Great blog collab with A Voluptuous Mind, round 2! Read Christa’s review here.
A unit of the Red Army attempts to complete a secret mission to find and destroy Dr. Frankenstein and his army of zombies (robot monsters).
The Uncondensed Version:
This is a found footage movie, so we’ve got the obligatory explanation of a mission that’s about to go horribly wrong. It’s WWII, and a group of Russian soldiers are about to film their mission, to be completed in the name of Stalin!
We’ve got a pretty solid start thanks to epic marching through Mother Russia music and some terrible Russian accents.
The first action this unit of the Red Army sees happens when they have to take out a sniper’s nest (except for poor little incompetent Sasha who has to stay behind and guard their gear). After the fighting’s done, they encounter this weird monster skeleton, which is kind of creepy but, eh, they don’t give it a whole lot of attention.
We also get a better idea for who the soldiers are. Though I really only kept track of the attractive one (the Polish guy, OBVIOUSLY) and the guy who was a dick (because I wanted to see him die). Aaaaaaaaaand they all get drunk because that’s what you do in the Red Army.
Later, they hear an urgent message on the wireless from Tiger Bear, presumably another battalion, at a mining village nearby. There’s a lot of running through the sad, brown woods to get to the village. When they arrive, they find a pile of bodies, all nuns, being burned outside of a church. Surely the Nazis are responsible for this (spoiler alert: no, they aren’t. And stop calling me Shirley).
The Russians go into the church and discover it looks like a factory inside. Because they’re STUPID they start the machines up and encounter a robot monster, which salutes (of course). Before they can destroy the robot monster, it kills their commander pretty much by ripping out his intestines. Basically now either the asshole or the pretty Polish one is going to be in command. I think it’s the asshole guy. (I’m sorry, guys, but I need a more structured plot.)
Since they have no radio signal and no idea what’s going on, a small group goes into the village, where they find a house full of animals in cages. Suddenly the occupant returns and demands to know what they are doing (short answer: preparing to eat the animals).
He says everyone in the village ran from the things the doctor makes, but he knows where the rest of the Russians are. Of course they are in a creepy old basement, which doesn’t deter the jackass who’s in charge. As they navigate the narrow underground tunnels, they encounter a robot monster who awesomely has scythes for hands and a kind of steampunk-y helmet that clamps open and closed. There are some really pointless scenes in which one of the guys is mortally wounded and the Russians find a German nurse to heal him but he dies anyway…so I’m skipping those.
At this point, the cameraman reveals that there is no Tiger Bear, and there are no Russian soldiers awaiting their help. They are, in fact, on a top-secret mission to destroy the lab of one Dr. Frankenstein, mad scientist. After more robot monsters attack, including one with really cool metal lobster claws and a Pinhead look-alike, the Russians decide they’ve had enough and leave the cameraman to the robot monsters.
Now, having been sent down a chute by his own comrades, the cameraman starts muttering about Stalin (shame of all shames)! He reveals his Jewish parents will be freed in exchange for the doctor and generally feels sorry for himself. Eventually, he gets up and starts wandering through the lab. In the lab there are a bunch of odd hybrid experiments, including a woman’s head sewn to a teddy bear (how would that ever be useful to Nazis?) Then a bunch of really cool-looking robot monsters start chasing the cameraman. One attacks him with a sledgehammer. Camera glass breaking. Fade to black.
When the cameraman wakes up, Dr. Frankenstein feeds him this weird soup and explains his robot monster creations. He gets really offended when the film guy implies they’re puppets when, in fact, they’re individuals.
Frankenstein starts cutting this Nazi’s brain open to splice it with a Russian brain, which will, in theory, allow the two sides to understand each other and end the war (riiiiiiiiiiiiiight). When this experiment fails, Frankenstein begins a new experiment with the cameraman. When the Red Army suddenly returns, Frankenstein flees, explaining that the robot monsters will go nuts without him as a leader. However, one of the Russian dudes shoots him. The cameraman pleads with his comrade to save him, but the Russians just take the camera and peace out.
Maybe this is just me, but I interpreted “monstrous new soldiers pieced together from body parts of the dead” (from the Netflix summary) as zombies. So I was highly disappointed by the lack of any zombies in this movie.
The summary also says the monsters were created by the Nazis, which really isn’t true—they were just created by this one crazy German guy. So the monsters weren’t even directly part of some Nazi conspiracy. Sometimes German robot monsters aren’t Nazis; they’re just German robot monsters. Admittedly, they looked pretty cool.
Also I didn’t think the found footage thing worked particularly well in this movie and made the film feel really disjointed.
In a more generous mood, I might say 3/5 because it wasn’t that bad, but I’m cranky due to lack of Nazi zombies.