Puppet Master X: Axis Rising
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Written by Charles Band & Shane Bitterling
Directed by Charles Band
Let’s just be totally (if not brutally) honest here, if anyone truly knows how to milk a cow (or in this case, a franchise) dry, it’s Charles Band. After the considerable success of the original Puppet Master film back in 1989, as well as its back-to-back straight-to-video sequels in 1991 (Puppet Master II and Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge, respectively), Full Moon Features have continued to expand upon the popularity of the film series with a steady stream of films, toys, memorabilia, box sets, you name it. Which brings us to Puppet Master X: Axis Rising.
Let me be clear, I was (and still am) big fan of the original five Puppet Master films, but pretty much everything since 1994’s Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter has been really, really bad in my humble opinion. So needless to say, I was more than a little skeptical going into part ten… sadly, with good reason.
Puppet Master X: Axis Rising is a direct continuation of 2009’s Puppet Master 9: Axis of Evil, complete with same bad acting, bad F/X, bad camerawork, and seemingly indifferent approach all-around. Possibly the worst part of it all are the puppets. Long gone is the charming creepiness of the first three or so films, not to mention the brilliance of David Allen’s outstanding stop-motion animation. Instead, we’re just left with a hollow shell of what used to be a great series coupled with some ridiculously lame CGI.
I could go into detail about the plot, but honestly, there’s just not much point. Basically this is the story of a guy who declares war on the Nazis, a soldier obsessed with “killin’ krauts” that accompanies him, some evil puppets, a Nazi woman with gun nipples, the weakest werewolf in movie history, and a lot of other mismatched Nazi/Exploitation-Film clichés. You get the idea. Combine this boring, cliché story with the previously mentioned technical problems, and yeah, you’ve got a real loser here.
Overall, Puppet Master X: Axis Rising just simply isn’t good at all. The film has no real redeeming qualities whatsoever, and that’s just me being honest here. It is by far the worst release in the near 25-year lifespan of the Puppet Master franchise, and that’s really saying something. I’m not trying to bash this film, as I really wanted to like it… I just couldn’t. If you ask me, Full Moon Features should seriously either just throw some real money at the next effort, and do everything they can to re-capture the glory of the first three films, or just finally abandon this franchise altogether. Unfortunately, however, I just don’t see either of those two things happening.
– Dave Harlequin