DVD Review: Iron Sky: The Coming Race

iron sky coming index

The first Iron Sky was a ridiculously trashy b-movie made in a tongue in cheek manner that preceded Sharknado in taking a very silly idea and then doubling, tripling and what ever the word for twelve times is, down on it, as Nazi’s based on the moon attacked the Earth and attempted to take control of it. It was a crowd funded film and for once didn’t turn out to be awful, at least if you have a fondness for really naff films that are as over the top as is humanly possible.

Now seven years on the filmmakers have returned with a sequel with an even bigger budget but unfortunately they’ve kind of screwed up by forgetting what made the first film so much fun. In the original they took a preposterous idea but littered it with some really smart jokes (the Moon Nazi’s believing Hitler was kind of harmless after having seen footage of Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, for instance), peppered it with some fairly strong satire and then had a lot of decent action sequences. It had an impressive design element too, and that’s really the only part which is a hold over from the film.

Beginning where the last one left off with nuclear missiles going off all over Earth suddenly it skips forward to 2047 where we’re told that the last remaining survivors of Earth joined up with the now mostly friendly Moon Nazi’s, but they’re running out of supplies and the moon is suffering from regular moonquakes. The film’s lead, Obi (Lara Rossi), is the only one who seems to care about anything and she acts as our guide to the small society which is mostly impoverished, apart from Tom Green’s Donald and his religious cult the Jobsists, who all worship Steve Jobs and carry out around identical iphones. Then a group of Russian refugees lead by Sasha (Vladimir Burlakov) escape the earth and turn up, and one of the stowaways is Wolfgang Kortzfleisch (Udo Kier) who somehow managed to survive being killed in the last film.

When Kortzfleisch is discovered by Obi he dumps an enormous load of exposition on us, retconning events from the previous films as it turns out that all of history’s greatest monsters were aliens called Vril, and they were responsible an enormous amount of death and destruction. Currently living in the centre of the Earth (as Kortzfleisch casually mentions the planet is hollow) they have The Grail (yep, that one) which allows them to live forever and is also a handy fuel that will help Obi and the humans escape the moon and find a more suitable place to live. So Obi and a motley crew of redshirts, including Donald and his Jobsists, head to the centre of the Earth to nick it.

The film’s biggest problem is that it takes 35 minutes before anything exciting happens of interest, before that there’s just lots of mucking about on the moon which isn’t thrilling in the slightest, and even then it’s 50 minutes in when the action kicks in. This wouldn’t be a problem if it was funny beforehand but the jokes are leaden and the satire painfully on the nose, with Tom Green praising “Our holy father Steve” and worshipping flawless design in an unimaginative and tiresome manner. And even when it becomes more interesting back down on Earth (or in the middle of it, at least) it’s only intermittently fun, and the stakes feel oddly low considering the future of humanity is at risk.

It’s not a complete disaster, most of the time it looks great, the filmmakers use it’s collection of villains effectively and Hitler, Stalin, Kim Jong-un, Caligula and Chairman Mao being alien monsters is funny at times, there’s a great cameo from Margaret Thatcher and everyone turning on the Sarah Palin-esque US president as she was responsible for planet’s destruction made me smile. The use of dinosaurs is also often funny stuff, even if they are defeated far too easily, some of the Steve Jobs related jokes vaguely amuse and there’s one genuinely exciting action sequence that deserves a far better film surrounding it.

Unfortunately there’s only about 30 minutes of decent material though and an hour of what feels like filler. Obi’s oddly timed, knowing narration is irritating and unneeded, and only Lara Rossi, Udo Kier, Vladimir Burlakov and Tom Green give convincing performances and the rest are fairly weak. Even if you’re a fan of the original there’s not a lot here that will entertain, and worst of all is that it wastes it’s potential, there’s a lot of great ideas but very, very few of them are developed in anything close to a satisfying manner.

Alex Finch.

Iron Sky: The Coming Race is now out on dvd in the UK and can be bought here.

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