Written by: Matt Molgaard
There’s a sizable chunk of those who favor the horror landscape that aren’t familiar with the dark cave of entertainment that is the Outpost franchise. Hopefully – today – we can take one more step toward opening new eyes and sparking a bit more interest in one of the most underrated brands out there. An almost inconceivably pleasurable zombie series, Outpost impressed through two films, and continues that trend with the new Outpost III: Rise of the Spetsnaz.
While a bit less intricate – in regards to script exclusively – than its two predecessors, Rise of the Spetsnaz proves gratifying on multiple levels, appealing to the inner action fan and hardcore horror hound in all of us. This slice of the ongoing saga serves as a prequel to Outpost and Outpost II: Black Sun, affording followers a closer examination of the creation of the Nazi’s most frightening weapon. Fashioning the ideal undead super soldier means work must be invested. Trial and error awaits. The monsters must be tested. New subjects must be unearthed. That’s what we get to see in this feature.
The villainous Strasser and his men manage to capture a small group of Russian soldiers, intent to subject them to a series of brutal physical tests. They’ll serve as a challenge to the zombies already “created” (the Outpost story actually homes in on the threat of a man made machine that will transform man into hulking zombie), battling and testing their hand-to-hand skills and ability to slaughter even the toughest of foe. These Russians are there to provide a barometer of sorts. Perhaps these ghouls are already as good as it gets; perhaps the Russians themselves will prove themselves the ideal candidate for monstrous transformation.
Director Kieran Parker does an amazing job of bringing Rae Brunton’s script to life in video game like fashion. The first half of the pic feels like a stimulating live action rendition of Mortal Kombat, smoothly shifting into a battle of pure instinct rather than brute force exclusively. The Russians put their physicality to good use, overcoming damn near everything Strasser can throw at them. But every man has a breaking point. The core question for these men is where is that point? How much can they possibly endure? In this sense, the feature sees a radical adjustment through the second half of this nonstop shocker. It never slows, but the mood… matures – for lack of a better term. We evolve from the death match format of the first 45 minutes into something far, far more human for the remaining 45. It’s exhilarating and insightful. And, it’s the zombie cast in an exciting, somewhat unique mold. Who doesn’t want to see these creatures extended the respect they really deserve?
Outpost III: Rise of the Spetsnaz is a joyride with many a bloody and violent roadside attraction to seize the attention. This is a pic designed to ensnare the inner child in all of us. For an hour and a half we get to enter the world of monsters, soldiers, death defying feats and some good old fashioned ass kickin’. Fun film. Watch it!