The 2007 film Outpost was a neat Nazi zombie flick that received generally positive reviews and did very well on DVD. It wasn’t that much of a surprise when a sequel, Outpost: Black Sun arrived in 2012; and although it was a confused hodge-podge of a film it too did rather well. So now we have Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz, the third (and I’d assume final) entry in the series. Once again being written by Rae Brunton, this time out it’s directed by the producer of the first two films, Kieran Parker, with Steve Barker having moved onto other things.
The narrative ignores the events of Black Sun in favour of an origins story, in this case how the pesky Nazi zombies came to be created in the first place. The answer, unsurprisingly, is that it was down to horrible experiments using a weird kind of pressure container and special serum, which is tested out on a variety of characters in an attempt to perfect the process. The latest victims are a group of Russian soldiers led by Dolokhov (Bryan Larkin), who are seen as ideal test subjects because of their cunning and toughness. But they prove to be unwilling participants in the experiments… and that’s about it really.
There’s nothing wrong with having a simple storyline – indeed it was one of the strengths of the first film – but by this stage the whole Outpost concept has become rather tired; although everyone loves a good Nazi zombie, it is possible to have too much of them. Perhaps realizing this, much of Rise of the Spetsnaz plays like a standard war film crossed with a martial arts movie; at times it degenerates into a series of tedious fistfights and action scenes. Unfortunately very little care is taken over the intricacies of the plotting and there’s no attempt to make the supporting characters anything more than canon fodder. Even the protagonist is deadly dull – a Rambo style character without an ounce of personality. One of the best aspects of the first two films was the quality of the performances, with actors like Ray Stevenson, Richard Coyle and Michael Byrne attached; here we have the competent but underwhelming Bryan Larkin and some Russian dudes. There is a random American who lasts five minutes before being killed. Oh, and the chief Nazi is played by a guy from Emmerdale Farm and Doctors. Dreary.