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Alien Apocalypse

Directed by Josh Becker

Written by Josh Becker

Starring Bruce Campbell, Renee O’Connor, Remington Franklin, Michael Cory Davis

Produced by Bob Perkins

Not Rated

88 minutes

***

When I first saw this little beauty sitting on the shelves at the video store, I really had to wonder. I’d heard really lousy things about Bruce Campbell’s career, or lack thereof, and I thought his newest movies…

So what we have here is Bruce Campbell and a crew of three other astronauts coming back to Earth after a forty year stay in cryogenic sleep. And the Earth they come back to is currently ruled by giant termites. Giant ALIEN termites, no less.

The picture is pretty clear—giant alien termites currently ruling over Portland, Oregon. That’s where all this takes place, you know. And of course, what do giant alien termites eat? Wood—lots and lots of wood, prepared into board lengths by human slaves.

And when Movies Online said that “Alien Apocalypse” is like “Army of Darkness” meets “Starship Troopers,” I wanted to smack them.

Because it really is the best description there is for it, and not just because of Bruce’s presence. It’s an oppressed minority fighting against a demonic overlordish presence that looks and acts disgusting with the inevitable happy ending.

But that being said, man, this is good stuff! Bruce actually remembers what made him good in the first place—acting like a total jagoff who manages to rescue a whole bunch of people almost in spite of himself.

And the part that’ll throw you for an even bigger loop is that this is actually a made-for-TV movie. That’s right—before you found this little comic action gem on your video store shelves, it was a Sci Fi Original movie.

“Alien Apocalypse” is a really impressive little title, especially considering that it’s a made for TV movie that went to video not long after. The effects are solidly done—no rudely-constructed blood-filled plastic heads here. Everything is either pretty solid CG or else prostheses of good enough quality that they at least pass for what they’re actually supposed to be. The humans that get eaten, and the human parts, do indeed look like what they’re supposed to look like. The acting is more than passable—everyone seems to be handling their lines competently, if not with any flair.

But the one real problem with all this is one massive, gaping plothole. It’s explained that the aliens used neutron bombs and mass executions, leaving only a handful of people, and no one ever lead an armed resistance because they just didn’t think it could be done. What I find overwhelmingly hard to believe is that no one actually tried it. Surely there was ONE gun nut out there who’d see the incredible success even a twenty-two would have against these things. Especially after seeing how incredibly well ARROWS worked!

But it’s really only a small problem, and one that can be fairly easily overlooked with a little suspension of disbelief.

The ending is about as happy as you could possibly expect from something like this, and it’s plenty happy. I could tell you what it is right now and it probably wouldn’t spoil anything for you because you ALREADY know what it is. There will be one small surprise, especially if you’ve been paying attention, and it’ll be good for a small chuckle at Bruce’s expense.

The special features include cast and crew commentary, a behind the scenes featurette, a storyboard gallery, a biography of Bruce Campbell, and trailers for “The Evil Dead,” “Evil Dead 2,” “The Man With The Screaming Brain,” “Dead and Breakfast,” and “Lightning Bug.”

What, no “Army of Darkness” trailer?

All in all, not bad by half. Though a bit predictable in spots, and with a couple plot holes, “Alien Apocalypse” is a worthwhile little journey that gives us true insight into how Bruce Campbell’s career became what it is today.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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