The 25th Reich, 2012.
Directed by Stephen Amis.
Starring Jim Knobeloch, Serge De Nardo, Angelo Salamanca, Jak Wyld and Dan Balcaban.
During World War II, five US soldiers are selected to travel forward in time to protect the world from the tyranny of Hitler’s 25th Reich.
There has always been in this argument within the film medium that certain movies can be ‘so bad that they’re actually good’ which is what I feel the filmmaking team behind The 25th Reich were going for. However, when going down this route you walk a very thin line between ‘so bad it’s good’ and ‘so bad it’s awful’.
The 25th Reich almost feels like it could have come from the back catalogue of the Troma movies, with a plot surrounding time travel and giant robot spider-Nazis. It’s completely insane which is why it should have been great, but unfortunately there is far too much wrong with the film to it really be worth your while.
Because the film was made on such a low budget, corners have to be cut. Sadly the corners they chose to cut include time travel elements, giant robot spider-Nazis, set dressing, locations and, most insultingly, an ending. All we are left with is 85 minutes of several guys with bad accents spouting terrible dialogue while we wait for something to actually happen. All of the great stuff promised in the trailer is saved for the final moments of the film and by that point it feels anti-climactic.
One of the biggest issues the film has (due to its low budget) is a lack of emphasis on location. Everything is all shot in the same place and even when our heroes travel to the future, it looks exactly the same because it would seem they didn’t have the budget for set dressing. What this means is that the entire movie never feels like it goes anywhere and everything feels identical. One of the great things about time travel movies is the opportunity to fantasise about what the future might look like. The 25th Reich however misses this by quite some margin.
I’ve always been an advocate for not spoiling movies in my reviews or detailing plot points but I do have to address the ending of this movie. The movie ends as a cliffhanger for supposedly the next film in the series which appears to involve space travel and a war with God. Leaving a film on a cliffhanger is not a bad thing (just look at Back to the Future Part II), but you need to give your audience something so they at least feel like they got their money’s worth from paying to see the first part.
The 25th Reich doesn’t really offer a satisfying ending and the “final battle” is so underplayed that it could have been mistaken for a mid-film fight. While this annoyed me, I have since discovered (through the power of IMDb) that this apparently was a spoof ending filmed for the director’s cut andwas supposed to be removed for the UK release. Only it hasn’t which means we have even less of an ending than there already was!
The 25th Reich is a great idea badly executed. I don’t overly blame the filmmakers as I think they did the best with what they had but their super low budget really dragged the film down. My argument to Stephen Amis and pals would be – if you didn’t have the money to make the film how you wanted it to, why did you bother making it?
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Luke Owen is a freelance copywriter working for Europe’s biggest golf holiday provider as their web content executive.