- Puppet Master Axis Termination: Hopefully the franchise dies here 4/22/2019 12:00:00 AM by Platypuschow
The finale of the Axis trilogy and at time of writing (Excluding the reboot) the final movie in the franchise, this is further evidence that Puppet Master needs laying to rest alongside all the other horror franchises that ran beyond their time.
You know the drill by now, a group of "Patriots" during WWII team with the good puppets to face off against Germans and their evil puppets and...........yeah.
It follows on from the previous two Axis movies, but just barely. It stars Paul Hogan who hams it up to a painful degree, the majority of the rest of the cast aren't much better and truth be told this is the worst Puppet Master since Puppet Master: Legacy (2003)!
With recycled footage, barely any plot, same generic content and awful cast this was just so very very bad.
Remember when Puppet Master started and they were actual horrors? Sure they were campy and hard to take seriously but they at least had character. Then suddenly Full Moon and Charles Band decided to take them in a goofy direction and the series lost all credibility.
I'd say this is one for big fans of Puppet Master only, but be aware that if this truly is the final movie then it ends on a low note and doesn't culminate the story that's been going since the 80's in the slightest.
One decent scene
Russian accent, really?
Pretty much everything
- "Puppet Master: Axis Termination"- It sadly might be time for those delightful killer-dolls to throw in the towel for good... 11/1/2017 12:00:00 AM by MaximumMadness
Say what you will about creator Charles Band's long running low- budget killer-doll franchise "Puppet Master." The fact is for darned-near close to thirty years now, the series has managed to continue on with relative competence, while maintaining at least a certain degree of imagination and low-brow entertainment in each new chapter. From the fun and sometimes genuinely creepy initial trilogy, through the kitschy 90's gems that were the fourth and fifth chapters, and indeed through a surprisingly fun prequel in the 'Retro' spin-off... "Puppet Master" had done pretty well for itself over the years.
Unfortunately, a troubling noticeable trend has plagued more recent entries in the saga, and it's becoming increasingly clear that at a certain point, enough is enough. Hindered by lower budgets and a general apathetic feeling of "been there, done that", the last few films have come across as a mere shadow of what the series once was, and the most recent chapter- 2017's "Axis Termination"- is perhaps the worst offender. While not objectively the worst of the series in terms of story, it's just so wholly unremarkable and thrown-together that you can't help but feel cold and disconnected from the opening sequence through the final climactic battle. And it's a sign that it sadly might be time for those delightful killer dolls to finally throw in the towel for good. At least in terms of the original series continuity.
"Axis Termination" follows an unlikely group of heroes who are brought together by the allied force during World War II. Each member gifted in some way- including some with magical and psychic abilities- the team are given the mission to work alongside the puppets of Andre Toulon in order to battle a dreaded group of Nazis whom are seeking to gain Toulon's formula for everlasting life. However, when the daughter of team leader Dr. Ivan Ivanov (George Appleby) is kidnapped, matters take a personal turn, and it becomes a mission of vengeance.
To give some minor credit where it is due, the concept is actually quite fun, and it serves as an interesting enough follow-up to the previous two movies, which were similarly placed in a World War II setting. It creates a unique atmosphere allows for some decent contrast with more modern entries in the series. The idea of a borderline superhero-inspired team of allied forces is also quite amusing, and I actually genuinely liked Appleby as the gifted Dr. Ivanov- a man suffering dwarfism who is frequently ridiculed, yet also holds more power than even he will admit to.
Unfortunately, a likable lead and a funky concept can only get you so far, especially when the movie doesn't know what to do with them. "Axis Termination" feels strained... coming across as too rushed and undeveloped, yet also somehow feeling dull and over-padded. And look, I understand that there was simply no real money to work with... but that doesn't excuse shoddy situational writing and half-baked character development. It's a poorly constructed, slap-dash effort that feels like it was put together out of obligation moreso than motivation. The story is minimal and lacks proper build-up or conclusion, there's a distinct lack of stakes and shockingly the puppets themselves- the stars of the series- feel tacked on and superfluous.
Visually the film is flimsy and has a really cheap, tacky look to it. And given the modern age of digital photography, I can't just sit back and act like that's OK anymore. Anyone with a cheap DSLR and some shop-lights can make something that looks semi- professional. So it's hard to excuse people with decades of experience giving us such visual drivel. Director Band, returning to helm the series once again, doesn't seem to care much. His choice in shots, composition and flow is suspect at best, and lacks any real thought. It's put together in the blandest of ways- every scene being composed of simple wide shots and shot-reverse-shot editing, and the few times he tries to do anything fun with the camera, it comes off as hockey and out of left field. This isn't made any better by the woeful acting, with the bulk of the cast looking very uncomfortable on-camera. It's unintentionally amusing, and some genuinely cringe-worthy line-deliveries left me chuckling when it clearly wasn't appropriate.
As it stands, "Puppet Master: Axis Termination" might not quite be the worst of the series, but it's a continuation of the general downgrade in quality that has occurred over the past few installments, and it really feels like the series is dead in the water at this point. There's no money to build creative effects or kills anymore. There's no motivation on the part of the filmmakers to try and take the series in new and interesting directions. And it all feels so by-the-books that it comes across as a wholly pointless endeavor. Thankfully, there is some hope for the franchise with a somewhat higher-budgeted reboot in the works. But as it stands, I think I'm pretty much done with the original series. "Axis Termination" musters up a very poor 2 out of 10. I wouldn't even really recommend it to fans.
- The best entry since Toulon's Revenge! 12/30/2017 12:00:00 AM by gojiseb
Some idiot on here had the gull to claim this one was the worst since The Legacy and that just baffles me. Of course, we're all free to have our own opinions on these things, but that sort of statement makes nearly no sense at all. This entry is a stylish, well-written, well-acted and incredibly fun flick that delivers in ways the franchise hasn't been able to in a long while.
The plot centers around the puppets being caught in the middle of a battle between Allied forces and the nazis once again, with the primary players in the fight being Nazi telepaths (Tonya Kay and Kevin Allen Scott) and the mystic Dr. Ivan Ivanov (George Appleby) and American soldier Brooks (Paul Logan).
Beautifully shot by Howard Wexler and saturated in Mario Bava-esque hyper colorful lighting schemes, this is probably the most stylistically ambitious film in the series thus far. The screenplay by Roger Barron is also a step above average, offering some shockingly good dialogue and character dynamics. The characters feel real enough for us to care about, while still maintaining the pulpy tone that the Axis films have been aiming for. It also benefits by having the best villains in the series since Richard Lynch's turn as Major Kraus in Toulon's Revenge. Kevin Allen Scott and Tonya Kay manage to chew the scenery while still delivering strong performances. No one is phoning it in here. Needless to say, Paul Logan's trademark B-movie tough guy schtick makes him pretty easy to route for.
If I have any complaints, it's that some of the puppets look pretty poor (Blade especially) and the climax is more than a little rushed. But these two minor quibbles do very little to sway my opinion. Axis Termination is an immensely satisfying installment in the series, something it hasn't had in a very very long time.
- Decent enough if still rather flawed franchise entry 12/12/2018 12:00:00 AM by kannibalcorpsegrinder
With their former owners dead, the puppets are given to the military to determine how they move about, drawing attention from a deranged Nazi commandant and his assistant looking to control their own puppets and forcing the two sides to utilize their resources in order to stop the other.
This here was a rather decent enough entry. One of the film's few positives here is the way this one dives into the concluding chapter of the storyline present, making this a rather strong outing. The fact that the dolls are given straight to the military in order to continue their research on how they work and what their orders are going to be for the majority of the film is all given out in the first opening minutes here, wasting no time and getting this plotline going. This quick-moving story enables the far-reaching elements such as clairvoyance and dream premonitions to emerge as quite logical in this universe, introducing the concept of the dueling group of mystics battling to keep themselves secret from each other or the highly enjoyable series of interactions that play up the need to complete the dolls in their own spaces. This setup allows the film to have some rather fun cheesy action with this mix of magic and sorcery. The idea of watching the Nazi's conduct their experiments, including them going through the test subjects in their chambers to the experiments with the captured dolls as well as the daughter, offer up some truly enjoyable supernatural-themed action as the ability to control and manipulate everyone around them to do their bidding. Not only do we see their own soldiers and subordinates being controlled in some rather tense scenes in the compound but the encounter at the refinery allows for a much more chilling demonstration of their powers when mixed together with the puppet action here in the finale. With the gunplay coming into play with the puppets alongside the rest of the battles against the controllers, there's a lot to like here from the kinetic action and fine bloodshed with the dolls in play to hold it up rather nicely. That said, there are a few minor flaws to be had here. The main issue to be had is the lack of obvious puppet action since there's way too much time spent elsewhere with this one. There's way too much emphasis on the mysticism between the scientist and his daughter attempting to explain their powers that really just keep going on in stilted English full of gibberish and nonsensical megalomaniacal threats rather than putting the puppets to work. By having both sides gravitate towards speechifying as well as the overwhelming need for standing around letting their powers take center stage rather than focusing on all-out puppet action, the film takes on more of a fantasy vibe more than any other entry in the series which might be somewhat detrimental. The other factor is the cheap-looking special effects for the puppets, who look for very CGI-based and don't really have much realism in their few scenes. Beyond this, there isn't much else to this one.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Violence, Language and Nudity.
- Worst installment since Clip-Show installment "Puppet Master: The Legacy" 11/5/2017 12:00:00 AM by a_chinn
The eleventh installment in the long running Puppet Master master franchise has the deadly puppets again battling evil Nazis, but this time with the help of powerful psychics to battle an evil Nazi psychic and evil Nazi puppets. The story and characters aren't all that interesting and producer/director Charles Band has made the series increasingly campy on what seems to be smaller and smaller budgets, although they did shell out for some stop-motion puppet animation which was pretty fun. I think my main complaint is that there weren't enough of the puppets doing horrible things. If you're watching a Puppet Master film (or Gremlins or Chucky for that matter), you want to see little things attacking big things, and there was not enough of that in this final installment of the Puppet Master Axis Trilogy. Outside of "Puppet Master: The Legacy," which was primarily made up of clips from previous films, this is probably the low point of the series. Still, I enjoy pretty much everything Charles Band makes and I did find myself entertained, even if I was overall disappointed.