Starring: Wyatt Russell and Jovan Adepo
Directed By: Julius Avery (Son of a Gun)
Runtime: 1 hour 49 minutes
On Veteran’s Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1 or The Great War, if you prefer. We have a fictitious story about a very real military operation. Operation Overlord, the Battle of Normandy, a mission to invade German occupied Western Europe. It was basically the precursor to D-Day. The movie focuses on a group of soldiers tasked with taking out a Nazi radio tower hidden in a church steeple.
Overlord delivers every military movie stereotype as far as its characters go. The young cocky handsome guy. The Brooklyn street tough. The skittish photographer forced into combat. And the guy who almost failed boot camp that becomes the ultimate hero by movie’s end. If you think that’s a spoiler, you’re wrong. This movie isn’t so much about the plot and story. You know who wins World War 2. Don’t concern yourself with historical accuracy.
This movie is about one thing and one thing only. Nazi Zombies. In the basement of the church our heroes are trying to eliminate, the Nazis are running mysterious tests. And if you’ve seen a preview of this movie you know there are zombies running around the basement of this church. Something that would have played better if it was kept a secret from the viewer going in. But if you do that, you run the risk of alienating the viewers who think they’re getting a straight up WW2 saga.
Overlord plays out like a typical war movie over the first two acts. Characters we begin to like are killed in action, there’s arguments over who is in command, stories of what everyone’s going to do when they get back home. All the typical war movie stuff. Our main character falls in love with a girl in the town we’re trying to save. It’s all there. Then the third act hits.
We get mangled bodies, re-animated corpses, gooey grossout stuff. That’s a technical term by the way. Gooey gross out stuff. Look it up. A mysterious syringe that seems to be the key to all the madness. Of course, we have a creepy Nazi doctor directing traffic in his lair. The movie goes the way you think it’s going to the entire time and it’s OK.
You’re going to this movie to see the weird zombies. You’re watching Overlord to see Nazis get destroyed. The movie plays out like a video game. It’s fun. It’s violent. It does exactly what you want it to. Can our heroes escape the church basement filled with unkillable Nazi zombies and destroy the church in order to set the events of D-Day in motion?
If you don’t take this too seriously, it can be a lot of fun. A lot of people might want MORE gross body horror stuff. They might be disappointed they have to wait about an hour for it to get going. But the film finds a nice balance between telling a story and going over the top with its visuals.
Kurt Russell’s son Wyatt gets the lead role as Corporal Ford. He’s got a blossoming career ahead of him. He’s a good looking kid. Been in quite a few things that I’ve seen, but didn’t know he was Kurt’s kid until this film. He’s slightly mis-cast here as the Corporal. His voice isn’t deep enough to give orders. But that’s not what this movie is about. The Nazi Zombie movie doesn’t have to “feel real”. It’s not concerned with accuracy.
Originally slated last year to be a Cloverfield Story. You remember Cloverfield, right? The 2008 Godzilla rip-off. It was really solid movie. They made a sequel in 2016 called “10 Cloverfield Lane”. It was also pretty good. Studio execs thought they might have a bonified franchise on their hands. They bought a movie on the cheap and shoe horned in some Cloverfield stuff for this year’s straight to Netflix “Cloverfield Paradox”. It was awful, one of the ten worst movies I’ve seen this year. They were going to shoe horn a Cloverfield Connection for Overlord as well. But opted not to, thinking the movie was good enough to stand on its own. The correct decision.
Overlord is a fun, satisfying romp for fans of video games and Walking Dead fan fiction. It stays in its lane and doesn’t try to do too much. Which is a decision that should be applauded. It doesn’t try to make a statement about the horrors of war. There’s no politics, other than Nazis bad, Americans good. I think we can all agree on that…RIGHT?!?! Overlord is 100 minutes of mind numbing eye candy. It’s B movie trash on an A movie budget.
On a scale of "See It/Stream It/Skip It" – I'll vote "Stream It" you can be on your phone and look up when cool stuff is happening, that’s the ideal way to watch this one if you’re thinking of giving it a go.
If you liked Re-Animator, World War Z, and Upgrade you might like Overlord
3 out of 5 for Overlord. It’s schlock. It’s trash. But it’s not a bad time.