Two youths unwittingly release an undead British soldier to terrorize the countryside in Soldier of War (aka Aux overseas). This zombie Nazi-killer mixes explosives, traps, and hand-to-hand combat to seek revenge on kids, cops, and … *checks notes* … German cars. Picture Jason Voorhees with special forces training.
Both the marketing and the film, to a much greater extent than expected, prominently feature legendary character actor John Rhys-Davies (Lord Of The Rings, Raiders Of The Lost Ark). Typically, when low budget films cast famous character actors, they show up in only one scene and have little to do with the plot. Here, however, Davies appears throughout in the role of old-exposition-guy-who-waits-until-the-third-act-to-tell-anyone.
The balance of the film follows the typical cadre of bumbling cop cliches trying to solve a series of brutal murders with seemingly no connection. The film intermittently cuts back to a nursing home, showing a chair-bound Davies reacting to news coverage. It feels as though all of his scenes were shot over 1 or 2 days, but it is admirable that they found a way to incorporate him throughout the film.
On the positive side, Soldier of War looks far better than expected thanks to cinematographer Ian Howes. In addition, at a mere 80 minutes, it never outstays its welcome. First time director John Adams fits in a complete three act story, balancing an ensemble cast of cops, farmers, caretakers, and retired war vets, which is no easy feat. In addition, Adams has the balls to show off his zombie creature in broad daylight, giving fans the creature feature payoff they waited for.
Unfortunately, the stalk-and-kill sequences lack suspense due to poor editing and poorly executed special effects. The practical effects are extremely limited, with poorly rendered CGI relied on heavily for blood and other sequences. Some of the traps and makeup effects are interesting, but they’re too few and far between.
It was truly disappointing, as practical effects might have elevated Soldier Of War into ‘watchable’ territory. As is, however, there’s very little entertainment provided in an absolute mess of a story. For example, the characters literally have dialogue explaining that Nazis are racist. Frankly, more thought should have been given to explain why the zombie thinks English children and police officers are Nazis. Or they could have given the zombie actual, modern day Nazis to kill. Instead, we’re left with a rather tragic story wrapped up and lost in an absurd creature feature.
Soldier Of War will be available March 4, 2019 on VOD.
‘Soldier Of War’ Features An Undead Nazi Killer [Review]