06th Aug2012

‘Surf Nazi’s Must Die’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Gail Neely, Robert Harden, Barry Brenner, Dawn Wildsmith, Michael Sonye, Joel Hile, Tom Shell, Gene Mitchell | Written by Peter George, Jon Ayre | Directed by Peter George


Surf Nazis Must Die, it’s a catchy title don’t you think? Well it caught Troma’s eye when they agreed to release it into the world. In some people’s eyes of course it will be quite a controversial subject, it’s quite interesting of course that the Nazi element is not so much racism and anti-Semitism but the oppression of a different group of society, that being the surfers themselves. There is an element of racism in there, but it’s not a major theme in the story.

California’s coastline has been destroyed by a huge earthquake and is left in a post-apocalyptic state, it becomes a lawless land where the surfer controls the beach, the Surf Nazis are a group fighting for domination in the only way they know, violence. They also oppress the community around them but when they kill an innocent man called Leroy they start a chain of events that will bring about their downfall as Eleanor ‘Mama’ Washington prepares for her revenge.

For all the good intentions there must have been in making Surf Nazi’s Must Die it’s a shame it fails. While watching it’s obvious that they film is trying to be a Clockwork Orange, it’s obvious that it’s influenced by movies such as The Warriors, it’s just not as good as films such as those two, and never comes close. The most interesting parts of the film and where it comes close to working is the shots of surfing and to some extent the scenes where ‘Mama’ is enacting her vengeance. Surf Nazis Must Die causes its own problems because the acting just is not good enough to live up to what it is trying to achieve, not even by Troma’s standards. There are also too many obvious mistakes in continuity and the way action scenes are shot, to the point that it starts making no sense at all. I did find myself sat watching around the hour mark of the film with boredom setting in, which is a shame because in the first hour it does show some potential, probably because of the way surfing shots are dispersed between acting scenes. If this was a film that could have been just shots of the surfing it may have been more interesting, then have ‘Mama’ blast the Nazis away.

I do find it a shame because I did want this film to be good, I’m a fan of films like Natural Born Killers which is arguably in the same vein as Surf Nazis Must Die, but where Oliver Stone makes Natural Born Killers work and actors like Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis and Robert Downey Jr, have the acting ability to make such crazy ideas believable on the screen, the actors in this one, at this time, just did not have the screen presence to achieve it. In fact it’s fair to say this film is one of those that could be perfect for a remake. I will point out to be far that Gail Neely as Eleanor ‘Mama’ Washington is the one shining star in the darkness in terms of acting saves the scenes she is in. She plays her role so hammed up, understanding how her role is meant to be outlandish and over the top and she actually manages to make the ending quite entertaining.

Arrow Video have only released this on DVD but it is the director’s cut and as always comes with excellent art work on the cover (which is a reversible sleeve showing original and newly commissioned work by Graham Humphries). There is also a collector’s booklet with comments from critic and author Calum Waddell – although as I only got the film to review not the booklet I can’t comment on that. Surf Nazis Must Die is a poor film, there is no argument about that but completest may want it for their Troma collection, if that is the case the DVD artwork makes it worth a purchase just for that.

Surf Nazis Must Die is released on DVD August 6th courtesy of Arrow Video

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek.com

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