First of all, if that title of this film didn't grab you, you're clearly not someone who would appreciate a movie by The Asylum; you'd be better off watching The Tree of Life or The Great Gatsby, or something just as boring and pretentious.
The Asylum has been putting out entertaining movies on the cheap for quite a few years now, but this seems to be the moment in time that they are getting the recognition they deserve. Perhaps their success is based on their exclusive deal with Netflix streaming online, it could be the fact that their Blu-Ray discs are priced at around ten dollars each, or it might just be that a lot of the films star nostalgic icons, such as Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, and Jaleel White. I personally think the reason is that audiences simply cannot resist silly and fun titles such as 2-Headed Shark Attack and Mega Python vs. Gatoroid. Whatever the reason may be, one can safely say that you cannot start a movie from The Asylum without knowing what you're getting into beforehand. You must have a certain mindset when popping in a disc called Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus.
As I feel that what William Castle set out to do in the 1950s was continued by the drive-in and grindhouse flicks in the 1970s, revamped for the home video market in the 1980s and 1990s by Troma Studios and Full Moon Pictures, The Asylum has taken the B-movie torch and carried it over into the digital age.
The film takes place at the South Pole, where a band of scientists led by Jake (The Frighteners) Busey discover an underground paradise whose only inhabitants are a handful of decaying Nazis commanded by Josef Mengele intent on creating the Fourth Reich and taking over the world with the secret weapons they possess.
The first half of the film seemed like it was going the very dark torture-porn route, with a rather unfortunate victim being gruesomely skinned alive, and a woman getting gang raped in the shower by Nazi zombies, but it soon after makes a complete U-turn, and the film goes completely gonzo, becoming a campy fun free-for-all, in what climaxes into one of the most memorable scenes in movie history. Of course, Jake goes full-on Busey; the Nazis have disintegrating laser guns; heads get chopped off and impaled; the undead Axis have an enormous, functional flying saucer (complete with giant swastika); and they may have saved Hitler's brain, but just wait 'til you see what they did with it!
I had a blast with this one. Jam packed with so many special effects, it would be unfair to criticize some of the CGI shots. In fact, some of the most fun scenes in this film are cartoony, but those scenes are what give this flick its charm. The practical effects are ooey, gooey, and very well done; they certainly did not skimp on the red stuff.
The dialogue is mostly the usual fare, with some of the acting by the Americans ranging from simply okay to embarrassingly bad. What I found hilarious was the overuse of English subtitles when German was being spoken, using them even when not necessary. Did we really need the subtitles to tell us that "gut" (sounds like "goot") was "good", or when the baddies are about to shoot a weapon and one yells "feuer" (sounds like "foy-er"), that it was German for "fire"? Apparently, the guy in charge of subtitles thought so.
Things I learned from this movie:
- Australians routinely fly B-17 bombers equipped with Maverick missiles, which shoot out from behind the propellers.
- Skin grafts will help you live to be over a hundred years old, even if you have a flesh eating disease.
- That steampunk-like device which closely resembles the machine that makes Everlasting Gobstoppers is more than meets the eye.
If you were to mix one part The Thing with two equal parts of Zombie Lake and Shock Waves, mix with a cup of Hostel, and sprinkle in a dash of Robot Jox for good measure, you'd have something which resembles Nazis at the Center of the Earth. Just don't forget to frost it with one of the craziest endings of all time, and you've got a satisfying little meal that's great to break out for friends, just to see their reactions. Just be sure that they like cheese, and a lot of it.
I give this one four out of five stars, for sheer fun value alone.