When the moon Nazi movie Iron Sky was released in 2012, it was hard to ignore; at least in the circles I run in, it proved as such. While the critical reaction was mixed, the sci-fi action comedy captured the imagination of many film fans. A video game adaptation and comic book were created at the height of its popularity. While its humor is somewhat dated already, with one of the main characters being a Sarah Palin analog, the movie, in my opinion, mostly holds up; especially the 20-minute extended director’s cut.
The award-winning special effects are amazing, and the action sequences are intense and fun. The central relationship between Christopher Kirby’s African-American astronaut and Julia Dietze’s Nazi officer who has a change of heart is handled with heart. The score is excellent, and the screenplay finds a delicate balance between kitsch and sincerity, that despite issues, Iron Sky as a whole is fun. Therefore I was not the least bit surprised when a crowdfunded sequel was announced.
Iron Sky: The Coming Race picks up 29 years after the first film. In order to win the war against moon Nazis, governments from around the world launched their nuclear warheads. While technically Earth won, this move left the planet devastated and inhospitable. The last vestige of humankind flees to Neomenia, the former Nazi moon base. Here, they’ve forged a new life for themselves and a new religion took hold. Jobism is the adulation of technology and follows the teachings of Steve Jobs.
“…aside from all the dinosaurs there is a race of reptilian aliens, known as the Vril, who live there in secret.”
The official religion of the moon base is lead by Donald (Tom Green), who seeks everything and everyone is kept in a closed system. This means keeping the lower classes out and him in power. This does not sit well with Obi Washington (Lara Rossi), daughter of James Washington and Renate Ritcher (from the first movie). She keeps the life support systems from falling into total disrepair and is one of the few people trying to improve the overcrowding conditions for everyone.
One day, a spaceship from Earth docks at Neomenia to the shock of everyone. The flying junker houses Russian refugees who were hiding underground on Earth until they could get the ship working. While exploring it, Obi discovers Wolfgang Kotzfleisch (Udo Kier), the Moonfürher himself, alive. He makes her a deal for not turning him in right away. Kotzfleisch offers Obi a piece of Vrilia, the cure to her mother’s terminal illness. He also gives her the location of more Vrilia- the center of the Earth. Obi gathers a team to fly there and collect as much of this unique mineral as possible. However, there is just one problem, aside from all the dinosaurs there is a race of reptilian aliens, known as the Vril, who live there in secret.
That is all I’ll say about the plot, as there is a lot going on and because I don’t want to spoil any more than necessary. Whereas Iron Sky goes heavy on the political satire, The Coming Race goes all-in on mocking religions. All the goofy dialogue and slapstick moments are here, utilizing much of the same style of humor. It is just that the target has changed. It reminds me of the difference between Starship Troopers and Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, to be honest. Given my stance on those two films, I mean that in the best possible way.
Timo Vuorensola returns as director, though his co-writer for this outing is Dalan Musson. Much like he did for the original movie, Vuorensola brings energy and a sense of fun to the proceedings. The flashback to the creation of humanity is pretty fun, and the final battle sequence is all out insane. Of course, the real star of the show is the cinematography, once again by the director of photography Mika Orasmaa, and the marvelous special effects.
“…Iron Sky went heavy on the political satire, The Coming Race goes all-in on mocking religions.”
Iron Sky had a budget of roughly $10 million. The Coming Race sports almost twice that, with just above $19 million. That extra money is all there on the screen. The dinosaurs and Vril look fantastic and mesh well with the environments. The colorful land at the center of the Earth appears a bit cartoony but at the same time, like a real location. The sets are impressively sprawling, and the production design is phenomenal. Every moment of this movie is filled with awe-inspiring visuals.
On the problematic side of things are the characters. Mind you; I don’t mean the actors, whom all do quite well. With special shoutouts to Rossi as Obi and Vladamir Bukalov as Sasha, the de facto leader of the Russian refugees; his comedic timing is sublime. Iron Sky spends a good chunk of time fleshing out Washington, Renate, and their burgeoning relationship. The Coming Race rushes through such moments to get to the next gag or admittedly kickass action scene. Obi is easily the most fleshed-out person, and her thing is that she wants to save the people on the base and is a great mechanic/ engineer. Sasha is goofy. Donald is greedy and believes his religious babble. It is a disappointment that they are so thinly sketched, but the action and comedy are so good that it does not bring the movie down too much.
If you did not enjoy Iron Sky, then its sequel will not sway your opinion of the franchise. Iron Sky: The Coming Race doubles down on the ridiculous antics and significant action set pieces. The spectacle of it all is even grander than the first; just remember that the characters are not. For fans, it is precisely the follow up they have been waiting for.
Iron Sky: The Coming Race (2019) Directed by Timo Vuorensola. Written by Timo Vuorensola, Dalan Musson. Starring Lara Rossi, Vladimir Burlakov, Udo Kier, Julia Dietze, Kit Dale, Tom Green, Emily Atack, Stephanie Paul.
8 out of 10 Moonbases