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90 minutes of nazi zombie carnage!
on 26 April 2014
Perhaps the most reviled villain in modern history and cinema’s go-to bad guys, the Nazis, have enjoyed something of a renaissance in the horror genre recently. Hitler’s henchmen and their forays into horror don’t always yield the greatest of results, varying from the fantastic Dead Snow to The Asylum’s frustratingly comedic Bloodstorm. Naturally, this review is concerned with the third entry in the Outpost series, Outpost 3: Rise of the Spetsnaz.
Given that the first film and its follow up (Black Sun) were wildly different, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from OP3. What I got was effectively an action horror film that acts as a prequel to the events of the preceding movies. From the outset, the film doesn’t skimp on explosions, gore, death and horror, both of the war/action type and the zombie variety. Thankfully, the majority, if not all of the effects here are practical in nature, adding to the overall feel of the film and leading me to wince at some moments (I never have been able to sit passively during a throat-cutting scene!)
As can be seen from the front cover, Kieran Parker and his Outpost crew brought in a mountain of a man to assist with this film: the 6’5”, 300+lb MMA fighter James Thompson. Given the man’s pedigree, the fight scenes in OP3 are particularly well done and expertly choreographed by Carter Ferguson and at no point felt contrived or overly theatrical; lending a brutal and realistic aspect to the combat absent from many movies.
Ultimately, Rise of the Spetsnaz focuses on Dolokhov: a Russian special forces commander played by Bryan Larkin. For this role, Larkin apparently piled on 30-40lbs of muscle and seems to be channelling his inner Hugh Jackman here, complete with vest and gruff voice as he runs about the nazi bunker, despatching the enemy in fits of brutality.
As a counterpoint to the physicality of both Thompson and Larkin, Michael McKell plays Colonel Strasser, the man in charge of the experiments and an altogether more cerebral and sinister character than both actors named.
The film is not without its flaws. As with the second film, the zombies here are not the stealthy, sinister, supernatural creatures of the first. The zombies here are creations and seem to be the early stages of the experiment prior to its “success”. Again, OP3 differs from the first and lacks the suspense of the original. Also, there may be a degree of Larkin being too successful in his role, since I never particularly felt that he was ever in any real danger, since he despatched nearly all before him, whether it be Waffen-SS or unholy creation, with brutal ease. However, it’s nice to see a degree of continuity with the series in that Johnny Meres (The Breather/ Gotz) turns up!
Taking into account the film’s fight scenes and liberal amounts of gore, death and destruction, its 18 certificate here in the UK is well deserved and is refreshing to see, given that many genre movies these days will curtail their more graphic scenes in order to secure a lower rating and potentially bring in a greater audience.
It’s quite clear that there was a great degree of passion involved in this production from Kieran Parker in particular... and I’d be very surprised to find out that the Captain America reference is accidental! For me, Outpost 3: Rise of the Spetsnaz is a straight up, very much testosterone-driven action horror flick that is perfect entertainment for those looking for a blood-soaked and brutal hour and a half of nazi zombie carnage.