Directed by Kieran Parker
You know, sometimes it all just seems like far too much a waste of your life willingly subjecting yourself to the swathes of utter drivel that populate this genre, let alone then sitting down to write about it — but then you realise that people need to be warned. They need to know the truth. They need to be informed of these pieces of life-sucking filmic detritus so that they, too, are spared the pain of sacrificing a chunk of their precious time to the cinematic equivalent of an acid-based colonic irrigation.
That’s why I finished this film — and that, too, is why I’m here to warn you. If you thought Outpost: Black Sun was bad, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.
Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz is a prequel to the original film, heading back to the World War II to show us the origins of the Nazi’s zombie soldier brigade. Here, a group of Russian Spetsnaz operatives are trudging through the woods, taking out the enemy on their way to investigate a rumoured secret experimentation bunker. Along the way, they suffer a surprise attack courtesy of the Reich and their muck-faced crazy-zombie-on-a-leash special weapon. Numbers greatly reduced, the remaining Russians are shepherded off to the bunker to take part in the evil Strasser’s attempts to create the ultimate super soldier.
Yes, it’s as derivative as it sounds. Transmutation is of course achieved via the injection of a special serum (referred to only as, indeed, “the serum” throughout), and exposure to extreme temperatures and pressure in a special conditioning chamber. When our Russians first arrive, they’re stuck in a dank basement and subjected to Zombie Fight Club as they’re forced to go knuckle-to-knuckle with a hulking zombie brute. From there, we get a walkthrough of the Nazi plans courtesy of an overly theatrical McKell as the stereotypical Strasser, before the requisite bid for freedom. Along the way we have Nazis both alive and dead being shot at, grenades are thrown, things in corridors explode and people generally get beaten to death. It’s all exceptionally uninspiring, largely devoid of true energy or fun — a problem compounded by the incessantly gloomy, flat visuals and lighting. Does everything have to be brown, green, or a smeary mixture of both?
The performances are hardly worth mentioning as the characters are largely non-existent. Bryan Larkin is physically intimidating as determined Russian leader Dolokhov, but the script fails to bring any kind of spark to him, his comrades, or their adversaries. McKell tries to do that work himself, but just winds up looking and sounding like a cartoon representation of a ruthless Nazi warlord.
There’s nothing more worthwhile to say about Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz. The story is weak, the script is pathetic, the muck-faced sprinting zombie is embarrassing and the sound design is a mix of gunfire, loud noises and shouting. It’s a shame, as the original film was a distinctly underrated and highly original little piece of work. With the direction it’s headed for this and the preceding entry, consider Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz the final nail in the coffin for what began as a promising franchise.
At one point during their escape, Dolokhov comes across a chamber marked “Wolf Soldat” — his encounter punctuated with the slap of a hand on glass and the sound of a howling wolf. In a better handled film this may have been a grin-inducing surprise, yet here it’s just another depressing straw-grasp promising more disastrous mediocrity should the series continue. This is one halftrack that everyone needs to get the hell off of before it heads anywhere near that direction.
1/2 out of 5