MASTER AXIS OF EVIL
DVD region 2. Revolver.
this movie popped through the letterbox, I'd been in a state of
blissful ignorance as far as the Puppet Master
franchise was concerned. Sure, I was aware that there were several
films out there, but at no point had I felt the urge to actually
watch one of them. But clearly lots of people did, as
the series is apparently the most successful direct-to-video franchise
ever. Which just goes to show that there's no accounting for taste.
a ten year break, the series has returned with this ninth film,
and while I can't say for sure, it seems like something of a fresh
start (if not quite a reboot). I may well have missed important
Puppet Master references during the film, but
as a first-time viewer, I didn't feel particularly lost. Bored,
perhaps, but not lost...
during World War 2, the film follows crippled furniture maker
Danny Coogan (Levi Fiehler) who is desperate to join up and fight
the Nazis, the Japs (or, you suspect, anyone else) but can't because
of his gammy leg. Instead, he befriends puppet master Toulon,
who is being hunted by Nazi agents for his secrets, and offs himself
without a word early on. Recovering the puppets, Danny discovers
that the Nazis have teamed up with a Japanese Dragon Lady (Ada
Chao) to destroy a location munitions plant, and only he - and
the assorted puppets - can stop them.
producer Charles Band and director David DeCocteau have made some
entertaining trash in their time, but Puppet Master Axis
of Evil is pretty bad. it takes forever to get going,
the action scenes are strangely flat and most annoyingly, the
film fizzles out to leave room for the next entry, denying the
viewer even the slightest satisfaction at the end. The characters
are so thinly drawn and badly acted that it's hard to give a damn
what happens to them, and the dialogue makes 1960's war comics
seem nuanced and reflective in comparison.
fans of the series might get more out of this than I did, if only
to see their heroes Blade, Pinhead, Leech Woman and whoever else
back in action. But this has the feel and dynamism of a SyFy TV
movie. Good cover though.
IT NOW (UK)
IT NOW (USA)