Julius Avery directs this high-energy genre mash-up, a combination of Inglourious Basterds and Planet Terror. On the eve of
D-Day, an American plane carrying a squad of movie soldier stereotypes gets shot down over occupied France, with the few surviving men finding shelter in a nearby, Nazi-controlled village.
We follow the point of view of nervous newbie private Boyce (Jovan Adepo), a very compassionate man. There’s Ford (Wyatt Russell, never better), grizzled, explosives expert. The chatter box Tibbet (John Magaro), who’s hot headed and Swaggering Sgt. Rensin (Bokeem Woddbine), who mission directives for the men is to cripple the Nazi radio jammer on a tower so planes can point out American ships to victory on D-Day.
In route to the tower the boys join up with headstrong young French woman, Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier), who is harboring her brother Paul (Gianny Taufer) and sick aunt while enduing the affections of Nazi commander Wafner (Pilou Asbæk) who is also harassing Chloe. Although the mission is to take down the tower, it soon becomes clear there’s far more horror going on behind the walls of the Nazi command center and our moral compass demands something be done about it.
Written by Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith, “Overlord” takes its cues from Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” implementing the usual war flick set up to destroy history with untamed rewriting. Also has references to the 80s action-horror film “The Thing” (which starred Mr. Russell’s dad, Kurt).
“Overlord” starts with Sarge giving us a quick run down about Nazis, describing just how evil they are. Think “Raiders of the Lost Ark” only way more creepy. These Nazis are defilers, torturers and murderers so bent on their own delusions of absolute domination; they misjudge the power of a scrappy, brave, resourceful band of Americans who are willing to stand up to them.
The killer first five minutes signal we’re in for a wild ride with this dark, intense and bloody take on a World War II flick. If anyone ever wished “Saving Private Ryan” was more of a B-movie splatter fest, “Overlord” is the movie for you.
R (for strong bloody violence, disturbing images, language, and brief sexual content.)
REVIEW SCORE/ B+