them, but the soldiers are there and they have a special machine which will create a noise that will attract the animals. Things do not go according to plan, and pretty soon they are sent back in time, and shit out of luck and what follows is at times hilarious, and always completely bonkers. If you love films that aren’t afraid to just do what they want, no matter what the consequences, then this is for you. Plot holes and realism are not even given a second look here as the soldiers have to deal with all sorts of situations as they now head on to a new mission in a attempt to stop Hitler. To really tell you much more than that would seriously spoil the surprise that director Stephen Amis has in store for you, so my advice is if you loved those sci-fi films from the 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s, then just go ahead and watch this.
The opening credits are worth the purchase price alone, with some truly wonderful animation played out over terrific music, and this really sets the tone and will put your trust in this film as a homage to the sci-fi movies of old. The cast are kept to a bare minimum, and upon meeting them for the first time you may not connect with all of them immediately. However, being the only characters on screen, you will soon find yourself enjoying every minute you spend with them, and each one is more mental than the next. The standout is the captain, with his stories of appearing in movies and sleeping with just about every female actress known to man. Then there is the token straight talking tough guy who doesn’t care much for actors: “you can all wear make-up and dress like pansies, I’m gonna be President of the United States!” This is a running joke which comes up throughout the film and never gets boring.
The dialogue and setting may be too simplistic for some, but I loved it, and the makers of this film capture some truly breathtaking images of the Australian Outback, many of which are made all the more impressive with the Sun going down. The cinematography here is superb, and the special effects aren’t all that bad either for such a low budget film. When giant mosquito’s attack, you can actually feel the horrible creatures crawling and flying into the cast. However, one of the characters is not at all bothered, and in one of the many laugh out loud moments, declares: “what are you afraid of, a little prick?!” As I said, the dialogue is simple, yet a whole lot of fun, and that is the key here, fun. This film does not take itself seriously, and is happy to just have its audience come along for the ride, no matter where it heads. Hell, we even get some giant mechanical spiders to enjoy!
The directors vision here is impressive, and clearly wanting to show respect for good old fashioned sci-fi, he has done his job well. The comedy timing here is at times pretty much perfect, the cast do become likeable, and you will have so much fun here you will find it incredibly hard not to like. The film does have its flaws: some of the voices attached to the giant mechanical spiders will test your patience, sometimes the dialogue is hard to hear and the running time can at times feel a bit stretched, but these are minor. For the most part this is glorious fun, and will happily fill an hour and twenty minutes of your day. If you want to re-visit classic sci-fi of old, then here is your chance, great stuff, and whether you like it or not, you just might find yourself clapping out loud come the terrific final moments. Roll on the sequel!!!