In 2004 Zack Snyder released his
remake of Dawn of the Dead. It was a
great film. One of the positives for me was that it was straight into it – not
flinching for a moment after the first neck being torn apart do we delve into
utter chaos and mayhem. Not knowing what has caused this zombie outbreak was
something that a lot of people I knew said annoyed them. What was going on?
What was causing them to turn? Were questions I heard constantly during our
school class viewing of the film. My answer is – if we were in the same
situation, we would have no idea exactly what was happening, so why do they
need to tell us in the film. It’s also an opportunity for more action, horror,
shock, whatever the theme may call for.
Overlord is also in its own right a great film. It revolves around
a group of soldiers that are undertaking an important mission during World War
2. Once they get to their target, while still focusing on the mission, they
also find something else they need to deal with.
The three lead characters I found
were great. Jovan Adepo (Cory from the performance driven, Denzel Washinton
directed Fences) played Boyce. A
young man intent on being a good one – with good values, morals and all that
does not belong on the front line. The other soldiers see this, and he cops
grief for it – he’s “soft”. Jovan plays the role well, without any real fault.
Mathilde Ollivier is also great as Chloe. A French woman whose only reason for
being stuck in a Nazi occupied town, with her younger brother, is the sake of
her sick Aunty. She is also being forced into a relationship with a Nazi
officer, Wafner (Pilou Asbæk). Ollivier
does a great job, her contempt for the Nazi’s is real, her fright for her
younger brother is real and that’s all you can ask. Asbæk is also great as the
lead villain Wafner. He is an unreserved psycho whose want for power is
undeniable. His greatest parts of the film however come toward the end when he
finally gets to grip the power he is so clearly after.
Wyatt Russel, the son of ageing
star Kurt Russel rounds out the people we’re supposed to care about as platoon
Sergeant Ford. A war torn, battle hardened tough guy whose disregard of
anything emotional is a clear sign of the trauma he has suffered during war.
Russel is great in the role and I hope to see him in more action films in the
future, maybe he could go the direction of his father and become a household
name. You can also check Russel out in Cold in July – a great film from 2014
also starring Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard and Don Johnson. The rest of the
characters of the film, aside from Rensin (Bokeem Woodbine) are forgettable.
Director Julius Avery (director
of Aussie gem Son of a Gun) does a
great job for the most part from a somewhat shaky script from Billy Ray and
Mark L. Smith. The opening 15 minutes in a plane were among some of the best
scenes (Bokeem Woodbine as Rensin makes the absolute best of his 15 minutes in
the film) and the scene where the camera is trained solely on Boyce during his
free fall before opening his parachute was fantastic.
While I said Overlord is a great film in its own right, it also has its faults.
Almost half of the film is spent inside an attic and as a viewer knowing that
some fun and horrible action awaits it can become frustrating. In this way it
differs from the 2004 horror film Dawn of
the Dead. There is a great opportunity in Overlord to just get right into the action, but after the opening
scenes it decides to wait – for far too long. This is an action/horror. The
type of people who this film is made for don’t want to wait until two thirds
into the film to get to the rub of it. While the time spent in the attic (aside
from one scene) is well written, those scenes felt like they belong in a different
Overall it is a solid movie – exciting in parts and boring in others – like many movies are. It just lucky that the cast and the film makers were able to put it together so much better than your average B movie.
Director: Julius Avery Cast: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Olliver Writers: Billy Ray, Mark L. Smith
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