As promised, tonight’s film is the latest in the Puppet Master franchise. Puppet Master: Axis of Evil harkens back to the original film, so, watching the first one yesterday and this one today actually makes quite a bit of sense. Consider this film a sequel to the original; it picks up right after Andre Toulon dies. And with some clever editing involving the guards who entered Toulon’s room mixed with some shots pulled from the original; Director David DeCoteau (Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge) is able to pull off the look and feel of the original classic.
Danny, a young studious man with Polio, is an apprentice carpenter in the famed Bodega Bay Inn. He decides to pay Toulon a visit (having seen the puppets move around before) to offer his assistance in helping the old man. Unfortunately, right as he gets there he runs into the guards leaving Toulon’s room (moments after Toulon kills himself). Danny knows where the puppets are stored. And voila! A new puppet master is born.
Eventually, Danny finds some of the green potion from Re-Animator and brings the puppets to life. This is important because, even though he is nearly crippled, the Germans are in cahoots with a Japanese lady and plan on blowing up the local manufacturing plant. Danny, the puppets, and Danny’s girl are the only ones that come stop the vile plot. Stupid German scum. They never had a chance.
The setup is excellent. The recreation of the environments, including Toulon’s room right down to the last detail is fantastic. The actors all do decent jobs – particularly Levi Fiehler in the lead role. But, and this is a big but, the movie lacks that certain gusto that could have made it all the more memorable. It’s great to look at (I watched on Blu-ray), but it does get a little boring. The focus is on the human element, which is fine, but we rarely see the killer puppets in action. It’s about an hour in before someone even gets offed. This is a movie about bloodthirsty killer puppets, right?
And none of the few kills in the movie are that original or even that interesting compared to the rest of the series. It feels like so much effort was placed into getting the look and feel of the original down that the gore and creativity of the gore was of little importance. This is a big miss for a film that could have featured some spectacular deaths – think about it. This is the first Puppet Master in ten years – a lot time to think up some unique and “fun” ways to kill off the Nazis and Japanese.
When all is said and done, I still enjoyed this film quite a bit. It was nice to see something from Full Moon that looks so great. This is easily their best effort from a cinematical standpoint. Had there been a little more of the puppets and a lot more gore this might have come off as the 2nd best (behind the original) in the franchise. As it stands, it is in the top three to four films – which isn’t half bad at all.
Snore Factor: ZZZ (Slow moving, may cause drowsiness)