“The Puppets are back!”
What’s it About?
After foiling a plot to blow up an American arms plant, Danny Coogan and his girlfriend, Beth, quickly find that their troubles have just begun. One of Toulon’s mysterious Puppets has been kidnapped by the Nazis, and under the wicked, watchful eye of the occultist Commandant Moebius, the Puppets’ life-giving serum is synthesized to create a master race of unstoppable soldiers.
“Puppet Master X – Axis Rising”
Directed by Charles Band
4 out of 10
Wow. Ten Puppet Master films. This is one long and somewhat successful franchise about Andre Toulon and his murderous puppets. One would need a flow chart to follow just where this entry is supposed to lie. It’s a sequel to a prequel that takes place after PM3 or something like that. Ten movies is plenty enough to fuck everything up with continuity I suppose. What band does here is deliver a very uneventful and boring entry that is neither very scary or very interesting.
Too bad because the set up was cool. Axis starts after Axis of Evil too. Danny Coogan (Kip Canyon) and his partner and girlfriend Beth (Jean Louise O’ Sullivan) prevent a plot to destroy an American Arms Plant and soon afterwards they and the funky puppets created by Andre Toulon must save one of their own from Nazi captivity.
The gang is all here – Blade, Pinhead, Leech Woman and Jester come together to mete out some terrifying justice. Then throw in Commandant Moebius using a serum from the puppets and we have a plot to create some evil Nazis Puppets. They are pretty hardcore too. Including Blitzkrieg, Bombshell and Kamikaze. The wildly over the top Brad Potts plays Sgt. Stone and he with the help of Toulon’s Puppets try to face the insurmountable odds against the newly fabricated Nazi Puppets.
Getting all of this so far? OK good. We are introduced to Six Shooter as well. A bit too little to late though. Not much happens Puppet wise for a while but when it finally happens we are just mildly interested because the film is just so shoddy and poorly executed you don’t really have anything to keep your interest up.
Charles Band (This is his first time directing a Puppet film) replaces David DeCouteau in directing duties and he succeeds in displaying some very uninspired storytelling and pace. Shane Bitterling (Beneath Loch Ness) writes the story. The puppets are underused and there are too many subplots to follow but some cheesy fun could be had when a human and a puppet engage in fisticuffs. Funniest thing you’ll ever see. Some actors like Beth and Danny have been recast in order to inject new blood and charm into the franchise. It only works halfway though.
The movie has a certain zero budget charm in parts but the Puppets aren’t evil or destructive enough like in previous entries. There is of course a set up for another entry or sequel towards the movie’s end. But by the time we get there we long to revisit better titles in the franchise . Watching Blade and Leech Woman jump in to save everyone from Moebius was a bit fun but the very low budget and uninspired direction weakens the impact of the wrap up and climax. Too bad. I like movies about killer puppets. If you do too and respect them, totally avoid this mess.