I was reviewing the list of new additions to Netflix and saw a few science fiction movies that I missed when they were released. Actually, I didn't just miss them, most of them I never heard of. So I'm going to post a few reviews over the next few days. First up, we have 2012's "Alien Uprising".
Here's the premise. Best buds and housemates, Michael, Robin, Dana and Vincent are out for a good time at the local pub/rave. Robin and Dana spend most of the evening sitting on the roof of a car outside the place. Robin's idea of romantic, he even proposes. Michael connects with Carrie and Vincent gets drunk enough to get tossed out. Michael and Robin rescue him from the bouncers and they all go back to their house, including Carrie. Sex happens, except for poor Vincent, who spends the night hugging the toilet. The next morning, the power is out. They go outside and talk to some neighbors and find out that not only is the whole neighborhood out, but maybe for hundreds of miles around (all the way to Leeds!).
They head into town to get supplies and find that nothing is open but a mob has gathered and even though the power has only been out for several hours, it's already starting to look like Mad Max time. Later in the day they discover the reason things aren't right, there's a giant spaceship hanging over head. Yikes.
Michael, who's ex-military, takes charge. He's going to head over to his former base to see if he can pick up some spare weapons. And then they can all get out of town. Carrie goes with him. On the way, they rescue a little girl from a car wreck that killed her parents. She's bleeding and they head to the local chemist to find some bandages. For some reason, there is a lone policeman guarding the place, in a town that, otherwise, seems completely deserted. He grudgingly lets them in but then attacks Michael. The ensuing fight is very well staged. The cop is about to kill Michael when Carrie, in a gesture that screams "Oh, alright, I'll save your life", breaks a bottle and ruthlessly slices the cop's throat.
They head back to the house with the little girl. By now, the giant spaceship is being attacked (apparently by the British Air Force, although it's not too clear). They all decide they have to get over to George's house. George is ex-Special Forces and is actually Jean-Claude Van Damme so maybe that's a good idea. Or maybe not. Along the way, they pick up two British soldiers who had managed to shoot down an alien fighter craft or something with an RPG. George reveals that he has a secret radio that is picking up alien broadcasts. He also tells them that the government has known about the aliens for years and that some are disguised as humans. The only way you can tell is by the purple triangle tattooed on their upper thigh. OK, that explains what we saw on the cop in the chemist shop. through a tear in his uniform.
Since none of them know Carrie well, they become suspicious and the soldiers what to rip off her clothes right there. Michael, the gentleman, who had just hopped her bones the night before, offers to take her into a back room and discretely check her thigh. After closing the door, Carrie rewards his sensitivity by shooting him in the back of the head. WTF. Then she has a big knock down fight with George and escapes. Lots of shooting, running around in the dark, and explosions in the sky follow. Carrie gets beamed up into a fighter which then blows up George. Van Damme's entire contribution to the movie was about 5 minutes long. One of the soldiers also gets killed.
Now we're down to Dana, Vincent, the other soldier and the little girl, who scurry back into the house. I haven't mentioned Dana much. She starts out as pretty much a sex doll but by now she's the prime mover. All hell breaks out in the house as Vincent basically goes crazy and tries to rape Dana. The soldier intervenes. The little girl screams and screams as the three adults really thrash each other. Then the lights and the TV come on. A woman newsreader is saying that things should be back to normal soon. They all settle down and watch the TV.
Meanwhile, a group of soldiers are creeping up on the house. They are not dressed like the British soldiers and I suspect they are actually aliens. They burst into the house and confront our little band sitting on the couch. One of the soldiers speaks into his radio asking for orders. His orders: shoot them. The camera view switches to outside the house. Screams and gunshots follow and the final credits roll.
OK, so why wasn't this terrible? Mostly because it was pretty well acted. Carrie is played by Bianca Bree who is Jean-Claude's real life daughter. She's pretty credible. Her behavior in the chemist shop was very odd, but all made since when we find out she's an alien. Michael was played by Sean Brosnan, son of Pierce. He was pretty good as well. He starts out as a drunken lout but believably takes charge. I mentioned Dana played by Maya Grant. When Michael isn't with the group she holds them all together with sheer force of will.
The movie is more about each character's reaction to the disintegration of their world, so some decent acting is required. The special effects are OK, considering the budget. Most of the spaceships and fighting is going on in the background so not much detail is required. Things whooshing past and explosions are all you need.
The director is Dominic Burns, who also wrote the movie. This was his first film. He's made a couple of movies since that I've never heard of. I think he gets a lot out of his cast and there is some real tension in the fight scenes, especially the fight between the alien cop and Michael, and the kitchen fight between Dana, Vincent and the soldier. I had no idea where that was going. On the whole I think he used too much shaky cam stuff. Also, the movie started with a bunch of short, jumpy flash-forwards which were totally confusing. All-in-all, a pretty good first effort.
The next movie is 2006's "Meltdown: Days of Destruction". Stay tuned.