Condor’s Nest Image

Condor’s Nest

By Alex Saveliev | March 23, 2023

You have to be in the right mood to watch a film like writer-director Phil Blattenberger’s exploitative war actioner Condor’s Nest. Making up for budgetary restrictions with some juicy dialogue and a momentum that rarely lags, the filmmaker couldn’t give less of a f**k about ripping off other films (most obviously, Inglorious Basterds) or coming across as silly. In other words, suspend disbelief, get super-stoned, grab a bucket of extra-oily popcorn, shut off the outside world, and delve right in.

A crew of American WWII soldiers crashes their plane in France, forty miles from the German border. Among them is Will (Jacob Keohane), who hides in a barn to witness a group of German soldiers, led by Colonel Martin Bach (Arnold Vosloo), circle the crash site. “May I assume you all know there’s no chance of escape?” Bach asks our cornered heroes before shooting them all ruthlessly. Miraculously, Will escapes.

A decade later, Will’s busy searching for Bach in Argentina. He hunts down Nazis and interrogates them; apparently, “10,000 Nazis just up and walked out of Germany.” He will “kill every German in South America” to get to Bach. A lead finally arrives: Albert Vogel (Al Pagano), who seeks exile in Moscow and offers to help Will find his target in Bolivia. “If you want your German,” he states, “get me to my Russian.”

And so Condor’s Nest sees them embark on a quest. Joining them is the vengeful, “machine-gun-toting woman from Jerusalem,” Leyna (Corinne Britti), who refuses to trust Vogel. They stumble upon a crucial twist: apparently, Heinrich Himmler (James Urbaniak) actually escaped the war and is now hiding in a bunker called the Condor’s Nest, along with Bach. From here on out, double-crosses, betrayals, and explosive action abound. Believe it or not, even the city of Atlantis comes into play.

“…Will’s busy searching for Bach in Argentina. He hunts down Nazis and interrogates them…”

The lack of production values is constantly apparent, though never jarring. Blattenberger cuts away from the majority of money shots: car explosions, airplane crashes, and so on. Some of the scenery is impressive – the film was shot on location in Peru – and the attention to detail deserves praise. If it were made in the 1970s, this is the type of film Tarantino would’ve watched in a rundown midnight cinema and consequently been inspired to create one of his masterpieces.

Part of the reason Condor’s Nest works as well as it does is that none of it feels forced or showy. Blattenberger truly set out to make a kick-a*s WWII flick, albeit with his tongue planted firmly in cheek. The prologue may be the most effective bit, tense and well-staged. However, numerous other moments thrill or amuse. When a character claims that his accent is Argentinian, Will sticks a knife into his leg, prompting the man to scream out in German. A sniveling Vogel suddenly changes demeanor when threatened (“Who are you looking for?” he asks calmly). There’s an intense car chase involving rocket launchers. The list goes on. “You can’t just turn a car into a bomb,” Leyna proclaims at one point.

And what a cast of B-movie stalwarts Blattennberger has assembled! Aside from Vosloo, Jorge Garcia pops up as an Argentinian barman. Michael Ironside plays the world-weary Russian Yuri Astakhov. Jackson Rathbone hams it way up (in a fun way) as sleazy Nazi officer Fritz Ziegler. And then Bruce Davison shows up as Gerhardt Schrude, speaking in heavily-accented German. They’re all terrific fun.

It may not be a masterpiece or even a very good B-movie, but Condor’s Nest, like its determined protagonist, gets the job done. In other words: you will not remember any of the details the morning after, but faint traces of a bloody good time are bound to remain.

Condor's Nest (2023)

Directed and Written: Phil Blattenberger

Starring: Jacob Keohane, Corinne Britti, Michael Ironside, Jackson Rathbone, Arnold Vosloo, Bruce Davison, Jorge Garcia, etc.

Movie score: 6/10

Condor's Nest Image

"…a bloody good time..."

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