For the longest time, comparing a big budget Hollywood movie to a video game was the worst kind of insult. It’s saying the product is all sizzle and no steak; a studio cash grab aimed at easy marks who can’t resist bright lights and flashing colours. But Overlord kicks off like a video game in the best possible way – there’s a reason the gaming industry earns more than Hollywood. Director Julius Avery finds the right balance between over-the-top thrills and a sense of visceral immersion to create his electrifying set pieces.
Long-time gamers will see an uncanny similarity between Overlord and the video game industry hall of Famer, Wolfenstein. Set during WW II, the film follows a group of American soldiers tasked with parachuting into occupied France and taking out a radio transmitter which sits atop a fortified church. Sounds easy enough, right?
These Nazis are total bastards, and below the church sits a lab where evil doctors transform human test subjects into hellish super soldiers. The squad, led by Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell), is outnumbered ten to one. He’s joined by Boyce (Jovan Adepo), a soldier whose too gentle to kill a mouse, and Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier), a villager with a warrior’s spirit. With only a few hours to until D-day, the squad must infiltrate the stronghold, take out the transmitter, and stop the Nazi’s abominations dead(er) in their tracks.
Despite all the genre movie bombast, this movie packs a valuable message. It’s a film that calls out the moral perils of fighting fire with fire. Vengeance is intoxicating but all-consuming, and Overlord highlights the dangers of resorting to our enemies’ lows. Add in the visceral pleasures; intense firefights, suspenseful atmosphere, and gruesome supernatural mayhem, and you have the ingredients for a thrilling night at the movies.