Overlord should get an Academy Award for blowing up stuff “real good.” This includes planes, vehicles, buildings, people, and the (relatively restrained) budget.
BAD ROBOT is one of the producers, and that usually means quality.
The movie begins promisingly with a World War 2 shot that rivals TORA! TORA! TORA! (1970) in terms of floating big things in the ocean and flying big things in the sky. This shot probably ate up half the movie’s budget.
We get brief sketches of the main characters; our obvious hero, Boyce (Jovan Adepo,) his tough, hardened superior officer, (Wyatt Russell) and a handful of others, as they prepare to make a jump from one of those big flying things as part of a mission to knock out a communications tower.
Then things go awry. As they must.
The cinematography for the movie is quality, A plus. Early on there are some very haunting shots once the surviving soldiers end up on the ground in French occupied territory. The special effects are also top notch.
But nobody could mistake this for anything but a B-movie gussied up. Historically, it is wildly inaccurate. **”Soldiers of African heritage were not integrated with Caucasian units during World War II. This did not happen until July 26, 1948 when President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, ending segregation in the armed forces, and not fully enforced until Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara issued Directive 5120.36 fifteen years later on July 26, 1963. The only African-American airborne outfit was the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion (Triple Nickles). Although the unit was ready for combat, it came close to being used in the Battle of the Bulge but that crisis passed and the unit never went overseas or saw combat. ”
“The script, meanwhile, seems to have digested every stock character and war cliche (no matter the era) and mushed them all into a confusing paste. So we get a character that talks and sounds like he could have been in NEWSIES, (1992) a sergeant who could have been a contender for AN OFFICER & A GENTLEMAN (1982), and a damsel in distress turned kickass avenger.
This could be fun!
Apart from the exciting opener, which brought to mind CAST AWAY (2000,) with a smidgen of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998) and the, literally, explosive finale, once the survivors made it into a Nazi occupied French town, it became awfully predictable and often dull.
A German commander was introduced who was so dastardly I kept thinking: “Too bad he doesn’t have a mustache he could twirl.”
The concept itself: a war/horror mash-up is not new. FRANKENSTIEN’S ARMY (2013) had a similar plot. I can’t say that movie was great, but it was vastly more creative in it’s monster making. As for Nazis as monsters, look no further than the wild gore-fest DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS DEAD, so over the top Looney Tunes that it is great fun.
The critics are calling O.L. “fun” too. It has a remarkable *80% Fresh rating. This boggles my mind. The movie is rarely scary, key set-pieces lack any real tension, the dialogue is not very memorable, (often blatantly expository,) and there is barely any character development.
It is also sadistic and about as satisfying as a bowl full of thorns.
The horror pales compared to movies like FULL METAL JACKET (1987) and DUNKIRK (2017) which truly WERE horror movies in disguise.
All in all, I didn’t hate this movie. The actors were decent and tried to inject some marrow into the emaciated script. The opener and closer were well done, but it was all to the service of a mediocre mudball of a script. In the end, this movie was just a big shrug for me that failed both of the genres it was attempting to pay homage to.
*As of this writing, the movie has not even made back its budget.