HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Honeyland
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Shinsengumi
IT Chapter Two
Rich Kids
Arena
Glory Guys, The
Serial Killer's Guide to Life, A
Lovers and Other Strangers
Shiny Shrimps, The
Good Woman is Hard to Find, A
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Doctor at Sea
Spear
Death Cheaters
Wild Rose
Streetwalkin'
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Devil's Playground, The
Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters
Hustlers
Mega Time Squad
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Souvenir, The
Birds of Passage
Ma
Woman at War
Happy as Lazzaro
Mickey's Christmas Carol
Marriage Story
Santa Claus is a Bastard
Star, The
Tom & Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale
   
 
Newest Articles
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
   
 
  Alien Nation Space Race RelationsBuy this film here.
Year: 1988
Director: Graham Baker
Stars: James Caan, Mandy Patinkin, Terence Stamp, Kevyn Major Howard, Leslie Bevis, Peter Jason, Conrad Dunn, Jeff Kober, Roger Aaron Brown, Tony Simotes, Michael David Simms, Ed Krieger, Tony Perez, Brian Thompson, Francis X. McCarthy
Genre: Action, Thriller, Science Fiction
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1991 and something has drastically changed in American society: the aliens have not only visited, they have settled and decided to stay. It has taken three years and a lot of civil rights legislation, but finally the Newcomers are mixing with humanity, though there remains resistance to their presence among many in the local communities, no matter that these aliens, who have escaped slavery on their own world, have done their best to fit in with these new surroundings. Well, perhaps not all, as bigoted cop Matthew Sykes (James Caan]) notices when he is out on patrol with his partner and they catch sight of a couple of these invaders holding up a convenience store, and go to intervene, not knowing it will be a fateful decision...

You guessed it, because Sykes' original partner was black, by the rules of nineteen-eighties cinema if he was not Eddie Murphy then his days were numbered, his minutes were numbered in fact, as he is blown away by a super-powerful gun the robbers are using and Sykes makes it his mission to find out what was going on - there could be a conspiracy afoot, especially on the evidence of what happens next with the main miscreant taking a drug which gives him incredible strength and all the bullets and more that our hero has to take him down. Alien Nation was set to be a major blockbuster at a point when the sci-fi action movie had truly taken off, yet thanks to production difficulties it was rewritten and re-edited extensively.

It was enough of a modest success to spawn a television series the year after, but that was basically what this was, a routine cop show with the novelty that the two mismatched buddies were human and alien. Originally, it had been devised by Rockne S. O'Bannon, the man who created cult favourite science fiction adventure show Farscape, but this was far less ambitious, at least after many got their hands on his script and refashioned it into this aggressively mediocre variant on what by 1988 had become an extremely well-worn narrative, and it was not as if Hollywood (or anywhere else, really) was finished with the cop yarn by any means. What made it more interesting, potentially, was that James Cameron had reportedly taken a run at it too.

Not that Alien Nation was in any way the equal of his big hits, it was barely the equal of The Abyss, as the results played strictly as safely as possible with what could have been a provocative metaphor for the immigrant situation in the United States. Part of the problem was that Newcomers were not alien enough to be convincing as anything but a hacky notion of how immigrants would be treated if they hailed from another world with their unconvincing quirks such as getting drunk on sour milk, but they were not believable as representations of what you assume O'Bannon was trying to convey in the first place, since too often the material lapsed comfortably into cliché. Take Terence Stamp as the alien community leader: he turns out to be corrupt as we see him dissolving a fellow Newcomer in sea water, so obviously the grand finale has him making his escape by boat.

All for the slasher flick conventions to kick in, naturally. The issue of PCP, a headline-ready drug at the time that was making its addicts behave extremely recklessly, to say the least, was applied to the aliens' narcotic of choice, but the way the film set about this message making was about as resonant as a Nancy Reagan lecture to the country. Not to mention some of the most egregious product placement in a decade when that practice went into overdrive: a certain soft drinks manufacturer has an alien-adorned billboard shown, a bereaved wife is comforted in the glow of one of their refrigerated machines, and they even placed a rival's logo prominently at a fast food joint that sells raw beaver to the aliens, to make the connection in the audience's mind that the competition was about as tasty as that. Maybe it's because Alien Nation squandered a very fine premise that its ordinary results smart so badly, as its comparisons were clumsy, its acting uninspired and overfamiliar, and the action utterly unsurprising. You do wonder what it was like originally. Music by Curt Sobel.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1220 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: