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Condor’s Nest (2023) Review

No, we’re not rerunning reviews. Giving further proof that caffeine isn’t really a substitute for sleep I agreed to review Condor’s Nest for its British distributor, forgetting Lukas had reviewed it when it was released in North America at the beginning of February. I was tempted to resubmit his review but that felt like cheating, and who knows, maybe I’d have a better opinion of it than he did.

Somewhere behind German lines, a B-17 is shot down. Pilot Will Spalding (Jacob Keohane, Halloween Kills, Ghost in the Family) and several of his crew survive the crash. Spalding goes to check out a nearby farmhouse. While he’s there  S.S. Col. Martin Bach (Arnold Vosloo, Hard Target, The Harrowing) and his men arrive on the scene. Surrounded by the corpses of the house’s occupants Spalding watches helplessly as his crewmates are killed in cold blood.

Ten years later Spalding is in Argentina where Bach escaped to after the war. His quest for revenge has brought him into contact with Albert Vogel (Al Pagano, Incident at Blood Gorge, How to Live Your Best Death) a German atomic scientist looking to hook up with the Russians under Yuri Astakhov (Michael Ironside, The Fight Machine, Hellmington).

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He’s willing to trade the location of The Condor’s Nest, home to not just Bach, but other Nazis including Gerhardt Schrude (Bruce Davison, Evil at the Door, Await the Dawn) and a decidedly not dead Heinrich Himmler (James Urbaniak, The Venture Bros., The Fabelmans). However Israeli agent Leyna Rahn (Corinne Britti, Route 80, Take Care of Emily) intends to deal with Vogel herself.

Writer/director Phil Blattenberger (Point Man) sets up an interesting premise with plenty of potential for backstabbing, double-dealing and action sequences. And despite some budget issues, we see the plane before and after it crashes, and the German armoured vehicle obviously just rolled out of a museum, not off a battlefield, Condor’s Nest starts off on the right foot.

Unfortunately, it soon starts to fall apart as we see Spalding torturing a couple of low-level German administrators in hopes of getting information on Bach. Even they laugh at how ridiculous expecting a couple of paper pushers from the Dept. of Education to know where an SS officer might be hiding is. Or maybe they’re laughing at the fact that while attempting to look cold and ruthless, Keohane actually looks bored. His low energy and lower charisma performance will be an issue throughout the whole film especially interacting with the likes of Vosloo, Ironsides and Davison. Even Jorge Garcia (Lost, The Munsters) shows him up in a brief cameo.

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Now, I mentioned that this was obviously a lower-budgeted film, but I was hoping that even if Condor’s Nest couldn’t afford battlefield scenes it could afford gunfights, fistfights, and a chase scene or two. Instead, we get a lot of tough talk about killing every German in South America but very little action. By an hour into the movie about the only people Spalding has killed were the two guys he was torturing, maybe he thought he was Captain Spaulding and this was a prequel to House of 1000 Corpses.

We do eventually get a car chase and a half-assed assault on the Condor’s Nest itself, apparently out of the thousands of Nazis we’re told went to South America about six of them are guarding the heads of the Fourth Reich. That isn’t nearly enough to keep the film interesting. By the time Spalding confronts Vogel and tries to talk him to death I was ready to borrow Himmler’s cyanide capsule.

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Maybe if the dialogue had been sharper or the characters more likable the lack of action could have been offset with suspense. But Rahn and Spalding are both obnoxious and Vogel, while amusing in a slimy sort of way, is a Nazi and obviously not likely to change his allegiances. So you end up with nobody to root for, or if you do it’s because they’re not a Nazi, not because you actually care about them.

I was hoping for the best and that Condor’s Nest would at least be watchable. Unfortunately, I have to confirm Lukas’ original opinion, this is an extremely weak action film. If you want a film about hunting Nazis in South America I suggest you get The Boys from Brazil instead.

Icon Film Distribution will release Condor’s Nest to Digital Platforms in the UK on March 20th. It will be available on DVD on April 3rd.

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