By David Dent
Whoo hoo, this is a thrill ride, and make no mistake!
Just so we’re really clear, despite JJ Abrams as producer, this is not an addition to the Cloverfield universe (which is a pretty shaky concept anyway). It is an epically loud mashup of Inglorious Basterds, Island of Lost Souls, Re-Animator and the 1980s game ‘Castle Wolfenstein’.
Yep, there’s a lot going on.
A group of US soldiers are being flown in to Nazi occupied France at the end of WW2 as part of operation Overlord – their mission is to land and take out a satellite set up in the tower of a church because, well Nazis are basically bad’uns who would do that sort of thing. The plane gets shot up and the soldiers that survive manage to parachute to safety and continue the mission with reduced numbers.
Coming across Chloe, a young French woman who hates the Nazis even more than the soldiers and thus helps our heroes’ cause (their Captain has been, er, enjoying her, much to Chloe’s disgust) the soldiers find that strange things are afoot underneath the church, where odd experiments have been taking place. A serum injected into the body has life restoring properties and then some! Can the team take out the satellite and fend off the re-animated Nazi corpses?
While we’re keeping things clear, Overlord is a war movie with some weird stuff in it, not the other way round, despite what all those teaser trailers have told you. At times it is impressively gory and (at the cinema I saw it at anyway) thunderingly loud, possibly to compensate for some of the shakier set pieces; the opening scenes have some rather poor CGI rescued by ultra tight editing and a bone crunching soundtrack.
Jovan Adepo, as the soldier with no skills who emerges as the hero of the hour, transcends any threat of two dimensionality (and a script that doesn’t exactly scream ‘erudite’) with an unexpectedly nuanced performance. And Pilou Asbaek (from, among other things, TV’s Borgen) is a hissable baddie in the shape of the Nazi commander Wafner.
Overlord is a beer and popcorn spectacle that could do with just a little tightening up to shorten it from its hour and three quarter running time, but for the most part it rattles along very nicely and boy does it deserve its 18 certificate at times.
Overlord is in cinemas from Friday.