Starring Adrian Paul, Rick Ravanello, Reily McClendon, Joe Reegan
Directed by Jabbar Raisani
Distributed by IFC Midnight
Could it be that I’m just getting more and more crusty in my aging years because for a guy that used to be somewhat of a sci-fi nerd way back in the day, I’ll admit that some of the later issues of these “alien invasions” have been weaker than a watered down cocktail at the local bar with horrible CGI replacing those practical effects that used to seem real to young eyes many moons ago. Ah well, enough lamenting about yesteryear… on to the now.
With much trepidation, I pressed “play” on director Jabbar Raisani’s latest otherworldly smackdown, Alien Outpost (which is titled Outpost 37 overseas), but first I checked into Mr. Raisiani’s credits (much like I usually do with directors and producers) and was pleasantly surprised to see that he was a fairly heavy hand in the visual effects department on such films as Predators, Machete, and even on the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones.” Needless to say, I was impressed but not as nearly as I was when this particular film got rolling along.
The movie itself follows a small camera crew as they document the everyday battle of an Army unit that is fighting against an alien group simply known as the “heavies” – a nasty clan of outer space ass-kickers that are able to control the minds and actions of any human being, making for an even tougher fight, as the enemy that our beloved Army is brawling with looks eerily familiar to those we’re squaring off with in the present day.
However, this film takes place in the year 2031, when the “heavies” have mounted a massive attack against mankind. Millions of lives have already been lost, and it’s pretty much down to military forces defending what’s left of civilization while stationed at these outposts, which have been forgotten by the masses, except for Outpost 37. You see, this particular staging area is the worst possible place a soldier can be sent – hellacious attacks every single day, and being placed in one of the world’s most hostile grounds isn’t exactly the ideal setup. Under the command of grizzled commander Captain Spears (Ravanello), the unit has suffered numerous losses over time, and after one of their more prominent soldiers goes missing, the squad takes their offensive on the move to locate him and to see if their chances can improve against a seemingly unstoppable alien force.
The film is somewhat broken down into two parts with the first giving the audience a look deep inside the squad’s daily actions. They’re just like any band of brothers with pranks, insults and fights – but make no mistake. When the shit hits the fan, these guys come out firing. The second half is more geared towards the battle aspect, and simply put, this is some of the best on-screen tactical defense footage since the Starship Troopers battled a bunch of big ol’ bugs back in the day but with not so much cheese. These firefight scenes are NOT the stuff of a small-budget production, and does it show! The performances aren’t the norm as far as typical war flicks are concerned- these roles are packed with guys that can act, especially Joe Reegan with his portrayal of Omohundro.
As the movie tears along, we see the results of a full-scale invasion and learn a little bit about our interplanetary adversaries that comes as a surprise to the fightin’ fellas of Outpost 37. With interviews spliced in-between documentary footage and the occasional shoot-em-up, there isn’t any time to feel dragged down, and the performances are spot-on as well with attitudes you might find from a collection of weary warriors that never seem to have the opportunity of resting their trigger fingers.
All in all, Alien Outpost is one of the best sci-fi/action flicks I’ve personally seen in a LONG time so beam yourself up if you have the technology, and steer clear of little green men in the process.