This Veterans Day weekend we have Paramount Pictures’ newest outing Overlord. From the creator of Cloverfield, the J.J. Abrams production is directed by Julius Avery (Son of a Gun) with the story by Billy Ray (Secret in Their Eyes) and blends elements of the war and horror genre. The film stars Jovan Adepo (Fences), Wyatt Russell (Everybody Wants Some!!), Mathilde Ollivier (The Misfortunes of Fracois Jane), and Pilou Asbæk (Game of Thrones). Warning! There are spoilers after the trailer.
Set on the eve of D-Day the film does a solid job of portraying action and the fear that war brings. Private Boyce (Adepo) is a paratrooper and man, he’s scared from the jump. His squad has some complications before they even jump out of the plane and you can see the fear written all over his face. He has only been in the military for 3 months and he feels like how a real person would be in his situation. Kudos to him because everyone else in his squad is just a caricature or a movie trope. Their sargent is loud and yells at everyone, there’s a private who just wants to go back home, one that belittles our main character and constantly tells him he isn’t a “real soldier,” and there’s one that is just there to not be like everyone else. The trope with the biggest role is Corporal Ford (Russell), he is the cool, calm, collected-badass that doesn’t let any shit phase him. The plane they’re in is
(literally!) being shot down, and he could not give a single fuck. If you like tropes then this movie hits you with all the aforementioned ones within the first 8 minutes.
The sound-mixing and filming as the plane comes crashing down is impressive. There’s panic and mayhem going on, and Avery does a spectacular job of capturing it. Adepo conveys confusion when he gets separated from his squad. He links back up with Ford, who again isn’t phased by being shot down from 30,000 feet in the sky. Eventually, they found a couple members of their squad and ended up at the home of Chloe (Ollivier). Chloe is scavenging in the woods to bring back home when she meets the paratroopers. She’s pretty badass herself, knows how to handle herself and is far from being a damsel in distress.
When things start to settle and we get introduced to the Nazis who are portrayed as the scummiest people on the planet (which they are) like in any typical war movie. Nazi Captain Wafner (Asbæk) might as well be the pure embodiment of evil. Asbæk does a marvelous job coming across as monstrous and diabolical. When Wafner tries to rape Chloe, the paratroopers come out of hiding and tie him to the beams in the attic, then try to interrogate him so they can get intel to complete their mission. Nothing memorable happens during the interrogation, but after we are treated to another trope. They send a private that is just there to not be like everyone else up to the attic and, what do you know, Wafner gets the one up on him and ends up shooting him. Logically, it makes more sense for Ford to be the one to untie Wafner since he was the one interrogating him. But I’m going to come back to this because we have to talk about the horror.
Being that this movie is set during World War II there has to be a crazy evil Nazi scientist. I’m not even mad at this trope because the film actually used its budget well when it came to showing horrific experiments conducted by its leading evil Nazi scientist. Boyce goes to the Nazi laboratory and sees all kinds of atrocious, heinous and horrendous shit. The dark lighting used in the laboratory added to the evil aesthetic. There’s a lady who is talking but her head isn’t connected to her body. Captured soldiers screaming in agony from being experimented with. He finds one of his fellow paratroopers strapped to a table with a pipe stuck into him as if he is being prep to be operated on. The Nazis created a drug that brought the dead back to life via a simple injection. Not only do they come back to life but it makes them stronger and faster than a normal man. Boyce and his squadmate witness the evil scientist use the concoction on a soldier; however, the soldier’s body can’t take his new power and he ends up spazzing out and dying. Upon their escape they ended up taking a couple of syringes filled with the drug back to Chloe’s house.
Back to when Wafner shot Private “just there to not be like everyone else.” The private dies, but Boyce uses the Nazi’s drug to bring him back to life. Everything seems fine at first, but the private starts attacking everyone in the room. There are a couple of cool effects used to show he has power, but Boyce ends up killing him before he kills them. During the commotion, GUESS WHO MAKES HIS ESCAPE??? … if you guessed Wafner then you would be correct. Wafner ends up getting shot in his face for all his trouble. After witnessing the power of that Nazi super-soldier serum, Wafner returns to the lab and injects it on himself. Now he’s gone full Snap! (
that works on two levels because they’re both German). Once he gets his enhanced abilities he becomes extremely cliche and this is where the movie starts to fall apart. The final act wasn’t memorable. The fight scene at the end was just a run of the mill, and the big showdown between Wafner and Ford was everything you expected.
Overall, this was a B-movie, per se, which there isn’t anything wrong with that because B-movies can be fun. Salute to Russell, Adepo, Asbæk and Ollivier held their own for what they were given. The cliches made Tropelord too predictable, but the acting makes up for some of the weaker story points and numerous plot devices. The action is well done when it comes to the war aspects, but the fault lies in its horror and its writing. Clocking in at 110 minutes the movie does a fine job at not feeling like it’s going on for too long. For me, this one wasn’t worth seeing on the big screen. There’s talk of a sequel and if they learn from the first then I think it’ll be an enjoyable experience.
[a si a si]
[All Mames Wey]
Overlord was released in theaters November 9, 2018.