In the world of Troma pretty much all regular expectations for a movie change – so what I want out of a film like Surf Nazis Must Die is some very stupid dialogue, a bad but generally speedy plot, a nice bit of schlock and gore and to be left with a silly smile on my face after, preferably, less than 90 minutes.
Surf Nazis Must Die starts out looking pretty promising on all these counts; in its uncut form it clocks in at 82 minutes and pretty much tells us what to expect by the title in a way that hints at some serviceable silliness.
Unfortunately, after a promising start which includes the set up of a catastrophic LA earthquake (off camera of course) and a line of dialogue that seems to sum up the state of affairs since that:
“Leeroy: What’s this I hear about trouble down here?
Worker: Nazis sir… surf Nazis!”
And then we get to see some reasonable shots of the aforementioned Nazis doing some surfing – we know they are surf Nazis because they have names like Adolf, Eva and Mengele and swastikas on their wetsuits, faces and pretty much anywhere else they might be able to fit one (good taste is not something this sort of films cares about).
Unfortunately, from this point on, things descend into a massive mess that is unsure which of three storylines to go with as its main plot and likes to shoehorn in more surfing footage which generally makes no sense.
As I’ve said before the best of these kind of films are romps which know they are dumb but have fun with it, Surf Nazis Must Die however doesn’t have this sense of charm which, worryingly, hints that the director/writers might have thought they were making a serious film.
As it goes on we get a gang war between the Nazis and three other underdeveloped rival surf gangs none of whom seem to actually surf and each only seems to have at most three members (which compared to the five of six Nazis leaves them at a major disadvantage).
This culminates in one of the most poorly staged fight scenes I’ve ever scene that doesn’t even get in the requisite levels of silly blood and guts expected from a picture under the Troma banner (despite a few good opportunities).
The other plot follows Leeroy’s mother’s quest for revenge as she escapes from a rest home, buys a gun and goes on one of the most lackluster and technically flawed killing sprees I’ve ever seen – they don’t really even make the boat decapitation work and that kind of gimmick is surely a pre-requisite of an aquatic revenge Troma film?
While Troma are never going to be a studio known for conventionally top quality movies they do have a reputation, with films like Class of Nuke ‘Em High, Toxic Avenger and Tromeo and Juliet, for at least being entertaining in a dumb kind of way – Surf Nazis Must Die however misses pretty much every mark of this and falls into the category of b-movies that are all title and nothing else.