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By Ashley Cooper | April 2, 2003

In WWII, the great scientist and adventurer, Professor Jack Crandall, was recruited by the American government to build the ultimate weapon to preserve freedom and democracy from Hitler and his Nazi party. That weapon was “Project: Valkyrie”, a fearless humanoid robot with a long sword, a red cape, and an unswerving sense of patriotism. Sixty-years later, Professor Jack’s shiftless nephew, Jim, has inherited all of his uncle’s possessions. Intending to sell the lot to wartime collectors and use the money to bail himself out with local mobsters, Jim comes across Valkyrie and decides to reassemble the machine. Just in time, too, as a team of skinheads have just stumbled across a Nazi virus that turns the host body into a metallic/flesh hybrid monster. Valkyrie, once again, must do battle with the evil of the Aryan nation.
Taking home the prestigious award for “Best Genre Feature” at the 2002 Hollywood Underground Film Festival, “Project: Valkyrie” is one of the most enjoyable low-budget films to come along in recent memory. Shot in digital video over a few months, Pittsburgh filmmakers Waltrowski, Foland and Pesante have created an entertaining mixture of science fiction, action and ‘30s serials. It maintains a unique vision while at the same time paying homage to “Sky King”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Army of Darkness”, and Marvel’s “Captain America” comic book series (particularly in the design of the Nazi villains).
The movie is not without its faults, of course. While the acting is strong across the board, actress Anne Richardson comes off as stiff compared to the high-strung Foland as Jim, and the robot Valkyrie is criminally under-used. That’s the worst I can say about it, however. Even the choice of music is inspired, from Richardson’s rendition of Dylan’s “A Soldier’s Things” to a surprisingly effective use of a Carly Simon song during the dark and demented “Nazi transformation sequence” (as all the skinheads are transformed into variations of Capt. America’s nemesis, “The Red Skull”.) Most importantly, “Project: Valkyrie” is just fun from beginning to end.

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