Story: After a tragic ambush that leaves Toulon’s puppets unguarded and vulnerable to German forces, an American soldier named Brooks (Paul Logan) happens to be on the scene and loads up the puppets, but what is in store for Toulon’s creations? As it turns out, Brooks and the puppets are rolled right into action against the Germans, with the help of an esoteric scientist, Dr. Ivan Ivanov (George Appleby) and some of his inner circle. Ivanov has a deep knowledge of the occult and he has assembled a team with magical properties, to shut down the Nazis for good. At the same time, the Germans still have their own powerful puppets and this time around, they’re under the supervision of Dr. Ernst (Tonya Kay), who uses mental telepathy to control their actions. With both sides lined up and ready to make their final stand, who will emerge victorious in this puppet showdown?
Entertainment Value: The final installment of this Axis trilogy tries to close out the run with more blood and more puppets, but was it enough? As it turns out, no. I appreciated that there was more blood and violence, even if the CGI blood was atrocious, as well as the increased puppet screen time, but it is just not enough. The same curse that haunted previous movies in the franchise is back again, as any scenes without the puppets crash and burn. I question the decision to have so much time devoted to dull, drawn out dialogue sequences, as little is added to the narrative and to be honest, those scenes often feel like filler at best. The human stories are not that interesting and while some fun casting choices were made, they can only do so much with this material. So we have a pace that jumps from fun, violent puppet mayhem to glacial, never ending dialogue scenes with the human cast. I don’t have super high expectations for this kind of colorful b movie content, but this Axis trilogy failed to entertain and that’s a shame.
I did appreciate some of the cast here, as there are some interesting and enjoyable performers, even if they’re not given much to do. George Appleby does his best with the thin script, but I think he could have done so much more with better material. He was game to embrace the camp and dials up his effort when needed, so you can’t fault him. Tonya Kay is also fun to watch, but again, the movie just doesn’t put her talents to full use. Some small cameo level roles also offer bursts of fun, though fleeting, of course. I think there was more than enough talent on this cast to take this picture to the next level, but the writing and direction hamstring that from happening. But for Puppet Master devotees, there is some fun, over the top puppet chaos, more than the previous Axis films, in fact. More blood, more puppets, but the ratio needed to be leaned much harder toward the horror/fun elements. I would call Axis Termination watchable, but there’s a lot of wasted potential in this one.