Franchise Weekend – Outpost: Black Sun (2012)

Director: Steve Barker

Writer: Steve Barker, Rae Brunton (Screenplay)

Starring: Catherine Steadman, Richard Coyle, Ali Craig, Nick Nevern, Daniel Caltagirone, Gary McDonald, Julian Wadham

 

 

 

 

Plot: The year is 1945, the closing stages of WW2, and a German scientist by the name of Klausener is working on a frightening new technology that has the power to create an immortal Nazi army. Flash forward to present day, and a NATO task force is hurriedly deployed to Eastern Europe, where a sinister enemy appears to be mercilessly killing everything in its path. But this is no ordinary foe. Only Helena, a gutsy investigator on the trail of the notorious war-criminal Klausener, accepts the reality of that they are facing a battalion of Nazi Storm-Troopers, a veritable zombie army on the march. With the help of Wallace, a man who’s been chasing Nazi secrets for years, the two of them team up with a Special Forces Unit to venture deep behind enemy lines. Their mission to fight their way back to the source of this evil army and prevent the seemingly inevitable rise of the 4th Reich.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Idea for the Sequel

 

Story: Outpost: Black Sun starts as we follow Lena (Steadman) in Paraguay searching for German war criminals with her main target being Klausener the man that was involved in the mission Hunt (Wadham) went on last time around. We also see how the effects of the first film have led to the new Third Reich spreading like a virus from the source.

Lena teams up with Wallace (Coyle) to build a team to get to Klausener’s machine to try and bring an end to the war that could be about to bring the promise of the Nazi’s invasion into a world problem.

 

Thoughts on Outpost: Black Sun

 

Characters/PerformanceLena is a strong leading lady, she has been tracking war criminals in the modern time but learning of the existence of Klausener draws her back to Eastern Europe to put an end to his terror. Wallace is an engineer stationed near the bunker who reluctantly helps Lena on her mission as he knows how to stop the machine. The rest of the characters are generic soldiers you barely learn the names of and the now Nazi zombies.

Performance wise, Catherine Steadman does a good job coming into a very male heavy film easily becoming the star performer, with most of the male cast all becoming forgettable by the end of the film.

StoryThe direction the story goes is interesting because it builds on how the last film finished. The idea that the experiment is spreading is a big plus, but the first film had a lot of a supernatural vibe to everything, this time we just get zombies and an elevated sci-fi feel to what is going on. I can understand why things went this way for franchise value but I do feel it takes away from the first film.

Action/HorrorThe action is much heavier in this film as we get to see plenty of fights between the humans and zombies. This increased action does take away from the horror side of the film as it doesn’t reach the horror needed for what is happening.

SettingsThe settings are also a part of this film which lose out by making this a bigger picture, we lose the idea of just one solo location for a bigger battle.

Special EffectsHere is another weaker point, sure the battles and fights all look great but trying to show the effects of a EMP just look cheap whenever they are used.

Final ThoughtsThis is difficult to make my mind up on, I liked the bigger picture going on, but I did find the random jump cuts to after something has happened frustrating, the fast pace also leaves a mixed feeling because it does work but takes away the horror. This is what I would like to think of as a good franchise builder, not saying it is bad but relies on having seen the first and wanting to see more.

 

Overall: Good franchise building horror film.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Outpost (2008)

Director: Steve Barker

Writer: Rae Brunton (Screenplay) Kieran Parker, Steve Barker, Rae Brunton (Story)

Starring: Ray Stevenson, Julian Wadham, Richard Brake, Paul Blair, Brett Fancy, Enoch Frost

 

Plot: In war-torn Eastern Europe, a world-weary group of mercenaries discover a long-hidden secret in an abandoned WWII bunker.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Horror

 

Story: Outpost starts when Hunt (Wadham) recruits DC (Stevenson) to bring his mercenaries Prior (Brake), Jordan (Blair), Taktarov (Fancy), Cotter (Frost), Voyteche (Rivett) and McKay (Smiley) to an abandoned WWII bunker in the middle of the war in Eastern Europe. The bunker which seems easy to find does grab the attention of a passing patrol but now the men must make this safe in case of a meeting with any enemy soldiers.

When the truth about Hunt’s mission becomes clear, DC finds all his men in danger against an enemy they don’t seem to be able to kill and a lone survivor that doesn’t say a word. The group must fight to survivor against the remains of a Nazi experiments.

 

Thoughts on Outpost

 

Characters/PerformanceDC is the generic leader of the mercenaries, he doesn’t have a backstory of any merit, he just demands the respect of his unit. Prior is the top soldier in the unit keep it together for the rest of the unit. Hunt is the man who hired the unit and of course he is alternate plans for the mission. The rest of the soldiers are what you expect to see from a team of mercenaries.

Performance wise, well Ryan Stevenson is a good leading man but does struggle to make the most of his character, if you are to be honest we do find most of the cast struggling to make enough impact.

StoryThe story is a good watch for horror, we all know the stories of how the Nazi’s were trying experiment with the supernatural so, this is the main part of the story. There are not many twists and this can give the horror fans enough without getting carried away.

Action/HorrorThe action is mostly just shooting in the way you would expect soldiers to be part of. The horror is a lot of creepy material that leads to the extra horrors where we see the gore involved in the kills.

SettingsMost of the film is set around the bunker which does keep the film easy to follow and adds to what you expect from the Nazi based horror film.

Special EffectsThe special effects are used well to add to the extra kills in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror that uses the idea of Nazi war experiments to the full.

 

Overall: I enjoyed this one for a basic horror film.

Rating

 

 

Churchill (2017)

Director: Jonathan Teplitzky

Writer: Alex von Tunzelmann (Screenplay)

Starring: Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson, John Slattery, Ella Purnell, Julian Wadham, Richard Durden

 

Plot: 96 hours before the World War II invasion of Normandy, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill struggles with his severe reservations with Operation Overlord and his increasingly marginalized role in the war effort.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Drama

 

Story: Churchill starts as World War II has been raging on with Operation Overlord about to be actioned, Winston Churchill (Cox) the Prime Minister of England is working with President Dwight Eisenhower (Slattery), but Churchill is questioning the decision knowing that if it fails it would mean defeat.

With D-Day counting down Churchill questions why he is losing power when it comes making decisions in the war with King George VI (Purefoy) and Eisenhower planning the attack, that Churchill constantly sees a problem with as Churchill questions why he can’t lead the men into battle, but Eisenhower refuses to let him knowing if Britain lose Churchill they will lose the order.

 

Thoughts on Churchill

 

Characters/Performance – Winston Churchill is considered one if not the greatest Prime Minister Britain has ever had, he came in when no one wanted to lead us to success in defeat the Nazi Germans. This is something we know, this time we watch how he is losing control over the military decisions being made leading up to D-Day the biggest swing in the war. His stubborn behaviour can hold him back but in this moment but it is his humanity to not wanting to sacrifice the men for no guaranteed win that shines through here. Clementine Churchill keeps Winston in line when he is about to lose his mind, make bad decisions and knowing just how important the decision being made are. Eisenhower is the President of the United States, he has been working with the King to plan the attack on the Germans, he does clash with Churchill while understand the same problems he knows that this is the only way.

Performance wise, Brian Cox is great as the great man throughout the film, Miranda Richardson also shines in the supporting role showing how she can keep herself crucial to each scene without stealing it. John Slattery does make for a screen presence here too showing this is an all-around very well performed film.

StoryThe film does circle around just the 96 hours before D-Day and how Churchill didn’t agree with the mission knowing it was a risk. This is an important moment of the war but only shows that moment which isn’t the part that you want to see, the story feels slow in places which does drag it down as you all you want to see if the build-up even if you skip the battle sequence.

Biography/ThrillerThis is a good snippet into the life of Churchill but sadly this isn’t the most interesting as we know his resistance could have given us a very different outcome.

SettingsThe settings all look authentic showing the secret meetings, the world where the leaders would be kept away from the know location for safety while planning.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t the best Churchill movie you will see, it doesn’t have the impact it needs to show one of the greatest leaders the world has seen at his highest moment.

 

Overall: Slow throughout.

Rating