Friday, January 8, 2016

QUEUE CLEANSING: Alien Outpost (2014)


       “Alien Outpost” (also known as “Outpost 37”) is a sci-fi war movie.  It supposedly was released to theaters in 2014.  I assume that refers to the few remaining drive-in movie theaters.  The movie was directed by Jabbar Raisani.  If Donald Trump has his way, we won’t be seeing any more movies from him.  On second thought, this might be one of Trump's favorite movies.  Someone likened it to a combination of “Restrepo” and “Starship Troopers”.  It is part of the found footage subgenre as two journalists are embedded with a platoon.

                The movie is set in the year 2033.  This is twelve years after Earth was invaded by aliens called “Heavies”.  Title cards tell us Earth got its act together by abandoning the United Nations concept and substituting a military alliance that evicted the main Heavy force.  A sizable number of alien soldiers were left behind causing the USDF to maintain outposts to hunt them down.  At this point, most of the outposts have been abandoned for lack of targets.  Outpost 37 is on the Afghan-Pakistani border where there is still alien contact.  The defenders are underappreciated and the arrival of the documentarians will hopefully fix this.  The outpost has the task of not only dealing with Heavies, but also the local jihadists.  That’s right – even eighteen years from now, they still hate us!  The two journalists arrive with three replacements who are immediately pranked so we know the movie will have some soldier life as a theme.  The CO is no nonsense and insists the reporters be armed with pistols. There are no noncombatants at this site.

                The movie mixes found footage through the lens of the documentary and interviews with the soldiers (some of them after the event).  The interviews allow for flashbacks to previous events involving the outpost.  The movie is not simply an Alamo wannabe.  The plot is fairly complicated.  One strand involves their apparently loyal interpreter named Saleem and another involves the rescue of a captured soldier named North.  Both of these lead to the big reveal that the Heavies are implanting mind control devices in the locals.  This explains the sudden uptick in attacks.  This allows Raisani to stage two wild fire fights (with nary a scratch to the good guys).  In spite of the Heavy/jihadist poor marksmanship, the camp needs to be abandoned.  On the plus side, it has to be blown up with extreme prejudice, of course.  Instead of hightailing it, they disobey orders and go to check out a mysterious site.  It turns out that the Heavies have built a device to weaken Earth’s satellite-based defense system to allow a renewed invasion.  The device must be destroyed.  And we need another kick-ass fire fight and we need to get one of the cameramen killed.  Check, check, and check.
Heavy, dude.

                “Alien Outpost” is not as bad as you would expect.  I’m not implying that it is in a league with “Restrepo” or “Starship Troopers”, but it’s a nice little time waster.  It does suffer from its low budget.  I would not be surprised if “Restrepo” had a higher budget.  “Restrepo” certainly had better acting.  However, the cast of “Alien Outpost” does a fair impression of real soldiers.  The soldier vibe is realistic.  The lingo is not forced.  The interiors are authentic and appear to have been influenced by “Restrepo”.  The hazing of the new guys is true to form and we can assume that type of thing will still be occurring eighteen years from now.  What I cannot see happening eighteen years from now is our soldiers using current day weapons.  The only sop the movie makes on this anachronism is lipping that they have developed a special bullet within a bullet that can penetrate Heavy armor.  It is depicted as a .50 caliber round, but apparently can be fired from any firearm, including pistols!  For a low budget film, the effects are pretty good.  The Heavies are cool, but naturally we don’t see a lot of them.  They reminded me of the aliens in “District Nine”.  The effects are surprisingly good which means the combat is visceral and there is a lot of it.  The tactics are fine with covering fire and flanking.  Movies like this usually don’t go to the trouble.

Acting!
                It’s hard to say if “Alien Outpost” had any other goal than kick-ass entertainment for fourteen year old boys.  It might be making a statement about the current war on terrorism I suppose.  The outpost is undermanned, underfunded, and underappreciated.  Current soldiers in Afghanistan can relate to that.  Another theory is the brainwashing of the locals is a comment on the radical Islamists of today.  Or maybe I’m being too deep for a movie entitled “Alien Outpost”.


GRADE  =  C

4 comments:

  1. First time I watched this movie I couldn't make it to the end and regretted shelling out 7 bucks for it. I might give it a second try. Sometimes a movie seems horrible at first and improves on second viewing. (Though some get worse...) - pirateship1982

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    1. You saw it in a theater?! I hope you kept that ticket stub - that is one rare sucker!

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  2. Didn't see it in theater. 7 bucks was what I paid for the dvd at Wal Mart. - ps1982

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    1. I am not sure that's less embarrassing.

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