Thursday, 9 January 2014

Puppet Master 9 (2010)

The rubbery continuity of the Puppet Master series gets stretched once more by the ninth entry in the series. It is set just after Andre Toulon's death by suicide ... whatever year that was. It's WW2 in any case, and polio-survivor Danny is frustrated that the illness' s effects on his health make him medically unfit for military service. Thus when he discovers the aftermath of Toulon's suicide, and sees a pair of Nazi agents leaving, he takes the dead man's puppets so as to keep them out of the Reich's hands.

The Germans haven't gone home, though. They join forces with Japanese agents who are also in the US, and plot to destroy a munitions factory. This being a movie, it just happens to be the one where Danny's girlfriend works. Naturally he stumbles across this fact, and sets out to do his bit to protect his country ... by unleashing killer puppets, as you do.

Arriving seven years after The Legacy, and more than a decade after the last entirely new Puppet Master, this is definitely one of the weaker films in the series. Full Moon's budgets and inventiveness continue to atrophy, and that shows through clearly on screen. The script is tedious throughout, achieving mediocrity in its best moments while clunking badly in many other places. The acting is sub-standard, with the woman playing the leader of the Japanese saboteurs being painfully bad. The cheapness of the puppet effects remain obvious and problematic. They barely move on screen, and entirely lack the 'liveliness' that made them so enjoyable in the earlier movies. The franchise is definitely a shadow of its earlier self by this point, even though there are two more films after this, one of them an 'official' sequel and the other a 'non-canon' crossover with the Demonic Toys franchise. I don't have much hope for the former, but the latter might actually be silly enough to be fun.

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