Monday, 16 March 2015

Alien Rising

I love the Alien series. Though I still think the original is still the best in the series, its sequel Aliens still stands out as one of the best action films ever made. Like seriously, it's got everything you need in an action flick- Space marines? Check! Sigourney Weaver kicking ass? Check! Pulse rifles? Check! Chest-busters? Check! And, of course, aliens? Check! It's perfect, and though I'm one of the few people that thought Alien 3 (especially the Assembly Cut!) was really good, the rest of the series was terrible, including the shitty AvP series. Throughout the cast that graced the screen during the series, my favourite was always Lance Henriksen who played Bishop in Aliens and Alien 3. Since then he's never been short of work, but beyond his truly exceptional role as Frank Black in Chris Carter's series Millennium, he's reduced to appearing in literally anything offered to him. Granted he's making money so good on him, but his appearance in this film made me weep into my Sugar Puffs.

Directed by Dana Schroeder and out now on Blu-Ray and DVD comes Alien Rising, a film that made me face-palm, groan, give up on live and feel terrible for a 74 year old actor who was embarrassing himself on screen, all at once. The plot of Alien Rising would be decent if it had a better set of actors, writers and director in place, but it doesn't. The plot focuses on Lisa Morgan, an ex-Homeland security office who, after her mentor is killed, tries to blend back into society. But she's pulled of her cosy little life by the military in order to work on some super secret alien tech they've found. The island in which she works is not only filled with alien weaponry and such, but also a live alien. Yeah, it doesn't really end well for anyone.

The LEGO Movie had a theme song called, “Everything is awesome”. Alien Rising should have a theme song called, “Everything is awful, and your childhood is now but a bitter sweet distant memory slowly dying with every second”. Needless to say, Alien Rising is pretty terrible, and its awfulness covers the entire spectrum of its film-making- directing, acting, writing, plot and special effects. The acting here is just abysmal as the film, apart from John Savage and Lance Henriksen, is filled with Z-list actors, fresh off doing adverts for products no one wants to buy. However, even bad actors could look halfway decent next to impressive visuals, and seeing as this film is based around an alien, you'd expect it to have some good effects, right? Wrong. It's an understatement to say the CGI is bad here. Put it this way- 50% of the backgrounds in Alien Rising are done with green-screen, and genuinely look like blurry images compiled in Adobe Photoshop. I literally burst out laughing multiple times, as even The Room had a better use of green-screen. The rest are just cheap sets, and I'm sure more often than not it's the same set throughout, just redressed a bit.

Also, another problem here beyond the fact that, you know, it's utter tripe, is the fact that Alien Rising wants very badly to be Alien. It's just so blatant too. It's like the film is constantly saying, “Hey guys, here's the guy who played Bishop in Aliens, so you should like our film, right?”. It comes across as genuinely pathetic seeing Henriksen bumble his way from set to set, ultimately reading out dramatic lines that sound like awful Alien fan fiction. It's clear they hired him because he was in Aliens, and as I watched Alien Uprising I just felt so sad for him. It's like being a kid and realising that you Grandfather isn't a superhero and that he's an old man. This is the motherf*cker who was great in Aliens, Millennium, The Terminator and Near Dark. He was awesome, and while I still think he is his, appearance in Alien Rising doesn't help the film. Also, what's hilarious is the fact that if you watch the trailer it uses the sounds and music from the Prometheus trailer, which as you know is an Alien prequel. Sorry Dana Schroeder, this is not an Alien film nor is it in any way as good. Hell, Alien Resurrection was better.

Overall Alien Rising is beyond bad. From the crappy plot that goes exactly where you think it'll go, the sad appearance by Lance Henriksen that was only done because he was in Aliens, the use of CGI that is eye bleedingly bad, and the feeling that everyone is doing this film to either pay off the mob or make alimony payments, it makes for one failure of a film. But hey, at the very least it does mean that it's-bad-it's-good. I laughed my way through, so while it's not some thought provoking sci-fi, it does have its uses.

Alien Rising is more The Room and less Aliens and gets a 1/5.


Denis Murphy

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