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Iron Sky: The Coming Race

Year: 2019
Production Co: Iron Sky Universe
Director: Timo Vuorensola
Writer: Dalan Musson/Jarmo Puskala/Johanna Sinisalo/Samuli Torssonen/Timo Vuorensola
Cast: Lara Rossi, Stephanie Paul, Tom Green, Udo Kier

The original Iron Sky had a lot riding on it. Because it was a crowdfunded effort we'd all heard about and been looking forward to the action/horror/comedy/thriller about a secret Nazi base on the moon for years before the film actually came out. When it did it was a hoot – believing in itself enough while not taking itself too seriously and wrangling very impressive effects for the money spent (for Australian trivia hounds it was a co-production between several European film bodies and home grown company New Holland Pictures).

Unfortunately, while the second film by original director Timo Vuorensola still looks great for the minuscule budget (the equivalent of US$21m), it suffers a bit too much from the Highlander 2 problem, inventing a vast backstory where one wasn't needed and undoing everything that was fun and iconic about the original.

It's 20 years since the Nazis who'd colonised the moon at the end of World War 2 returned to Earth to exact their revenge, powered by Helium 3 mining. The war for Earth has devastated the surface and rendered the planet inhospitable, so the last human survivors now live with the Nazis in an uneasy truce in the deteriorating moon cities.

Heroine Obi (Lara Rossi) is an engineer who keeps the life support systems running in the crumbling colony, and her mother, a senior political figure, is slowly dying from a strange disease. When she meets the former führer (played dependably by professional pretend Nazi Udo Kier) he gives her a strange substance that cures her mother and can save the whole colony if they can find enough of it. He tells her more of it can be found on Earth courtesy of an alien race that lived in the time of the dinosaurs and are now hiding underground the ruined surface.

Returning to Earth with a posse, Obi infiltrates the alien stronghold to find dinosaur guards, alien copies of historical figures and more, and the race is on to swipe the magical substance and get back to the moon with it in time.

While there are some funny lines and situations to be had in the setup (Hitler bursting through the gates of the moon base astride a tyrannosaur shouting 'Sieg Heil, Motherfuckers' is a particular standout), it all falls in a bit of a heap and at some point you'll realise it's not about Nazis on the moon any more, much of the comic mojo of the original gone.

It does take some wryly funny shots at cultural movements like the legacy of Steve Jobs being an official religion, but a lot of the subversive political satire that propped up the original film like the Sarah Palinesque US President is lost, and it's just a VFX romp that doesn't have very distinctive characters.

Worth a few laughs, but not much more.

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