‘Overlord’: Operation is not accomplished
Overlord Rated: R for strong bloody violence, disturbing images, language, and brief sexual content. Running time: 109 minutes. out of 4
Nazis! Zombies! Nazi zombies! Sounds awesome, right? Unfortunately, the movie that just unspooled in your head is likely better than “Overlord."
The J.J. Abrams-pro- duced war/sci-fi/horror flick takes that fun premise and goes nowhere. Not that it’s a new idea: “Dead Snow” and “Call of Duty” are among the best-known such movies and videogames. “Overlord,” however, is too predictable to elicit the fun of either.
Sensitive paratrooper Boyce ( Jovan Adepo) and a few buddies, along with mysterious new guy Ford (Wyatt Russell), drop behind enemy lines in ad- vance of the invasion of Normandy. They meet a — what else — gorgeous French girl (Chloe, played by Mathilde Ollivier) who virtuously hates her some Nazis. While the movie lacks the retro style of its credits, it’s old-fashioned in one way: These Nazis are
not very fine people. The good guys run afoul of Wafner (Pilou Asbæk of “Game of Thrones”), the most evil of these evil Nazis. Next thing you know, they’re breaking into an evil lab where evil experiments are being conducted, and … voilà!
The enjoyment one wants from G.I.s fighting inhuman monsters — and zombies — is stunted by the film’s lack of energy and imagination. Director Julius Avery goes to the startle-scare early and often. Every turn, every beat feels too familiar. The writers didn’t bother researching period lingo. Characters do idiotic things to enable plot devices. The screaming and gunfire seem
excessive for a stealth mission. And the whole undead thing simply doesn’t pay off. At least the makeup effects are quite good.
Russell has inherited dad Kurt’s steely-eyed, meanguy-on-a-mission cred. Asbæk is fun, Ollivier is sympathetic. But lead Adepo is apparently directed to play much of the film wideeyed and mouth agape; there are no levels for Boyce, so none for us either.
“Overlord” leaves a wealth of possibilities unmined. One imagines it was more compelling as pitch, than finished product.
Michael Ordoña is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer.
Jovan Adepo, left, stars as Boyce and Dominic Applewhite is Rosenfeld in a scene from “Overlord.”