As I’ve made it plain many times before, it is difficult for me to find the free time nowadays to sit down and watch a film, much less go to theaters and catch the latest big or not-quite-so big release.
Instead, I make a note of what’s come out and, if I have the time, sneak films in whenever I possibly can.
One of last year’s releases, the World War 2/Horror hybrid Overlord, caught my attention but it wasn’t until now, weeks after its digital video release, that I’ve had a chance to sit down and watch it. Here’s the movie’s trailer:
The film sure looks like a live action version of the video game Wolfenstein, complete with similar font used in its title…
(A quick aside: I have very fond memories of the game that served as inspiration to this one, Castle Wolfenstein, originally released back in the early 1980’s. A friend at our High School had an Apple II computer and this game and we spent many a fun hour playing it, along with Ultima II! Here’s what that game looked like:
Yeah, we’ve come a very long way, graphic’s wise!)
Getting back to Overlord, the film begins promisingly enough. We are quite literally plopped right in the thick of things, with a group of paratroopers, among them our heroes, about to deploy behind enemy lines shortly –very shortly- before D-Day.
Things, as they are wont to do, go frightfully sideways as Nazi air flak rips through the plane. Our heroes jump into the fire, quite literally, and we follow Boyce (Jovan Adepo), a Haitian/African American paratrooper (yeah, the film plays more than a little fast and loose with Army integration circa 1944) as he barely makes it out of the plane and onto the ground.
Boyce and a group of three other survivors of the doomed flight get together and make their way to their target: A very small French village which has a church up the road from it in which the Nazis have taken over. The Nazis have a communications station in the church and it is this groups’ primary mission to wipe it out before daybreak and D-Day, when the communications array could harm the incoming troops.
So there we have it, the tense mission and tight deadline.
But wait, there’s more!
When the soldiers are within the village planning their moves, an added complication: There’s something else going on in that Nazi-held church, something that looks like a science experiment gone extremely wrong…
Overlord, as already mentioned, starts well enough and had me interested in where it was going despite some of the politically correct elements thrust upon the story in an effort to give us a more “diverse” cast of characters.
Unfortunately, as the movie progressed and our heroes were in the village, it felt like the movie’s creator’s had used up their deck of creative cards. Frankly, as the movie progressed it settled into a neither terribly bad nor terribly good “groove” and never got out of it.
Worse, the film’s actions became predictable. When the big bad Nazi showed up, you knew the heroes would do something about him. But when he got away, you just knew he’d become… well… I don’t want to get too spoilery but, suffice it to say, along with a general deflation, the film’s story beats became only too obvious.
In the end, Overlord was an “ok” film in my eyes. Visually, they nailed the look nicely and some of the gore effects were very well done.
But having said that, the film couldn’t build upon its opening act and, instead, coasted to an all too obvious -and never as exciting as it should have been- ending.