Genre : Comedy-Scifi
Rating : Unrated
Director: Timo Vuorensola
Released in 2012, Iron Sky roared onto the genre film scene like a bat out of hell. A low budget scifi parody about Nazis hidden on the dark side of the moon and their attempt to take over the world. Facing tepid reviews upon release it quickly gained cult status thanks to its mix of Space Nazis, UFO’s and it’s general theme of pure insanity. A sequel was all but guaranteed but would it work? Making a sequel to a comedy is always a risk, particularly for cult films such as Iron Sky. Because for every Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later bringing something new to the table we are much more likely to get another Zoolander 2, a film desperately trying to recreate the magic of the original. Will Iron Sky: The Coming Race fail like so many other movies or is the combination of Nazis and dinosaurs just crazy enough to work?
It is 2047 and the Earth has been left in ruins after a devastating nuclear war. The last of humanity left to reside in a former Nazi base on the moon. As overpopulation and limited resources threaten their way of life Obi, their leader’s daughter, discovers a map to the one thing that could save them beneath the Earth’s surface, the Holy Grail. Advised by an old enemy a ragtag group of survivors travel into the earth’s core to discover a society of shapeshifting reptiles called the Vril. Run by reptile versions of history’s worst despots it’ll take all they have to guarantee mankind’s future.
After a successful crowdfunding campaign Iron Sky: The Coming Race had a budget of over $20 million and it absolutely shows on screen. A mix of the bigger budget and improvements in technology make The Coming Race look much better than the original. They are even able to pull off some massive, and absolutely nuts, action scenes. Sure there is still copious amounts of green screen but it doesn’t stick out nearly as bad as it did in the original. Unfortunately the same can’t be said of the rest of the movie.
Written by director Timo Vuorensola and Dalan Musson, Iron Sky 2 falls into the same trap a lot of movies of its type where instead of working on a cohesive story they throw out as many plot threads and see what works and dropping what doesn’t. Things like Udo Kier returning as Wolfgang Kortzfleisch and Tom Green as a cult leader feel more like extended cameos than actual roles. With so many plot threads thrown out there it can feel like the movie is running in circles. The same kind of haphazard approach can be seen in the jokes as well. Seemingly going with whatever they could think of at the time the gags miss more than they hit and that’s mostly due to Iron Sky 2‘s cast.
With most of the characters from the first movie in supporting roles we are introduced to a cast of new characters. Leading the charge is Lana Rossi as Obi. The daughter of ex-Nazi Renate Richter (played by the returning Julia Dietze), Rossi does a wonderful job in the lead playing the kind of scrappy leader that would fit perfectly in the latest Star Wars movie. Having the complete opposite effect is Vladmir Burlakov as Sasha, Obi’s sidekick and romantic interest. The two actors have chemistry but it’s bogged down by a lot of bad jokes about Sasha trying to compete with the film’s true star, Malcom. Portrayed by Kip Dale, Malcom is perhaps the most consistently funny part of The Coming Race. With the looks of your typical big screen tough guy he needlessly throws himself into danger to a comical degree. Each risk more needlessly stupid than the last. As one note as the joke may seem they are able to find enough different hazardous situations for it to work.
So was Iron Sky: The Coming Race able to pull off the impossible and be one of the rare good sequels to a comedy? Not quite. While the cast does an admirable job with what they are given it isn’t enough to save the movie. Between its meandering plot and a litany of jokes that miss more than they hit Iron Sky: The Coming Age does the impossible, it makes Hitler riding a T-Rex feel dull.
Links : IMDB
Iron Sky: The Coming Race is now available in select theaters and on VOD
Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula Review
After 2016’s hit Train to Busan wowed audiences around the world, the highly-anticipated sequel has finally arrived, and it doesn’t disappoint. Whilst it’s not quite as sharp as the first film, it still very entertaining and there’s still plenty of great zombie action to keep you engaged.
Peninsula is set 4 years after the zombie outbreak and after the first film. It’s a standalone sequel so you don’t need to have seen Train to Busan– although you really should seek it out because it’s great and it’s probably the best zombie films ever made by someone other than George A. Romero. Peninsula follows soldier Jung-seok played by Gang Dong-Won who receives an enticing offer to return to the quarantined peninsula to retrieve an abandoned truck filled with money. The mission goes wrong and Jung-seok and his friend get ambushed by a mysterious militia called Unit 631. All sorts of zombie chaos arise as Jung-seok must find a way to escape the peninsula once and for all.
Let me get straight out there and answer the question that’s on the minds of all Train to Busan fans, “Is Peninsula as good as the first film?”. No. Peninsula is definitely a step down from Train to Busan but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, far from it. The 2016 film had set the bar so high that it was very unlikely that Peninsula would be better. Train to Busan is one of my favourite zombie films of all time and whilst Peninsula isn’t as good, I still had a great time with it and thought it was very good.
The sequel definitely isn’t as sharp as the first one and it does suffer a bit from sequelitis as it feels like it must be bigger and bolder than its predecessor when, in fact, it doesn’t need to be. Train to Busan had lots of great zombie action scenes as well as scares but it was also very character-driven and had much more to it than zombies and blood. That’s where Peninsula falls down unfortunately. Whilst this isn’t a problem if you just want to watch an entertaining zombie film, the film is slightly disappointing if you were hoping it to be on the same level as Train to Busan. It gets a bit ridiculous in some of the action scenes, particularly in the final act, with it almost turning into a Fast & Furious film; perhaps a more appropriate title for it would have been 2 Train 2 Busan.
Saying that, the film doesn’t need to be compared to its predecessor. If you don’t expect it to be as good as the first film, you’ll have a great time with it. I definitely preferred Peninsula to the 2016 animated prequel Seoul Station and even on its own, I really enjoyed Peninsula and was very entertained by all the great action scenes. The film goes all out on trying to up the spectacle on the first film and if, like me, you love some good zombie mayhem there’s no reason you won’t really enjoy it. There’s action throughout and even though it’s more cartoonish this time around, it’s really good entertainment and great fun.
Overall, Peninsula isn’t as tight a film as Train to Busan but that’s alright, there’s still plenty of fun to be had with the zombies here and I had a thrilling time and it’s probably one of the best zombie films since its predecessor.
Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula will have limited cinema screenings due to cinema closures but it will be available on digital download from November 23rd and on all other formats from November 30th in the U.K.
FrightFest 2020 Review: Don’t Look Back
For the second time in 2020, the Arrow Video FrightFest has gone online after cancelling the physical event that was planned to take place in Leicester Square from October 21-25. Despite not being in person, FrightFest still has plenty of films and scares to be had.
Don’t Look Back is the directorial debut from Jeffrey Reddick who’s best known for creating the Final Destination film franchise. Reddick’s directorial debut has many similarities to Final Destination; in Final Destination, we see a group of people cheat death and so death comes for them. In Don’t Look Back, it’s karma that comes to kill them. Despite the similarities, Reddick manages to show that he’s got a lot to offer in the director’s chair.
Don’t Look Back follows a young woman called Caitlin, played by Kourtney Bell, who is still overcoming her traumatic past when she, and a few others, witness a man being attacked in the park and none of them do anything to stop the attack. The witnesses including Caitlin then start getting targeted by someone, or something out for revenge.
The film begins with phone-footage of witnesses watching people being attacked. Instantly the film starts to make you question what you would do in these situations and if you would just stand and watch or would you be the one to intervene and to help the victims?
Don’t Look Back gets straight into it as very early on we get a scene that gets straight into the action and sets up the trauma that Caitlin then experiences for the rest of the film. Whilst the films does get straight into it at the start, it does go a little quiet for some time. One slightly disappointing thing about the film, particularly when compared to Final Destination, is that there are very few scares in this film. There isn’t much blood or gore or actual horror to it which is a shame, but the film is still entertaining without any of that.
The film plays a lot on the idea of karma ad it’s an interesting concept to play about with although at times it can be a little too on the nose. Sometimes all of this, in particular the film’s opening, and the idea of karma is just waved in the audience’s face far too explicitly and perhaps a slightly more subtle approach would have been better.
Overall, whilst Don’t Look Back isn’t anything too exciting or different and it could do with a few more scares, it’s not bad and fans of Final Destination will definitely enjoy it and have a good time with the film.
Don’t Look Back is in cinemas and available on-demand in the US now
LFF 2020 Review: Possessor
London Film Festival is almost over and there’s been a lot of good stuff over the last couple of weeks. The 64th BFI London Film Festival has been all across the UK, inviting you to experience the world’s best new films wherever you are. Twelve days of UK premieres available to enjoy online via BFI Player or in cinemas at BFI Southbank, around London, and throughout the UK.
Possessor (also known as Possessor: Uncut) is the latest film from Brandon Cronenberg, son of David Cronenberg, who’s known by horror enthusiasts as the king of body horror. Brandon has clearly learnt from the best as could be seen from his 2012 debut film Antiviral starring Caleb Landry Jones. Brandon’s second feature film, Possessor premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January and was released in America and Canada on October 2nd. I managed to catch an early preview of it at London Film Festival before it’s UK release at the end of November.
The film follows Andrea Riseborough’s Tasya Vos, an agent who inhabits other people’s bodies through a new technology and in doing so she commits assassinations to benefit her company. But slowly she starts to lose control over the system and finds herself trapped in the mind of Christopher Abbott’s Colin when trying to kill his father (Sean Bean).
Right from the start Possessor is a very gruesome and gory film. It opens with a very brutal and bloody killing that throws us straight into the futuristic world of the film. If the name Cronenberg on the poster didn’t already tell you, within minutes, we know that this film is not going to be one for the faint-hearted. The premise of the film is a little over the top, with the whole idea of inhabiting other people’s bodies and being able to control them. But it’s one that Cronenberg handles with ease and skill. As well as gore.
The film is disturbing but it’s carried out in a stylish manner so that it never really feels too disturbing. If you’re not a horror fan, or if you’re not someone that can handle much gore, then this isn’t a film for you. But if you relish the films of David Cronenberg then you should definitely seek out Brandon’s film.
Whilst the film does have its ultra-violent moments, there’s more to it than that; Andrea Riseborough gives a good performance in the lead role and helps bring life to the main character and the world the film takes place in as well as the bodies Tasya takes over. There are a lot of interesting ideas to unpack in this film and whilst Cronenberg doesn’t really get a chance to deal with them all in sufficient detail, he takes a good stab at it.
Overall, Brandon Cronenberg has created a film that’s a clear step up from his debut film and a welcome addition to the body horror genre that leaves you shocked but also excited to see what he goes on to make next.
Possessor is released in U.K. cinemas on November 27.