You have the choice of every word in the English language, any other language, or even making a word up if you like. You need one word to add to “Alien” (because that’s set in stone, obviously) to name your SyFy Channel movie, and that word must help describe a movie where aliens are farming humans for…their blood?…and a group of resistance fighters stage a daring rescue of a woman with special DNA. “Yes, siege, that’s definitely the word I’d choose for a movie with no sieges in it”. “Alien Farm”, maybe? “Alien Blood”?
Fans of sci-fi TV will also recognise this storyline, as it’s something of a classic. Perhaps the most recent example of this is the “Torchwood” series “Children of Earth”, but it’s been used a lot. An alien race – in this movie, the Kulku, given their bizarre alien appearance by the SyFy-budget trick of colouring their eyebrows white – have come to Earth with a problem. They’re all dying out, and the only thing that can save them is 8 million peoples’ worth of human blood. I guess there’s a war before the movie starts, but as we begin the war is over, the aliens are in charge and there’s a lottery system in place to pick the 8 million.
Now, before we get going, let’s get the dumb logic stuff out of the way. This race, which is able both to fly across the galaxy and find out we’re perfectly genetically compatible for their cure, is for some reason unable to just synthesise the cure from the blood of one person, and take that back? Why don’t they ask for donations? Or volunteers? If you’re going to be super-mean about it, why not just empty the world’s prisons? That would be a hell of a deterrent for the future criminal. The whole “get some humans to help round up the other humans” plan has a seriously big flaw, too, but we’ll get to that later.
After an extremely brief appearance from a moustachioed, dubbed, uncredited Chris Pratt as a soldier (seriously, it’s not listed on IMDB, but it’s definitely him. I’ll try and find a screenshot), we get right into things. Solid, dependable early-40s Dr Stephen Chase (Brad Johnson) and his cute, perky early 20s daughter Heather (Erin Ross) are on the run, because he sees her name come up in the “lottery” and wants to save her – the force that drives him through the movie. Of course, we later discover she’s got the special DNA which means she’s vitally important to the aliens, which makes her much tougher to save than the average human captor. Dad falls in with the resistance movement, and daughter learns a bit about the alien culture from her overlords.
It’s got a few interesting elements to it. The Kulku aren’t traditional villains, as they talk about how they helped countless other races before the disease took them over…by the way, the disease doesn’t seem to really bother any of them, with the worst affected alien having what looks like a nasty burn on his chest. He injects himself with the cure and it clears straight up, but his mood or health doesn’t change afterwards, so I’m not quite sure. The Resistance are an okay bunch too, with the main lady Blair (Lilas Lane) a fine and interesting, non-traditionally feminine love interest for Dad. And there’s the one “big name”, Carl Weathers, as the Army General who’s forced to work for the Kulku but you know the desire for freedom is right there under the surface.
This is an early SyFy movie, and one of the indicators of that is the Eastern European filming location. Not just that, though (although it is fun to see coffee shops, malls and other places which are supposed to be American but are very clearly not), but it’s all the extras and a fair number of the featured cast. The dubbing is almost constant, and it gets a bit wearing after a while (although at least they hired a few voice actors and didn’t just use the same one, as a few recently-reviewed movies have).
The ending is built up to well, as the Resistance find a weapon which can seriously damage the Kulku wormhole creator, up in orbit, a place to target and fire it from, and launch a mission to save the daughter at the same time as the final defence of the weapon against some alien fellows. It’s well shot and a lot of fun, but I wanted to talk about the aftermath, what will go on in this world when the dust settles. The aliens are defeated (obviously) but think about what went on. Humans went to work for the aliens, rounding up innocent people to be turned into alien skin disease cures, and now the aliens aren’t around any more? The family members of the dead will want some retribution, I imagine, so there’s going to be years of chaos and murder and long drawn out court cases.
You could do a lot worse from SyFy. Pop it on, why don’t you? Come for the Pratt-spotting, stay for the action.
Rating: thumbs in the middle