Sunday, September 8, 2013

SyFy vs. The Mynd: S.S. Doomtrooper (2006)

France after the Allied landing in Normandy during the Second World War. Special ops specialist Captain Malloy (Corin Nemec) is charged to with destroying a secret Nazi lab in an old castle behind enemy lines where nuclear experiments for the enhancement of soldiers are taking place.

His last mission has decimated Malloy's usual squad, so he puts together the ever popular gang of misfits, freshly picked out of military jail for their helpful talents like sniping, impersonation, hitting people in the face, and being called "Parker Lewis" in a film starring Corin Nemec not as Parker Lewis. The only non-con of the team besides Malloy is demolition expert Digger (Harry Van Gorkum) but he makes up for this lack by being all crazy about demolition - and "comically" deaf until the script forgets it.

Soon after parachuting into their mission area, the team meets the problem that will stand between them and the lab even more than several squad of German soldiers: the first super soldier mad scientist Professor Ullman (Ben Cross) has created with the ever popular mix of nuclear magic and genetic magic. Think the Hulk with a railgun, an electrocuting touch and no interest in discerning between his side and the enemy. Even teaming up with the resistance cell of Marriette Martinet (Marian Filali) might not bring our heroes enough firepower to kill the thing without a clever, near-suicidal plan.

I am, and have always been, an easy mark. Include occult Nazi shenanigans or mad Nazi science in your pulp adventure movie, and you'll really have to work for my disapproval.

David Flores's S.S. Doomtrooper (curiously, the super soldier thing really was in the S.S. before he got hulked up) prefers to work for my approval, and hits many of the marks its kind of film is supposed to hit. So Germans usually speak English with bad German accents amongst themselves, unless they babble half or completely nonsensical German sentences probably constructed with the exclusive help of an English to German dictionary, or just mix up the two. This is indeed a film that seems to think (or at least likes to pretend it thinks) "Give me your Papiere!" is a German sentence. In other words, it has exactly the kind of portrayal of Nazis one hopes for in a pulp oriented movie, which is quite the opposite of the portrayal I hope for in a film going for a more serious tone (I am more often disappointed in the latter cases).

S.S. Doomtrooper further worms its way into my heart with Ben Cross's ridiculous mad scientist who is (of course!) the kind of guy having no problem at all with his creation killing indiscriminately, because further experiments will make that problem disappear, though it's not important anyway. Seriously, building a super soldier who kills whatever moves including Nazis is only the right and proper way to win the war for the Nazi cause.

Flores uses the CGI super soldier comparatively sparely - which is probably for the better when his heroes can't win a direct fight with it - and instead goes through all the pulp war movie clichés he can find, which are, more or less, all of them. So you get the coward who finds his courage when he is needed most, the tank kidnapping, the daring and misguided attempt to sneak into a German munitions depot by pretending to be Germans (inspired German speaking all around, there), the sniper who can't out-snipe death and the explosives expert who seems to be impervious to explosions. All of this and more is presented with enough charm and verve to be pretty damn entertaining, with muddy Bulgaria in form of some excellently ruined buildings, autumnal woods and grey slabs valiantly standing in for France. The landscape shots are not exactly beautiful to look at, but they gets the job done, and provide the film with at least a bit of visual variety. I don't think S.S. Doomtrooper would have had it quite as easy winning my heart if it had only taken place in the usual empty warehouses.

Now, I may very well be the only person on the Internet who likes S.S. Doomtrooper unironically (or at all), but this only goes to show that too many people just hate fun.


vwstieber said...

Based on your review of this being 'fun', I will need to check it out.

A nice companion piece is Asylum's 'Nazis at the Center of the Earth', which is 92 minutes of multiple film genres baked into a cheesy pie crust. Steampunk, Terminator, Madmen of Mandoras, Shock Waves, Faceless, Iron Sky and Jake 'The Clone of Gary' Busey.


houseinrlyeh aka Denis said...

Oh, I remember NAZIS AT THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH really rubbed me the wrong way. I thought implied gang rape and a forced abortion (hello, Italian Nazisploitation) did not sit comfortably in the same film as RoboHitler. Or the other way round.

I'd rather pair this with ZONE TROOPERS, which is basically not-Sgt. Rock (Tim Thomerson!)and aliens versus Nazis.