War movies have, for the most part, fallen out of fashion. Apart from Inglourious Basterds, The 12th Man and the occasional DTV entry, they’re rare. Indeed, war is more often used as a setting for a horror film like Trench 11 or Werewolves of the Third Reich than as a subject in and of itself. Well, the Belgians are looking to change that with Torpedo: U-235 an old-fashioned tale of resistance fighters, evil Nazis and a stolen U Boat full of uranium.
The plot is simple and straightforward. The Americans need uranium from the Belgian Congo for The Manhattan Project. The Belgians are quite happy to supply it so the US can build an atomic bomb before the Germans do. There’s just the problem of getting it there.
Opening with an attack on German headquarters, director Sven Huybrechts and co-writer Johan Horemans get Torpedo: U-235 off to a fast start. It also introduces our heroes, a group of resistance fighters known as The Bad Eggs. Led by Stan (Koen De Bouw) and including his daughter Nadine (Ella-June Henrard) and her boyfriend Filip (Joren Seldeslachts) they’ve got quite the reputation. The Germans and the British both want them dead.
Instead, they get volunteered for a desperate mission. They’ll be given a crash course in submarine operation by a captured German captain (Thure Riefenstein). Then take the uranium to America in a captured U Boat. Needless to say, circumstances manage to make that task even more difficult.
For a film made for around $3,500,000 Torpedo: U-235 certainly looks good. It delivers the kind of scenes expected from a much higher-budgeted Hollywood film. Unlike say, Black Water, this looks like it was filmed on a submarine, not a soundstage. The effects look like they were mostly done with miniatures and while they could be better they are an improvement over much of the CGI seen in films of this budget range.
Those effects include a sub versus sub battle. And a novel twist on sub versus ship combat as well. There are also the expected tense moments from gas leaks, flooded compartments and loose torpedoes. It’s all familiar and what you expect from a submarine film.
Epic Pictures are releasing Torpedo: U-235 theatrically in Los Angeles on May 15th with a DVD/Blu/VOD release on May 19th. The DVD/Blu will have both the original German/Dutch/English with subtitles version and an English dubbed version.