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E.C. McMullen Jr.
Head Production Designer
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
I have no idea what the financial side of being a mercenary is like. I imagine sometimes jobs might be few and far between. But damn, if a mysterious guy wants you to help him get to an abandoned underground bunker in the middle of nowhere, think it through, dude.
OUTPOST was written by Rae Brunton and directed by Steve Barker. It opens in a seedy bar somewhere in Eastern Europe. Down on his luck soldier of fortune DC (Ray Stevenson: PUNISHER: WAR ZONE) meets with a mysterious man named Hunt (Julian Wadham: DOMINION: PREQUEL TO THE EXORCIST, EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING). Hunt needs to get to an old military outpost for reasons of his own, but it's located in a U.N. "safe zone" (ha!) between territory occupied by government troops and territory controlled by insurgents.
Money changes hands and DC puts together a team. They drive into the badlands and find the unlocked entrance to the underground bunker deep in the woods. Hints of strangeness and danger start small but become impossible to ignore very quickly, starting with a giant swastika on the wall. This isn't an old Soviet facility. It's older and far more sinister.
The mercenaries dig in to keep their employer safe while they speculate about what he's really after. Nazi gold is a popular theory but Hunt is really there for technology. More on that later.
Stone cold killer Prior (Richard Brake: CUCKOO) and religious medic Jordan (Paul Blair: BOOK OF BLOOD) have some interesting back and forth as the creepiness of this Nazi research facility causes Jordan to consider the afterlife, something Prior doesn't believe in. This gets worse when the soldiers find a pile of fresh corpses in a strange chamber above a lab. One of the dead turns out to be alive (though he still looks really dead) but this survivor (Johnny Meres) seems catatonic and offers no information on what happened here.
What did happen here? Hunt locates the technology he's looking for and before you can say super soldiers, let me confirm that yes, as is usually the case in horror movies, the Nazi scientists were trying to find ways to make invincible armies and something went horribly wrong. But this time it involved Einstein and some true lies.
The movie implies that Einstein gave up his search for a single equation that would explain all the forces of nature because the atomic bomb terrified him into destroying all his notes. In fact, the A-bomb wasn't based on anything to do with Unified Field Theory and Einstein kept looking for that equation 'til the day he died.
Fascinating, right? But how does that lead to Nazi super soldiers? For that you have to watch the movie but the explanation given is sort of workable though not really consistent. Sometimes you see the soldiers get injured and survive and sometimes bullets don’t hurt them at all. Which is it?
That nit-pick aside, this is a pretty cool movie. The characters are always interesting and worth caring about, the reveal of the Nazi leader was scary but left me with a pleasant humming sensation and the ending was an unexpected choice that worked quite well. Plus there's a wonderfully creepy animated Nazi propaganda film found among the old records that I had to rewind and watch again.
I give OUTPOST four shriek girls.
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