DVD Review: Nazis at the Centre of the Earth / Cert: 15 / Director: Joseph J.Lawson / Screenplay: Paul Bales / Starring: Josh Allen, Max Bird-Ridnell, Christopher Karl Johnson, Jake Busey / Release date: July 30th
The kings of the knock off film, The Asylum have never let us down. With the buzz around the imminent release Iron Sky, they leave their mutant sharks at home and head straight for that pinnacle of bad taste, the Nazis.
It's not often you'll hear this when it comes to this type of film, but I really feel there should be caution when giving out the synopsis. While it may not have Cabin in the Woods level plot twists, there is a part that has a jaw dropping, “I can't believe they did that” aspect to it. To reveal that would take away a very enjoyable moment for the viewer.
What I can tell you is the basic premise, as nonsensical as it is. A pair of Antarctic researchers (Adam Burch and Dominique Swain) stumble upon something metal while drilling in the snow. (Quite why no one has found it before is a shock since it seems to be buried no less than an inch, but that's just nit picking). They are more shocked that it carries the swastika. This is not a lucky discovery, however, since they are suddenly abducted by Nazi storm troopers in creepy looking gas masks. Mark (Burch) is taken to an operating theatre and relieved of his face. Paige (Swain) fares a little better by showing off her medical knowledge.
A team, led by Jake Busey, head out to find the pair. Coming across a large hole in the ice, they venture down – into a seemingly endless pit. Finding an underground civilization, they are soon confronted by the Nazi army, led by the notorious Dr Josef Mengele (Christopher Karl Johnson), who has kept himself alive by replacing 60% of his endoskeleton. Using the living flesh of a steady stream of victims, he has kept his army alive, but not as successfully as hoped. Busey's band of doctors and experts are just what this Third Reich need.
Dispatching the only Jewish member of the team almost immediately – via a fancy vaporising ray gun no less – the rest are reluctantly put to work by Mengele, or used for his macabre transplants.
The experiments turn to stem cells and it turns out one of the team is pregnant, so Busey – who has been working for the 'other side' all along comes up with a particularly horrid idea. Let's just say he has voided the warranty on that Dyson.
The first two thirds of the film are mostly exposition, but certainly not without some very gruesome events amongst the clunky dialogue – some of which is in German, a brave decision considering these films are usually aimed at the undiscerning masses that are not used to reading subtitles. Once we get into the final third however, it’s mind boggling audacity has to be admired.
Johnson is formidable as Mengele, rising above the Dr Everett Scott accent, although the same cannot be said for the rest of the cast who struggle through as best they can, but for the most part are unconvincing; some British accents at the end are straight from the Dick Van Dyke school of acting. The effects are about par for The Asylum, CGI being overused, and looking no better than a PS2 game at times. When practical effects are used (as in the 'face off' moments) it is squishy and nasty, just as it should be.
It is hard to say the film is good, because there are so many flaws, and let's face it, it's made by The Asylum, but damn, it is enjoyable, so it's hard not to like it, which may not be apparent in the overall rating I give it. It's certainly worth a viewing when it hits the screens over here, grab some beers, rally some mates and have a laugh.
Special Features: None