Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
There they go again… Nazi's causing a ruckus.  We've seen Nazi's do some wicked things recently be it turning themselves into zombies, setting up moon bases, reanimating the dead, not to mention the usual stuff such as trying to clone Hitler or watching Dr. Mengele and his wicked dental techniques but today we have Nazi's with a time machine.   Even under the best of circumstances, Nazi's with a time machine can't be a good thing.  But the real question is if this movie 'The 25th Reich' a good thing?  Well it certainly does struggle at times, no doubt about that, but it does have its charms. 

The year is 1943, World War II is raging like crazy and a crew of soldiers led by current B-movie star turned real soldier Capt. Donald O'Brien (Jim Knobeloch) is leading a mission in Australia to bring back a pair of escaped Pumas.  Just roll with it.  Along for the ride with Captain O'Brien are his Sergeant Major Carl Reaver (Serge De nardo), the completely racist corporal Updike (Jack Wyld), Italian American Rifleman Pvt. Roberto Barelli (Angelo Salamanca) and the fresh faced Private Ishbak (Dan Balcaban) who by chance happens to be Jewish and thus subjected to Cpl. Updike's relentless tirade of assaults against every non-white, non-protestant person on the planet earth. 

The weird thing about this Puma Recovery Mission is that our soldiers are stuck carrying this huge device which they are told… heck, I forgot what they were told what that thing was supposed to be, but it's a time machine.  Totally a time machine. 

So why would one need a time machine, in the middle of Australia, in 1943, in the middle of World War II?  It's complicated, overly so, but I think it has something to do with a spaceship and advanced technology and shifting the tide of the war or
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something.  How those in the know figured out there was an abandoned spaceship trapped in 10,000 BC or somewhere around there is beyond me, and they might've told us how they knew, but I forgot that part as well. 

So one day our soldiers are in the Australian bush hunting Puma, then the next day they are way back in the time before man getting hunted by the Puma's gargantuan ancestors, giant mosquitoes, and we're not even going to get into the giant robots that like to anally rape closeted homosexuals.  Again… just roll with it.

As it turns out there is an alien space ship somewhere way back in the past, but it looks like we've been bamboozled, hoodwinked and led astray.  Nazi's causing a ruckus.  The question is, with the Nazi's getting a spaceship back in the B.C., altering the war outcome in the 1943 present, can our soldiers in the year of 2243… roll with it… reverse the Nazi madness?  Who knows?  Nobody knows.  It doesn't look like nobody will ever know.

Just so you know, and I'm on record for this, I'm not a big fan of movies that don't end.  Particularly when the follow up for this movie that didn't actually end will probably never arrive.  The ending for that first 'Lord of the Rings' movie, while also annoying, delivered some solace in that we were told that all the movies were finished already but 'The 25th Reich: War With God' is about as shaky in coming about as any movie ever. 

With that annoyance now clearly stated and placed to the side, the movie we did get, as directed by Stephen Amis, is a mixed bag of Australian low budget ambition.  There are a couple of things that work very well in this mixed bag, one being star Jim Knobeloch and his impressive channeling of the ghost of Lee Marvin as the grizzled, tough leader of a ragtag group of WWII soldiers.  In a movie betting on authentic performances to sell us on its period era war style, part of this mixed bag of stuff we were talking about, Knobeloch was on his A-game.  Also pretty cool was the look of the movie, and though I'm pretty sure it was shot on something that was digital in nature, the movie still had the over saturated color look of those 1950's war movies which also helped solidify the atmosphere I think the filmmakers were going for.

But if ever there was movie whose ambition and budget were so far apart that they couldn't even reach each other via telephone, then 'The 25th Reich' could be the poster child for that movie.  A large portion of the movie consisted of our soldiers walking in the woods exchanging witty banter with each other, and watching people walk in the woods has never made for the most thrilling cinema.  The witty banter should've helped move things along but not all of our actors had the same grip on their character as Mr. Knobeloch did, and the occasional Australian accent did tend to creep up on our allegedly American soldiers which would momentarily pull us out of the moment. 

But where walking in the woods exchanging witty batter is relatively inexpensive, swarms of giant mosquitoes, gargantuan big cats, spaceships and walking Nazi mechanoids tends to get pricey, and this is where the ambition and the budget were at odds with each other.  The special effects, unfortunately weren't all that special, and they needed to be better integrated within the scenery to keep us into the movie as opposed to taking us out of the movie muttering 'dang, that big cat looks kind of crappy' or 'dang, why is that robot raping that dude'.  Admittedly the robot rape has little to do with crappy special effects, just a suspect story angle which also takes you out of the movie.

We do appreciate the effort and the vision that Amis and his crew were shooting for, it's just that the execution of the ambition for the grand vision was little off.  That being said, hopefully this is successful enough that the follow up eventually gets the green light.
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