You probably don’t remember Outpost from a few years back and there isn’t really any reason why you should. It was the very definition of average and told the tale of a gang of mercenary’s in a war-torn European country coming up against undead hordes of Nazis.
Despite the premise and the popularity of Nazi Zombies (probably because we get to kill them again) the film never came alive the way it should have done and was overshadowed by the much better Dead Snow around the same time. So understandably hopes were not high for a straight to DVD sequel to a film that was average at best and got a limited release in the first place. Even more ominous was the fact that the film has retained the original writer and director Steve Barker. Surprisingly Outpost: Black Sun manages to be a far better film than the film that preceded it and becomes even dafter but somehow more entertaining.
In this film a NATO task force is deployed to the same war-torn European hell hole where the undead Nazis are killing everything in their path after being unleashed from the underground bunker. Into this maelstrom comes Helena (Catherine Steadman) , a woman hunting down Nazi war criminals who is after the inventor of the technology that brings the dead back to life, she is aided by Wallace (Richard Coyle) a shifty American who has been chasing down Nazi secrets for years. Once deep inside enemy territory the duo crosses paths with a Special Forces unit who have been deployed behind enemy lines by NATO to get to the source of the horror.
The first Outpost film was too concerned with being serious and menacing to really ever become fun the way it should have. Outpost: Black Sun is like a film by a different director altogether, it’s like Steve Barker suddenly realised how ridiculous this all was and went for broke. The action scenes have an urgency and vitality to them that was completely absent from the first film. At the point when the special forces unit start mowing down running Nazi zombies I was invested in the film because a sense of excitement came on to the screen.
Despite this new-found sense of excitement, the film is still deeply flawed. For one thing Richard Coyle gives one of the worst performances I have seen this year with wooden delivery as if reading from cue cards and an awful American accent. The special forces characters are all stock clichés for this type of movie, as soon as they show up they are swearing and making threatening gestures to the ‘civilians’ and of course one of them is Scottish.
Only really Catherine Steadman makes any impression with a great opening scene but she is sadly side-lined for most of the middle of the film. The plot also meanders around the mid-section, the Special Forces unit abandon Helena for some reason and then she runs around a bit and is back with them inside of ten minutes which was confusing. After the initial undead onslaught the film loses focus as the soldiers wander around swearing and looking for something seemingly to pad out the running time. Luckily it comes back full force once we discover that EMP is the only thing that will bring down the undead and a Nazi witch with a syringe starts wandering around cackling, it makes little sense but is fun anyway.
A straight to DVD sequel that is actually watchable is a rarity and this is actually better than the first film and perfect post pub viewing for a weekend.