Iron Sky: The Coming Race is Finnish director Timo Vuorensola’s sequel to 2012’s Iron Sky and in twenty-seven minutes it takes the same approach to writing as the “Will it blend?” people take to disassembling a product.
Twenty seven minutes is how long it takes for Iron Sky: The Coming Race to not only jump the shark and nuke the fridge but to go far, far beyond. This film goes right into Highlander 2 territory. You see… it turns out that the Moon Nazis were never the TRUE enemy. Nope. It was aliens all along and that’s enough to raise more than a few eyebrows. Add to this already credulity-stretching plot twist of a cult that worships former Apple CEO Steve Jobs (admittedly with a VERY nice reference to the now famous 1984-inspired “Think Different” advert) and a journey to the centre of the Earth along with magic immortality gummies, and what an audience has assaulting their senses is a mishmash of a story which is admittedly entertaining but definitely tests an audience’s ability to suspend their disbelief.
Picking up after the end of the first film, Earth has been devastated by nuclear war, with a few thousand survivors fleeing to the old Nazi base on the moon. Years later, degraded equipment, dwindling supplies and increasingly violent moonquakes threaten to spell the end for the survivors. Obi Washington (Lara Rossi), the daughter of Iron Sky heroes Renate Richter (Julia Dietze, who reprises her role here) and James Washington (Christopher Kirby), discovers that not only is the Earth hollow, but hidden there might be the means to save her people. Assuming, of course, that the supposedly-dead Moon Fuhrer (played with gusto by Udo Kier) can actually be trusted. Oh, and Mark Zuckerberg is an alien, as is Margaret Thatcher. Because of course.
This film, as the first did, crams in plenty of nods and winks and references to some truly esoteric stuff. The name of the aliens, for example, “Vril” is taken straight from Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s novel The Coming Race (we see what you did there, movie), which deals with an explorer journeying to the centre of the Earth and discovering an advanced civilization dwelling there.
The main issue here is that the feel and tone of the original movie is quickly discarded in favour of this “throw it at the wall to see what sticks” approach. Nazis, dinosaurs, aliens, nuclear war, the fate of humanity, corny jokes, an attempted romantic sub-plot, immortality, hollow Earth, cults… none of it quite works. The tongue in cheek attitude of the first film is dialled up to 11 here but the problem is that none of it feels coherent. The original Iron Sky, while still a deeply silly film, worked within the the universe it created (the final battle scene in that definitely brought out comparisons to Helsing with the zeppelins blitzing the city). It made sense within the rules the plot imposed. This film, on the other hand, throws all those previously established rules out of the window before even half an hour has gone by. The alien reveal is nearly as jarring as the now infamous “The beginning, five hundred years ago. On the planet Zeist”.
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In terms of the acting, it’s all just… fine. Just fine. Nothing stands out, nothing massively detracts. Udo Kier is a delight to watch as ever and Lara Rossi is just fine as our no-nonsense hero. One major frustration is that they put one of the main characters, Malcolm (Kit Dale) in a red shirt for almost the entire film… and he doesn’t die. They don’t even try to make us think he MIGHT be dead. Talk about a wasted opportunity. Maybe the writers have never watched Star Trek.
Iron Sky: The Coming Race is entertaining enough, but is ultimately a somewhat disappointing mess of a film. Not really good enough to be properly good, not really bad enough to be a potential so-bad-it’s-good cult classic, it’s just kind of forgettable. But it does have alien Adolf Hitler riding a T-Rex on the moon and I can’t think of any other film that has that.