Naziploitation Film Reviews: The 25th Reich

So we all know the Nazi’s are bad seeds. But did you know that they are still knocking around today? Some are on the moon, some have become zombies and others have decided to become robots from the future. Either way I think its bad news for us!

Nazi’s have always been a part of our cinematic viewing since the footage of Hitler’s rallies during World War II but really hit their stride in the sleazy grind house flicks of the 70’s and 80’s like the Isla movies or movies with extreme titles like Love Camp 7!

 

 

Things died down a little bit with more serious takes on the Nazi sub culture in the 90’s. Films like Romper Stomper or Apt Pupil are a good example of this. The culture then returned to its war like roots with Inglorious Basterds.

Now they seem to have come full circle again with a series of movies mixing the gore of the 80’s flicks with a slightly more tongue in cheek approach. It’s a few of these movies I’m going to look at in this three part epic. Let’s start with The 25th Reich

Here’s a look at the trailer for the film before we dive into it.

In Germany in 1944 we find the Nazi’s have found a UFO. Skip back a year to 1943 and a mix of 5 Allied soldiers are on a mission to kill some escaped pumas that are roaming about in Australia. There is mention that this could be some kind of international incident but it seems to me like a bit of a waste of time. But I’m not a soldier so what do I know about war situations! This mission is a bit of a slow starter so we get to know the crew quite well. They are your basic stereotypes that we know and love (or hate) in all their glory. Spoilers here about the story arcs of each character so be warned!

Captain Donald O’Brian is a tough but fair leader who always looks like he is squinting throughout most of the movie. He is an ex film star who looks a little like Errol Flynn. He is also a closest homosexual which leads to some tense moments later on when the rest of the boys find out. He is an overall nice chap.

Sergeant Carl Weaver is a very gruff voiced no nonsense kind of guy. He likes a good dirty joke or two, wearing shades pretty much at all times, and chomping on a cigar. He is also not a sergeant but a corporal who has been sent there to see if a time machine works! He is also something else which I’ll cover later on. He is the wild card in this flick.

Rifleman Roberto Barelli is Brooklyn born and talks and acts a lot like Ben Grimm from the Fantastic Four. However he looks a lot like Eric Idle from Monty Python which made me hum to myself “always look on the bright side of your life” whenever anything bad happened to him. The groups clown.

Corporal Haywood Updike is a thug. He is Texan but sometimes sounds Australian so you’re never really sure. He moans constantly, berates people, and chews tobacco gum. He will change his allegiance at the drop of a hat and is pretty much bad news. The gangs bully.

Private Eli Ishback is wimpy, probably a virgin, and pretty much useless. Cannon fodder.

Okay, let’s leap into this plot. Essentially the news about the pumas is a bit of a cover story as the real reason they are there is to see if the time machine the government have built actually works. It does and the troops are whizzed back to 50,000 years past where we see a crashed UFO.

There is a visible split in the group with Updike siding with Weaver, the rest with O’ Brian. They are attacked by very poorly rendered CGI beasts and then by some slightly better giant mosquitoes. This scene is a lot of fun and a nice mix of CGI and creature effects with stingers getting stuck into peoples flesh and poor Ishaback getting all his blood sucked out by one of the pesky critters!

With the introduction of the UFO the film takes a dark turn. {Deep breath) Updike stabs Barelli , the troops find out O’Brian is Jewish and gay, O’Brian hears weird voices from some druid style stones which mess with his head and Weaver who is actually a Nazi steals the UFO which has a fully working time machine in it and pops back to the future! (phew)

This is where the film really picks up speed as the remaining soldiers fix the time machine that Weaver smashed up and return to the future. They make a bit of a boo boo however as it’s the year 2243. The Nazis have taken over the world and plan to take over the multiverse! They are also now immortal, pretty much. This is in thanks to changing their bodies into spider/crab style robots thanks to a flying swastika (I swear I am not making this up!)

Ishback dies but the Nazis bring him back (as they can do that kind of thing now) so the now Nazi Updike can chase him around while shooting his laser! If this seems a bit rude you aint seen nothing yet as Updike decides to rape O’Brian with his robotic ding dong. Luckily for him Barellis is back and helps save the day! They manage to kill Updike but the rest of the Nazis leave to conquer the multiverse. The film ends on a cliff hanger with the remaining troops ready to get in a UFO and show those Nazis what for!

The problem I have with this movie is essentially its not as much fun as you think it will be! The trailer looks great with Nazi robots popping up but all this happens right at the last 20 minutes. Most of the movie is just the soldiers talking in clichéd war dialogue which if you love war movies is great but if you were expecting giant robots is slightly disheartening. This slowness effects the pacing with only one real event (the swarm of bugs) being any fun in the first hour. Then it’s a mad race to cram all this fighting into the last 20 minutes and it makes the film suffer. Some of the CGI is very rough around the edges (which does not help when these are the bits you are looking forward to) with only the robots and the UFOs looking good. In fairness these look really good!

Another thing is that it’s a bit silly. Yeah I know that’s rich coming from someone looking forward to seeing Nazi robots but stay with me on this. The 50’s Sci-Fi feel is great and is used to awesome effect at the very start with the captions for each character. It’s like a little animated movie. But there are just some things I cannot swallow, like the stones that are in the past that talk to O’Brian. What do they do? Why are they there? And what are they saying to the Captain? You can never really tell. Is it the aliens consciousness that’s stored in there and reaching out to anyone who can hear? I’m guessing it is as there are no humans knocking about in the area. Or is it the aliens expanding O’Brian’s mind so he can mend a thing as alien as a time machine? It’s never explained and is a bit annoying to be honest. Aside from opening the UFO doors and helping fix the time machine I don’t see what else they contribute to the story.

How come the aliens (who we never see which must be classed as a massive error on the filmmaker’s part) can build a nice retro UFO but their time machine is so easy to make O’Brian repairs it himself? So the voices in the stones helped out but all the pieces were right there for him to use 50,000 years in the past! The insides look like an old wireless radio and it just plain sucks! In my view the worst time machine ever!

Also Nazi beams changing people into robots and reviving the dead! A little exposition would have been handy, I’m not talking a massive monologue here but something! These Nazi robots seem to feel pain as when ever they get smacked about they aint to happy about it and they can be killed. If the Nazis can revive the dead why can they not make a laser that fires straight or a robot that will not be blown up?

And where the heck did Barellis come from? He was dead, then not dead, then they escape in the time machine (but he is no where to be seen) and then he pops up in the future! How the heck does this time machine work! Does it just return everything to its point of origin or did he sneak a ride later as he is not there when they all get back to the future? This is probably just this reviewer reading too much into it but that’s what happens when nothing happens for about an hour in a movie. Your mind tends to focus on the mundane and unexplained aspects of the script.

Overall it’s okay to watch at least once but it’s not worth a second viewing as the fun aspect is just not there. Shame as this could have been amazing!

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