There were key movies in my life that helped to make me who I am today. Movies that I have loved from the moment the opening credit rolled and still love now. This blog series is about those, My guilty pleasures, my favorites, my escapes. Some were very popular, others not so much. Some of these will have some real life take-aways, others are just for fun. Today we come to the final chapter of the Puppet Master Axis saga with Axis Termination.
Today’s Key Movie:
Taking place immediately after the events of Axis Rising, Axis Termination finds the Puppets on a mission with a group of psychically powered operatives in an effort to destroy the Axis Puppets created by none other than the late Dr Freuhoffer. Starring George Appleby, Tonya Kay, Kevin Scott Allen, Paul Logan, and Tania Fox, this is the final chapter of the Puppet Master Axis Trilogy.
…but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
From the start, it is immediately clear that this entry is not what anyone is expecting. In fact, literally before the opening credits the two main characters of the last two films, Danny and Beth, are killed in cold blood leaving the puppets to be saved by the timely arrival of the officer they were apparently expecting. This, of course, sets off a chain of events that leads to the Puppets being used in a clandestine mission to take out a Nazi mad scientist and his evil machinations. Basically, it’s the Puppet Master Universe version of BPRD but instead of Hellboy and the rest, they have Puppets, well Puppets and Psychics. Yep…you heard that right, this one has legit Psychics who battle one another using the Puppets and their mental powers to thwart the evil machinations of the Nazi’s who just happen to be operating in Los Angeles. Yeah, this film is indeed as crazy as it sounds.
What proceeds is a really strange story that only loosely involves the puppets as a tool being used by both the Nazi’s and the Allies as potential agents on either side. The Nazis (who may or may not have a base in Los Angeles) are of course attempting to use the puppets to help win the war while also trying to find a way to make more of Toulon’s magical serum. These same folks also happen to have crazy powers and have been involved in a silent secondary war as the rest of the world battles it out with bullets. Now on the surface, this sounds good and I can see why this was a story they wanted to pursue but, in execution, nothing in this movie makes any sense in the least especially in context to the previous films. Having never even mentioned the possibility of psychic powers and abilities in the previous films it seems very out of left field for them to appear this late in the game.
The biggest problem with all of this is that these new things are explained through multiple points of exposition that do nothing more than cause more confusion than explanation. For instance, what is the actual purpose of this psychic branch and how is it that the US Government didn’t try to make their own Puppets like the Nazi’s are trying to do? If everyone knew about these Puppets to begin with, how is it that they find their way back to the site of Toulon’s ‘death’ without being placed in the same warehouse as the lost Ark of the Covenant? Nope…because apparently that would be too much actual story.
Performance wise, well, the cast isn’t terrible as it is clear they are really trying to work with the material they have but there are really not a lot of stand out roles in this one. I have to say though, it is the villains in this film that really stand out. Both Tonya Kay and Kevin Scott Allen as Doktor Gerde Ernst and Sturmbahnfuher Steiner Krabke ,respectively, are among the best villains this franchise has seen thus far. Both come across as a sadistic powerhouses that really should have been played up more as the grand threat that the puppets had to face other than a pair of rather sadistic yet ultimately incompetent people. When they have their moments, Kay and Allen are seriously frightening enemies who really deserved to have much more substantial and satisfying roles. Instead we are presented with characters who are given nothing but a lot of strange dialogue that never quite fits the action while being introduced to some very offbeat characters like a young woman who tapes syringes to her finders or a Russian Psychic who has a oddly English accent.
Overall, I don’t know why this was even a Puppet Master film in the first place. Hell, had the puppets been completely removed from the story it would have been a cool tale of psychic warfare during World War II which frankly could have been better. Instead the Puppets are once again wasted in a story where they really don’t do much until the final third of the film other than wave at people or stand around making strange sounds. If anything, this film made me miss the original Puppet Master films and their incredible stop motion animation along with the mystery of where they came from still intact. Instead of adding to those classics, this final entry in the PM Axis trilogy just serves as a reminder that some franchises are better left untouched in the long run.
OK, where do I get this movie?
Sadly, I have to say this is one you should just skip out on. I really wish this had not been a Puppet Master film and they had just focused on the Psychic elements as that would have been a really rad beginning to a new franchise of it’s own. However, if you still want to watch this entry, the best place to grab a copy is here. Or, you can also subscribe to the Full Moon channel on Amazing.com.
Late To The Game 10/21/2021
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
For more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here. and, If you dig Music, I have a semi regular series called Stand Out Albums that covers some of my favorite records I have come across in life.
As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!
The Puppet Master Logo is a trademark of Full Moon Video who holds all rights. LTTG blog claims no rights to this logo in any way form or fashion.