9/26/08

A Man and His Robot vs. The Fourth Reich


When I think about fun movies and I mean really good time invite your friends over for a party type of films, there are a few that instantly spring to my mind. Reno 911: The Movie, Big Trouble in Little China, The Big Lebowski, and Zoolander are a couple of my favorites. Yet there's one that's off the beaten path that I have more fun watching than any other film, and that is tonight's feature. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you....



Project: Valkyrie (2002) starring Steve Foland, Anne Ellis, and Dave Droxler. Directed by Jeff Waltrowski.



In 1942 with WWII in full swing, the U.S. Government approaches Jack Cranston, scientist/adventurer, to help build a weapon that will turn the tide of war against the Nazis. He refuses until they show him pictures of the atrocities being committed by the Nazis. He uses "science" to build a robot who is instilled with martial arts skills and wielding a broadsword. A Nazi killer is born. Valkyrie lives!

Cut to 2002, and Jack Cranston, Jim's good for nothing grandson, is tied to a chair and being threatened by his loanshark. They give him one week to come up with all their money. Luckily for Jim, he's just inherited all of Grandpa Jack's old stuff. He unloads some of it on Neo-Nazi skinhead Frank. Frank discovers, among the pictures of Hitler and rusty bayonets, a mysterious vial of green fluid, which of course he injects. (This my friends is why we never need fear another Nazi threat; they are dumber than hell.) Meanwhile, jazz singer Ann gets the news from her mother that her father is not doing well, and they want her to try and find her brother Frank.

Jim, who is still desperate for money, continues unpacking boxes, and finally comes across blueprints for a robot. Piece by piece he discovers the parts to Valkyrie and puts them together. With a final electrical jump from Jim's car engine, the robot comes to life and Jim declares "I'm eating biscuits tonight". Jim gets drunk and sings songs about his robot, while Valkyrie tries to humor the inebriated creator. After Jim passes out, the robot sees a story about the Neo-Nazi plague in the city and the crusading D.A. Dan Maxx (His catchphrase "You can take that to the bank." is less than convincing.). Determined to help, Valkyrie strikes out on his own leaving Jim passed out on the couch.

Ann finally tracks down Frank's apartment, but he's gone. All that's left is blood and traces of green liquid on his walls. She searches around and hears a message Jim left on Frank's answering machine telling him that if he wanted any more of the Nazi stuff he better come get it.Frank has been busy on his own. He's transformed into a mutant cyborg Nazi with the ability to shoot green liquid from his mouth and make more like him. He goes to his local Neo-Nazi hangout and "makes" a few new members for Frank's Fourth Reich.

Ann goes over to Jim's apartment and wakes him up, and while asking for the whereabouts of Frank, she proceeds to beat Jim up with a clothes iron. Jim finally convinces her to talk it over (by threatening her with a pot from the kitchen), and after discovering that his robot is gone they decide to join forces. They search Frank's Place (and boy was Tim Reid ticked off, don't worry if you don't get that joke it's for my Mama Bug) and find a diary where Frank has detailed his desire to kidnap D.A. Dan Maxx, so quicker than you can "take it to the bank" they rush over there, but get there too late. Frank makes off with Maxx, and our heroes are about to get squashed by mutant cyborg Neo-Nazi thugs when Valkyrie comes to the rescue. Can Jim fill his grandfathers shoes? Can Ann help to stop Frank? Can having a giant robot be any cooler?

Well, I'm not going to tell you because this is a film that must be seen. One of the reasons it all works so well is the acting of the man inside the robot. Somehow Chis Maurer manages to make the robot emote with only head movements and body language, and without words he becomes a fully realised character. Valkyrie is an ass kicker with a heart of gold and a childlike spirit that just makes you, or at least me, smile. Between the robot and and dead on snappy scripting of the dialog from the other characters, it truly makes for one very enjoyable ride. The music used throughout is very good, and if there was such a thing as a soundtrack to this flick, I would have it.

The only thing that detracts at all is the last minute or so of the film. The ending is very unsatisfying and doesn't seem to fit with where the movie was going. Director Jeff Waltrowski seems to have had other jobs on films since, but hasn't made another of his own which is too bad. In the pantheon of boys and robots, you've got your Iron Giant, your Lost In Space, and your AI, but in my mind none of them compare to this flick. See this, and everyone find Jeff Waltrowski and tell him I want a sequel. (and also the kick ass Church of the Sub-Genius shirt Jim wears throughout.)
Bug Rating

4 comments:

  1. Hey man! Jeff Waltrowski here. A friend of mine just pointed me to your review. Thanks for the kind words.
    Sorry, no sequel. I'm currently in post on a larger budget reboot/prequel/whatever called "It Came From Yesterday". I hope it lives up to your expectations!!!

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  2. My mind is now officially blown. I just checked out your site and saw the production stills from the new film, and it looks like some great stuff could come out of this. I'm really excited. Project:Valkyrie is one of my go to films, and It Came From Yesterday looks like it will be as well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks man!!! Keep checking for updates and our official site will be up real soon. In the meantime, check out our production blog at:
    www.itcamefromyesterday.blogspot.com, written by our 1st AD. Help us spread the word as much as possible!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. new trailer available at www.itcamefromyesterday.com for all to enjoy!

    ReplyDelete

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