Saturday, August 25, 2012

Alien Week: Alien Invasion Arizona

I see that the first thing that the Aliens attacked was the title's grammar!  Today's film is Alien Invasion (punctuation missing) Arizona.  If any State could have a city called Alien Invasion, it would probably be Arizona/New Mexico.  Things are looking up a bit, since this isn't the exact same plot as Alien Terminator or Alien Lockdown.  Unfortunately, it's still not a good/fully-formed plot per se.  Aliens are here and a mixed-bag of character cliches are the only ones who can stop them.  Special Forces guy- check.  Cop who works too hard- check.  Bunch of criminals and their sleazy girlfriends- big check.  This hodge-podge of ideas is not terrible in an of itself, but the end result is pretty messy.  The big 'star' of the film is Daniel Southworth, who played the 'Quantum Ranger' on Power Rangers: Time Force.  I'm stretching, I know.  Fun Fact: Daniel is so famous that his personal Wikipedia page is...the Power Rangers: Time Force page.  Weng Wang has his own page- just for the record.  So is the movie worth seeing or should you skip it?  To find out, read on...
A bad effect crashes into another bad effect.  Actually, what happens is that an alien space ship crashes into the Earth.  You can see how I got confused there.
The military sends in their crack squad to take them out (led by Southworth).  How they flew in those obviously-CG Helicopters is anyone's guess.
Daniel and his team get attacked & most of them die.  The movie actively wants you to think that the guy is dead too, but he does show up later.
In the film's other plot, a prison transport goes awry when they stop to help two blondes fix their car.  Gee, I wonder if this 'Dear Penthouse' moment is a set-up.
Well, duh.  The surviving guards, the Doctor, the prisoners and the floozies walk off through the desert, since a stray bullet hit the engine block in their car.  Damn imports!

There is some drama, as the prisoners are made up of some clashing cliches- i.e. the racist 'cracker,' the black guy and the evil Italian mobster.  Bickering- joy.
Oh right- The Quantum Ranger is in this.  He has to fight some of his re-animated men and keep going through this cave.  Unfortunately, some of the action scenes have a Max Havoc-style lighting issue with them.
Required Alien Shot.  It looks goofy as hell, but you know me- I don't complain about people using a suit instead of shitty CG. 

As a bonus, these Aliens can shape change, a trick they use a couple of times before Sourthworth shows up and action ensues once again.
'Quick- fall away from this fairly-mundane explosion!  As long as its in slow-motion, this will look cool!'
After the action wraps up, we get the 'It's Not Over' Ending.  Those Aliens are going to attack us any...
...second?  Nevermind- they just leave.  The *real* End.
Alien Invasion Arizona slides safely into...the middle of the pack.  The movie wasn't bad, but it wasn't exactly all that memorable either.  What separated it from other Direct-to-DVD fare?  Not much, really.  The things that make it interesting- it's bizarre, hodge podge cast- are all pulled from other movies, so they aren't that special.  Give me an Alien Invasion film in which Hippies fight them by making RPG Launchers out of their Bio-Diesel Cars and we'll talk!  Until my dream becomes a reality, we're left with generic stuff like this.  The other aspect that's unique here is the criminal's group dynamic- although we see some of that in Wrong Turn 3 too.  The problem is that the idea of different racial characters putting aside their differences to survive is moot...because they all die.  They all die later than they would have, but that's not exactly a Hallmark message right there!  The mix of alien designs was interesting, ranging for the atypical humanoid to silly, puppet heads.  How the aliens can change shape is never explained, but that idea is barely ever used, so it's just as well.  Aside from that, the movie is full of the usual Direct-to-DVD problems- silly dialog, bad F/X and scenes that are poorly-lit.  If you like Alien Invasion Films, but wish they more specific as to the State under attack, this film qualifies.  If you like good, memorable films, you can keep moving.
Next up, a movie series about an evil mirror (not to be confused with Boogeyman).  First up, a movie so goofy that my computer's DVD Drive refused to play it.  Stay tuned...

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