Over­lord of­fers a daft good time

The Dominion Post - - Entertainment -

Over­lord (R16, 109 mins) Di­rected by Julius Av­ery Re­viewed by Graeme Tuck­ett★★★1⁄2

Itruly have the best job in the world. Ten min­utes af­ter hav­ing my head turned in­side out by the ex­cesses and mad­nesses of Sus­piria, I got to sit down and just flat-out en­joy the daft good time that is Over­lord.

You can pic­ture the pitch meet­ing. An up-and-com­ing young direc­tor (Son of a Gun’s Julius Av­ery) walks into the of­fice of su­per-pro­ducer JJ Abrams (Clover­field, Star Trek, Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens) and says ‘‘Nazi Zom­bies!’’ The deal is done.

Over­lord re­ally is that sim­ple. There’s a lu­di­crous but stylish open­ing, fea­tur­ing a dis­as­trous D-Day for a squad of Amer­i­can para­troop­ers. We know, from the brief tract of ex­pos­i­tory di­a­logue be­fore they are shot out of the sky, that their mis­sion is to de­stroy a ra­dio-jam­ming tower in a French vil­lage be­hind Ger­man lines.

Once on the ground, the four re­main­ing squad­dies are still com­mit­ted to their task. We are told the en­tire in­va­sion fleet is re­ly­ing on them.

Ar­riv­ing at said vil­lage, they en­counter the req­ui­site feisty young woman all French vil­lages in war movies must have, and then the equally es­sen­tial sadis­tic Nazi com­man­der to rep­re­sent the forces that must be over­come.

At this point, Over­lord is noth­ing more than a Pak’nSave Sav­ing Pri­vate Ryan, with Av­ery wring­ing an ad­mirable amount of ac­tion and thrills out of his lim­ited re­sources.

Soon enough though, we glean there is a lot more go­ing on in the old church on the hill than just ra­dio-jam­ming, and that some de­spi­ca­ble Nazi sci­en­tist is work­ing on a serum that can lit­er­ally bring the dead back to life, ir­re­spec­tive of what bits of them have been blown off or punc­tured. By the time our he­roes have pen­e­trated the evil den it’s all on for young and old.

Over­lord is a proudly stupid and ut­terly dis­pos­able film. It never quite reaches Re-An­i­ma­tor lev­els of great­ness and the debt owed to Dead Snow (and also Cap­tain Amer­ica: The First Avenger) needs to be ac­knowl­edged. But I laughed and hooted with the rest of the crowd for pretty much the en­tire last hour. You prob­a­bly will too.

Direc­tor Julius Av­ery wrings an ad­mirable amount of ac­tion and thrills out of his lim­ited re­sources.

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