OUTPOST

1.5 out of 10 

Release Date: 16th May 2008

Director: Steve Barker (Outpost 2)

Cast: Ray Stevenson, Julian Wadham, Richard Brake, Michael Smiley, Brett Fancey, Enoch Frost, Paul Blair, Julian Rivett and Johnny Meres

Writer: Rae Brunton

Trailer: OUTPOST

READ JOE PESCI’S DESPICABLE REVIEW OF OUTPOST…. Hahahahahaha! Downnnn Below in his hairy bunker….

Outpost was released in 2008 and is only really getting the Britpic treatment because of the existence of its wayyyyy superior sequel, Outpost 2: Black Sun.  It’s certainly not because it’s a landmark film like Rise Of The Footsoldier or Kidulthood.  There is absolutely nothing I can recommend about this movie apart from a really great sequel.  It’s strange that you have to wade your way through such a turgid and boring film to get to the interesting parts of the story.  What’s stranger is that something this moribund spawned not one, but two sequels (part 3 is still in post-production).  There is a really compelling idea here that is loosely tied in with the theories of Vril and the speculated Nazi obsession with all things occult.  In opening out the story in part two it may be a reason to revisit the first part.  Although, I don’t personally see the need. Life’s too short.

To the story (what there is of it). Five or six mercenaries led by DC (RAY STEVENSON – THOR) are employed by Hunt (JULIAN WADHAM – THE ENGLISH PATIENT) to recover a piece of military equipment from a bunker in deepest Eastern Europe.  On arrival it becomes apparent that they have uncovered a WW2 German bunker that houses a unique machine with powers to alter time and space perception that can also re-animate the dead. In short, its a device that was created by Nazi scientists to make an indestructible super soldier. Hunt and co find a survivor (JOHNNY MERES – OUTPOST 2) amongst a pile of mysteriously fresh corpses and events go awry as one by one the mercenaries get picked off by the undead.

So far so perfunctory.  As competently made as Outpost is there is no pace, no flare, no thrills. It just plods along at the speed of a snail. Each of the character meeting one in the most boring series of death sequences known to horror.  It really is as dull as it could be. How such an initially good idea has had all the life crushed out of it is a mystery.  Basically a military take on Assault On Precinct 13 this could win the award for least scary horror going. None of the cast are stand-out. Usually reliable supporting actors like Michael Smiley (KILL LIST) and Richard Brake (BATMAN BEGINS) show less life and vibrancy than the zombie extras.  Johnny Meres who returns in the sequels barely makes a mark here as the lead ghoul. But he makes up for this in the sequel.

Is it possible to skip this movie out and go straight to part 2?  Well no, but you could get away with only seeing the trailer for this. All the important plot points and some of the deaths are accounted for, so yes. You’ll be sorry if you let curiosity get the better of you.  There was a similar movie a few years earlier than this that I have to check out from the UK called The Bunker.  Maybe that contains the story, tension and scares that are lacking here. It’s also similar in plot and quality to Michael J Bassett’s Deathwatch, a very boring WW1 drama starring Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis.  I can’t remember if that out bores Outpost.

Outpost is probably a contender for the most boring zombie movie I’ll ever see.  It would’ve been confined to the gloom and doom of forgotten and crap horrors that litter my past but like I said the sequel expands and emboldens the slim plot of the first and makes for a very competent slice of zombie action!  If you have seen the first one, don’t let it stop you watching the sequel and the return of an intriguing lead ghoul. It’s a good thing that pretty much all of the sleepy cast gets wiped out in this instalment.  The choice of story elements are impeccable and compelling.  There’s an curious amount of evil and intrigue about the Nazi interest in the supernatural, the occult alongside alternative science and energy sources.  Shame there’s no intelligence on display here.

1.5 out of 10 – There’s less thrill in this movie than twenty years of the Queen’s Speech and even then the edits are sharper in her Xmas day TV appearances.  The superior sequel is the only reason to give this any passing interest.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT PERSON IN BEFORE?

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One thought on “OUTPOST

  1. 1.5 out 10 – review by Penfold Pesci

    How on earth can you mangle a film about invisible undead Nazis? Surely this is the sort of material which writes itself; you light the fuse and wait for a fireworks display of schlocky, tastelessly grotesque fun. Yet mangled this film most certainly is (just like that sentence). It’s as if, instead of going for the obvious option (mindless popcorn dross) (which is the only option if your subject matter involves hordes of psycho Nazi ghosts), they decided to feed in other elements. Don’t misunderstand me: there is no attempt here to make a ‘serious’ film about all the dodgy stuff we like to think the Nazis got up to (because obviously the stuff we really know they did just isn’t horrific enough already presumably), nor is it some over the top semi-religious Dan Brown meets Indiana Jones style epic; it’s just that OUTPOST is using the wrong template. It should be a dumb, demented, blood-splattering festival of destruction (whether you like that sort of thing or not). But this is basically a twentysomethings-get-shredded-to pieces-down-a-hole-by-something-nasty film. Except they aren’t twentysomethings they’re a motley miscellany of miserable mercenaries. And having a bunch of Nazi zombies running around picking them off doesn’t really work.

    Clarification: I’m not absolutely certain what the idea is with these Nazi vampires. It seems to be poor old Einstein’s fault as the Nazis were up to some sort of pseudo-scientific stuff in the middle of nowhere (possibly Borehamwood masquerading as ‘Eastern Europe’) (actually bits of Scotland – insert anti-Scot joke here if you wish) and they sort of got whisked up into this machine which did something to their atoms and if you reverse the polarity of the neutron flow they turn up in some sort of murderous guise but I don’t know if they’re meant to be dead or alive or somewhere in between.

    Plot? A mysterious man (Julian Wadham looking like he’d been told that it was an Indiana Jones-type role and was now realising this was a lie) hires the miserable mercenaries to go down a hole in the ground. A bit like Gandalf in The Hobbit. In the bunker there’s a machine that Boris Karloff would have been proud of. Unbeknownst to anyone, when switched on it reanimates killer Nazis! Well, they’re not killer Nazis at first, they’re just sort of stand-around-and-creep-up-on-people-then-creep-away-Nazis. Then they slaughter the cast. So, who are the sacrificial victims? They are led by Ray Stevenson doing his tough guy Ray Stevenson thing like when he was in ROME (the TV show not the city). Richard Brake is a deeply irritating Yank (‘we’re playing with black dice now’) who I think we’re meant to really like judging by his death scene (sorry I’m not meant to do spoliers but he gets the whole slow-motion ‘NOOOOOOO!!!’ treatment, which no-one else gets and I’m not sure why – I was breathing a sigh of relief). There are some others including a bloke who in my memory has turned into Toby Jones (but it’s not him) who is A CHRISTIAN (I think a crucifix turns up as proof) who is there to give the film a patina of ‘depth’. Even Michael Smiley’s bad in this one (he’s there as a rebellious Irish chap – again some cardboard backstory is introduced to while away the time whilst we wait for the Nazi werewolves to get their act together).

    My, these are slow Nazis. They take ages to start doing anything, and then they go and kill someone I’d hardly even noticed. And then before you know it they’ve got through most of the cast and we’re in Custer’s last stand territory and it’s all over. I suppose the dull first seventy minutes are meant to be a tense build-up, with a final cataclysmic clash. But the final cataclysmic clash isn’t much more than soldiers standing around saying ‘shit there’s an undead killer Nazi! Aarggh!’ and the tense build-up isn’t much more than soldiers down a hole saying ‘shit, we’re down a hole.’

    And there’s a horrible epilogue. Just as you think it’s about to end there is an epilogue. It’s brief, but it keeps you from putting the kettle on a little longer. Perhaps it is to whet our appetites for OUTPOST 2 which I shall presently view with my customary unprejudiced eye.

    And lastly my own epilogue: a complaint: I am sure, dear reader, that the machinations of Britpic’s reviewing policy is of little interest to you, but I only watched this film in order to prepare myself for the aforementioned sequel (which, my esteemed editor Britpic Dick informs me, is significantly superior). This site should only be reviewing films from the 2010s, so this review is written under protest, under duress and is short out of spite. So there.) (Honestly, it is shorter than usual.)

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