Danger 5

Dario Russo, 2012

A bit of a departure from the usual this time, with a review of a TV series for a change. It’s not something I’m planning on making a habit of on here, but I think this one deserves to be an exception. First of all, it’s one that’s sure to be of interest to exploitation and trash culture fans, and secondly it’s an Australian production that hasn’t really made much of an impact outside its home territory (not helped by it not getting any kind of international release yet). It also doesn’t hurt that it’s a hugely entertaining show with a clear love for its sources.

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Tucker, Claire, Jackson, Ilsa and Pierre.

Set in a very ’60s-inspired version of World War 2, the series follows the exploits of the multinational adventurers of the title. Their mission: to upset Hitler’s endless schemes, eliminate his subordinates and eventually put an end to the mustachioed fellow himself. Each episode focuses on one of those plots in particular, from Rommel’s golden superweapons to Mengele’s Lizard Soldiers of the third Reich, which says most of what you need to know about this show by itself.

This is the follow-up from the same creative team that brought you the internet’s own Italian Spiderman, and if you were a fan of that, then you’re almost certain to love this one. Drawing on everything from Thunderbirds to Kaiju shows (think Ultraman) with a healthy dash of spy action and exploitation thrown in to sweeten the deal, there’s a lot here for genre fans to revel in, not least because it’s clearly a product of some pretty talented fans itself.

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Blingtime for Hitler.

The 5 newcomers do some sterling work capturing their stereotypes, from their period looks through to the accents dubbed (of course) over their performances. The production design is right on the money, supported by some appropriately vivid colour grading and endearingly shonky miniature work that all adds to the appeal. Throw in confident, crash-zooming direction, stop-motion monsters and no small amount of men in rubber suits and you’ve got quite the package.

The only failing that might annoy some is that for a comedy show, the joke rate is on the light side, with little more than a handful of out-and-out gags per episode. On the flipside of that, however, it’s never really content to just throw silly stuff onscreen to chuckle at, knowing when to go for it and provide some straight-up entertainment. When the soundtrack kicks in and the bullets start flying, it’s hard not to get swept along by the relentless fun of it all, in a way that similar attempts like Darkplace never came close to managing (a closer comparison would be the similarly affectionate Black Dynamite). It’s not content to snark on the sidelines when it could be showing you what the creators loved about this stuff to begin with, and it’s all the better for it.

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Mutant Nazis make for ‘saur losers.

Beautifully realised, stylish and charmingly evocative, this is the kind of show that could have been custom-made for people like me. Aside from being a little light on the laughs, this is a highly enjoyable series that makes an asset of its limited budget, the only real shame is that there’s so little of it (six episodes plus a mini webseries that adds up to another one). You could do a lot worse than checking that link to see if it floats your model boat.

 

4 Stars - Excellent

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