Alien 3000 (2004)

Starring Lorenzo Lamas, Priscilla Barnes, Corby Timbrook, Megan Molloy

Directed by Jeff Leroy

Alien 3000 is actually a sequel to a 1999 flick called Unseen Evil, which was apparently successful enough to warrant a sequel but not enough so to convince Lions Gate to release the sequel as Unseen Evil 2. Thus, Unseen Evil 2 becomes Alien 3000. I don’t know how or why Lions Gate settled on the Alien 3000 title but I suspect it was because they actually watched the movie, realized it was almost as incoherently stupid as their Dracula 3000, and came up with the title from there.

I can honestly sit here and say that I never fully understood much of anything in Alien 3000. The first half is all setup, but a lot of that setup seems built around information that is never adequately explained. There’s a mysterious cave that nobody can find up in the hills of an unnamed forest containing a priceless treasure of unexplained origin that is guarded by an alien creature for reasons unknown. If at any point in the film they ever said where the treasure came from, who it once belonged to, how it got into this cave, or why an alien creature guards it with a vengeance then I clearly missed that dialogue.

The only real clue that this is a sequel is a brief dream/flashback sequence using footage from Unseen Evil had by the only surviving member of the first film, Kate, who’s character is now played by a completely different actress than in the original. I suspect those like me that haven’t seen the first film and don’t know that this movie was meant to be a sequel will be perplexed when they suddenly see Tim Thomerson and “Battlestar Galactica”’s Richard Hatch doing cameos for all of five seconds.

Speaking of cameos, Priscilla Barnes (Best known as Suzanne Somers replacement’s replacement on “Three’s Company”) and the incomparable Lorenzo Lamas are given top billing despite having a combined screen time of maybe 10 minutes. All their stuff feels like it was filmed as an afterthought and inserted after principal photography wrapped just to give the movie some recognizable names when it finally did get released. Otherwise, I really don’t know why they’re in the movie. On the plus side, you do get to see both of them die brutal deaths, something I do believe is long overdue, particularly in Lamas’ case.

A government paranormal research group wants to spring Kate from the mental institution she’s been residing in ever since surviving the events of the first film and being declared mentally insane for claiming an invisible monster was responsible. They agree to spring her but only if she agrees to help lead a ragtag group of misfit soldiers to the location of the cave.

This Kate is a shrill banshee that constantly grated on my nerves with her endless screaming and repeated declarations that they need to leave the treasure in the cave. I so wanted her to die a horrible death but I knew that wouldn’t happen because she was clearly the main character. This made me very sad. God, how I wanted her to shut up.

I’m also not sure why they needed this Kate chick to lead them to the cave since it’s location is easily discovered by three different groups of people before the film is over.

Meanwhile, Priscilla Barnes is the leader of this government paranormal group – at least I think it’s supposed to be the same group – and she sends Lorenzo Lamas and the third runner-up in a Reb Brown look-a-like contest to also search for the cave or something along those lines. Again, I’m not really sure what purpose the stuff involving these three is. They already have a specimen of the creature dead in the next room so…I don’t know. More importantly, I don’t care.
By the way, that Alien rip-off on the box art isn’t even the same monster as the one in the movie. Not only does the movie have a title that doesn’t fit the film, the monster they’re using to promote it isn’t even the one in the movie. Amazingly, the one in the movie, I dare say, looks much better than the one on the artwork. Sure, it’s a goofy, insectioid man-in-a-rubber suit but I’ll take that over yet another blatant Alien clone. The unseen evil, when it is seen, is a perfectly goofy rubber monster costume that harkens back to the creature features of decades long since past. Unfortunately, there are also a few effects shots of the monster done digitally that makes it look like computer generated claymation. But even that looks better seen than the invisibility effects that are done in the same vein as the Predator’s camouflage. They’re so unconvincing that you cannot help but laugh. There’s even a major continuity error because the outline of the creature in some of the invisible effects shots clearly gives the indication that it is some sort of arachnid type monster and not the two-legged beast it really is. Checking IMDB, it appears that those shots were probably taken from Unseen Evil. Hey, who cares if the effects don’t match up as long as it’s cheaper than producing your own, right?

Back to Kate and the least convincing commando unit I’ve ever seen; they hike through the woods until they come across the hidden cave that only Kate could lead them to despite it being a big, easy to see, out in the open, hole in the side of a mountain. Two of the misfit mercs plot to steal the treasure for themselves and actually conspire to kill off the rest of the unit to cover their tracks. Fortunately for them, the invisible monster begins doing their work for them, and it’s amazing how characters can be getting brutally slaughtered all around them and yet they still focus almost entirely on stealing the treasure.

From there, things happen at random, stuff explodes, guns are fired, swords are swung, really cheap computer animation attack them, and a guy in a rubber monster suit kills them. And then there’s the last scene of the movie that is perfectly fitting considering it doesn’t make one iota of sense.

If nothing else, at least Alien 3000 realizes it’s a really dumb monster movie and tries to be intentionally goofy. Problem is, it’s a lot easier to make an entertaining bad movie that wasn’t meant to be than to make an intentionally bad movie. Alien 3000 just isn’t very entertaining outside of a few sporadic moments here and there of mostly unintentional laughter, almost always involving the not so special effects. Heck, there’s a helicopter crash in this film that would make Ed Wood’s eyes bug out.

The only extra on the Alien 3000 DVD is a tongue-in-cheek interview with a guy in a suit with the mask and hands of the title creature now claiming to work in Lions Gate’s corporate offices. It’s a perfect metaphor the film itself – not nearly as amusing as it thinks it is.

1 ½ out of 5

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Jon Condit

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