District 9 Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

District 9 is one of those films that really did not live up to expectations. It’s not a big alien invasion film or a cool thriller with a lot of action scenes and explosions. Instead it’s going for a more “realistic” kind of vibe as humanity lets the aliens live in one district while running inhumane experiments on them the whole time. This movie is all about the grit and extra details while never allowing any of the characters to look all that heroic. It’s not a great look for humanity.

The movie starts with an alien ship appearing but for a while nothing happens. So the humans eventually cut themselves in and we see that the aliens are all very sick and can’t really fight at this point. So they are moved to Earth in a rather poor district and the humans who lived around there are not happy at all. The aliens have their own language which is translated in the subs and the humans can try to learn it to an extent. Wikus is one of the main guys going around handing out the eviction notices to some of these aliens so that they can be transported somewhere else. One of these operations goes wrong though as he it contaminated by a tube that one of the aliens was using and now Wikus is slowly turning into an alien. Humanity can’t allow an alien to be alive without advanced study so now everyone is hunting Wikus down to experiment with him until he dies from it all. Can Wikus escape?

The idea is that Wikus is effectively a fugitive on his own planet now. There is no real escape to be had so he has to try and fend for himself. At least for a while, eventually he meets up with Christopher again, one of the aliens. Christopher can cure Wikus if they can get off of the planet somehow in the spaceship and to do that they’re going to need a lot of fuel. At this point the humans can’t be reasoned with so Wikus is really on his own.

From the jump the movie doesn’t really give you any real likable characters to root for. Wikus is not the nicest guy to say the least and until he’s turned into an alien, he’s only marginally better than the other humans with how he interacts with the aliens. He grins gleefully as he destroys their babies and is having a lot of fun while this is serious business for the aliens. It’s all too late to feel sorry for him once he’s an alien and the film could have used a bit more nuance with the human characters. Make some of them a little nicer at least right?

Likewise I can’t say that the alien designs are all that good. Part of the point of the movie is that they’re all banged up and not exactly in fighting shape but that doesn’t make for an effective design. If anything you just feel like this is another aspect where the film dropped the ball because some nice visuals would have gone a long way. There is just nothing very nice to look at, the slums are breaking down and everything is rather desolate.

You have characters puking, you see cannibals eating aliens, and there is always a moment of shock value right around the corner. The movie paints a rather grim picture on the current state of affairs for everything and did I mention that this is documentary style? So you don’t even have great camera work because it’s always using the shaky cam style. I use the word shaky loosely as it’s filmed like a real documentary so they’re holding onto the camera tightly but a more traditional style would have greatly benefited the film.

A cynical film about how the government will always be messing with aliens behind the scenes can work well enough if you have one of the aliens as the main character and he is determined to save his comrades or something like that or it’s a big action movie where there’s a lot of fighting but otherwise the movie will just come across as rather mean spirited. The whole film is filled with extra details that you don’t need to know while also making sure that there is never any hope for the characters at any point in time. Certainly a big miss.

There’s just nothing particularly good to say about the movie. It doesn’t have good visuals, an impressive soundtrack, good characters, a solid story, or any fun moments that would make you cheer or laugh. It’s just a film that is determined to be as somber and depressing as possible. Now I do have some ways to fix it even while keeping to the same approach. If you want a film with a dialogue about how humans would treat aliens then you have to ditch the documentary style. We need a character who works for the news, someone in the resistance, and then the army characters from this title.

Give us some debates, some back and forth and different perspectives. The only way a film like this works is if there can be some meaningful dialogue and also a scenery shift so we can at least have some scenes with a happier touch. That would absolutely be the best way to handle this and it would really do wonders for the movie. You can also remove a lot of the grim dark scenes like the tortures and just blowing up aliens for no reason. Lets not make this so over the top.

Overall, Alas, this is not a winning film either way. I’d recommend just about any other alien film over this one. It’s certainly trying to do something new and different which can be applauded but ultimately it didn’t work. Sometimes being experimental doesn’t pay off even if that doesn’t mean that you should abandon being unique all together. It’s all about trial and error and eventually it could pay off. That said, I’d rather we not do a sequel to this film and focus on a reboot that is quite different instead.

Overall 1/10

It! The Terror from Beyond Space Review


Whenever you see a film with a title like this, you know that it’s about to get very interesting. Aliens are always a lot of fun and with a film this old school you know that the writing will be on point as well. It’s got a very classic feel to every scene and the movie is short but still crams a lot in. Ultimately you should have a pretty good time with this one.

The film starts off with Carruthers and his crew on Mars. This was expected to be a big success but unfortunately all of the other crewmembers aboard are dead. A second spaceship is sent to retrieve him but the government believes that Carruthers murdered them all so this group is to bring him back to Earth to have him executed. Carruthers claims that some kind of monster took them out but the evidence doesn’t look good. After all, one of the crew’s skulls appears and has a bullet hole in it which certainly doesn’t sound like a creature is responsible. Carruthers quickly adds that it might have been accidental friendly fire from someone……then some members of the crew mysteriously start to vanish. Is Carruthers really insane and has started to bump everyone off or is it possible that there is an alien on the ship?

It’s not much of a mystery since the film shows you that an alien has come aboard right away but the dialogue can still be fun to see how Carruthers will get out of this. After all, even circumstantial evidence might be enough to take him down since most don’t believe there would be a whole lot of alternatives in space. If you don’t believe in aliens then odds are that you wouldn’t believe in the guy’s story. In particular, Heusen seems to have it all figured out. He gives a full speech about exactly why Carruthers bumped everyone off as he cites the lack of supplies and how this was the safest way to go. It would be tough talking him out of it although the rest of the crew tries to get him to ease up a bit.

You end up feeling bad for Carruthers the whole time because he’s just been through a very traumatic experience and having to be grilled and mistrusted after that really doesn’t make the experience any easier. It’s like he’s 100% truly alone now. I’ll give him a lot of credit for continuing to fight hard for the team and investigating the vanishings right away. He’s far more on the ball about this than any of the other characters. It takes a whole lot for them to finally get on board and see how serious this is.

There’s also a little romance started near the end but I can’t say that there was a whole lot of purpose to it. You would feel bad for Heusen if he was a nicer guy since this doesn’t bode well for him. Who’d have thought there was any chance of losing your girlfriend while on a space trip to Mars right? There isn’t a whole lot of time to dwell on this with an alien on board though even if not for a lack of trying on the guy’s part.

If the film has a weakness, it’s that the climax can be a little drawn out. At one point they figure out that they can use some fire to keep the alien at bay. So once guy stays downstairs with the fire gun while the others make some plans. This stalemate lasts for quite a while at one point. Both sides are feeling good about staying on their ends so there’s just a lot of talking about what to do. The monster is bullet proof and quite intelligent so that removes a lot of their possible options right away.

I like to think the heavier artillery might have done something but of course the first guy with the super gun has bad reaction times and allows the alien to get in close enough to bend it in half. So much for the gun right? That definitely did not go as planned but it made the guy look so bad. You have to be ready to shoot right away and not let the villain grab your gun. That’s a really easy way to get bumped off. One of the guys who goes down doesn’t even yell before being taken out. All of this is what allows the alien to stay in the game longer than he should have been.

The alien has a cool design though. It’s a little bit like the Gill Man but different so I would still call it unique. It does help further the classic “Green Martians” visual you get from those aliens which is cool. If anything this might have been one of the films to help strengthen that concept from the start. He is strong and surprisingly quick at times so this villain definitely gets to look good. It adds to the sense of danger in the film. While the climax can be a little long without a whole lot happening due to how durable the creature is, it does help to show why the crew would fear him so much.

By the end of the film it’s safe to say that nobody else will be going to Mars for a very long time. The place just isn’t safe anymore. Just one alien did a lot of damage, imagine a whole bunch of them? Space is also the last place where you want to face off against any enemies because there is just no escape. If you lose then that’s game over because you don’t have room to retreat. If anything the main characters were lucky to last as long as they did because the ship had a lot of different levels.

Overall, This was a fun film. It had good dialogue and an engaging plot. The government may have only gotten two scenes but they were both fun. The film is fairly short so you’ll knock it out quickly. This allows the alien himself to appear right away at least, I want to say he showed up within a few minutes although the first battle with the humans wasn’t for a little while after that. It’s not quite ready to top some of the other classic Alien stories but it’s a pretty good movie all the same. It also seems rare that we get an alien movie in actual outer space like this, at least back in the 50s. The effects were good though so this has aged well.

Overall 7/10

Fire in the Sky Review


All right, it’s time to look at a true story about someone who was abducted by aliens and lived to tell the tale…..? Hold up, wait a minute…something ain’t right! Aliens are already around and kidnapping people? Now, I will grant you that I don’t 100% believe that there is no chance of aliens appearing but if you ask me, we’ll all know when they show up. In this day and age I don’t think it’s a secret that could be contained and I highly doubt they will be going around and abducting people without causing a scene. It just doesn’t seem likely. Also if they’re advanced enough to reach us from some unexplored solar system while we still struggle to get more than a few people to the Moon at a time…we’d be pretty much doomed.

So, we start the movie off with a group of loggers heading to the mountains for work. It’s made clear from the start that none of them get along all that well except for Mike and Travis who are best friends…or so we’re supposed to believe. I have my doubts personally. Anyway, they are heading home when a spaceship appears. It zaps Travis with one of their mega lasers and he hits the ground hard. Mike and the gang immediately assume he’s dead and despite being “Best Friends” Mike decides to hightail it out of there. After driving for a while Mike’s conscience finally catches up to him and he turns back. Unfortunately, Travis is no longer there.

Now these guys are considered the primary suspects in a murder case. After all, with no body and a lot of bad blood in the group, many people think that Mike and the gang murdered Travis. Now since this is based on a book Travis wrote, you know he eventually returns and at least that helps stop the murder charges but their social reputations have all been hurt quite a bit. The film hurt itself in quite a few ways too. Granted, it is better than the Communion but I would still give this film a thumbs down.

Lets start on the iffy parts because that’s the most fun. Right off the bat the film tries to really hit you with a sledgehammer of how aliens are so real that someone randomly mistakes a street light for a UFO. Yes, the sheriff is driving in his car when he suddenly sees UFO lights approaching. He semi panics but then looks up and it’s just the lights that flash when a train is approaching. Presumably as he takes this route all the time he would have encountered this a lot so…why so scared now?

Now this next one was a doozy for me but you can technically rationalize it. So Travis calls Mike up after he escapes the alien ship and explains that he is by a gas station and needs someone to save him. The gang show up but now Travis can’t talk at all and is so traumatized that he can’t be touched either. After a lot of rehab and work in the hospital he is able to say a few words at least and blames Mike for all of this. How was he able to make the call though?

The defense you can give to this is that the trauma hadn’t sunk in yet and he was able to make the call before it all set in. The adrenaline stepped up and all that. It’s a defense and you can make it work but it still seems like a stretch. I feel like it would have been better for a grand light to be in the sky or something that let the characters know where he was. I think that would have worked a lot better.

As for his adventure in alien world, I think they probably shouldn’t have even included it. The film’s close to 2 hours and I want to say that this scene doesn’t happen until the final 20 minutes of the film. By that point you are so far to the end and the whole thing had been played out in a pretty realistic way that you might as well have kept it that way. If all we knew about the alien abduction was Travis’ word on it then this would really feel like a pretty accurate description of what went down. We would have what Travis claimed happened here and the interesting visuals at the beginning.

By showing us the inside of the alien ship it definitely steps more into full sci-fi town. The aliens seem rather weak individually so I have to say Travis missed his chance to win this one. At one point he knocks one of their helmets off and the alien looks ancient. I’m talking Yoda levels of old. The room was an anti-grav zone so Travis needed to use his momentum by kicking off of the wall and landing a direct punch. Presumably that would knock out the alien and then he could take his time trying to escape. Unfortunately he handled it in the worst ways possible as he just panicked the whole time before seemingly being knocked out.

The experiments that were ran on him were certainly pretty gross that’s for sure. Aliens seem to love torturing humans in pretty much every medium, no wonder why people are so scared of them. Between this movie, Alien, and Predator, it seems like they’re all out to get the humans once and for all. So yeah I’d cut out the alien scene and keep this as a very grounded tale of something weird happening to Travis and the rest of the characters having to wonder if they really saw what they saw or if they were mistaken. Perhaps it was an experimental plane from another country or something.

In the actual town is where you get the more interesting dynamics. I liked the cop that was brought in from another state who is supposed to be an expert on these things. He did a good job of taking control of the narrative right away and trying to get to the bottom of things. He doesn’t buy into the alien angle at all and is very confident the whole time. I liked this confidence, he didn’t suddenly start believing in aliens or panicking. He just treated it like another case to be solved.

I wasn’t a big fan of any of the main characters though. For Mike, ditching Travis was a huge mistake. That just shouldn’t have happened. In the heat of the moment you either fight or flee and now the rest of them will know what his gut reaction is. Dallas was the worst of the guys as he picks fights for no real reason the entire time. He really makes himself out to be an even bigger suspect than necessary. There’s also just nothing to like about the guy and I don’t see why they kept him on the crew.

The other members of the crew were less memorable and mainly here to fill in the numbers. Mainly the most important member of the crew is Mike as we see various characters begin to doubt him. Even his wife and daughter both keep asking him what really happened as if he was lying about the whole thing. It definitely doesn’t do wonders for his self esteem and as the film goes on he seems to have quite a lot of survivor’s guilt.

The writing is pretty solid for the most part here. It’s not a very eventful movie for most of its run but at least on a technical standpoint I thought the movie did a decent job. It didn’t take a lot of risks and the way it handled the town’s reactions seemed to be on point. It was nice to see the lie detector machine as well. I feel like we should hopefully have better machines by now but even recently I remember seeing a video of some billionaires trying one out and you’re still limited to responding with a Yes or No to each question or it doesn’t work well. That’s really limiting and it also seems like it’s hard to get an accurate response out of it. It’s nice but I wouldn’t put a whole lot of stock into the results based on this.

Overall, Fire in the Sky hardly seems like an event that would have really happened but I suppose you never know. I’d like to see one of these films where the guy being abducted fights back a little more though or maybe at least one film where the aliens aren’t gross about everything. Maybe one where they actually have some noticeable cultures and seem civilized instead of pretty mindless the whole time. Give us some cooler alien designs too. Instead of the usual stuff, have them look like Vasto Lordes from Bleach or maybe Insects from Hunter X Hunter. That would be a nice change.

Overall 4/10

Starcrash Review


Whenever you see a film about aliens, action, and outer space you know that things are about to get real. This is definitely a film that is quite solid as a result. You can expect a lot of good battles and fun dialogue with lightning fast pacing. It’s a good all around movie that has withstood the test of time and it actually does end up beating the majority of Star War titles and even some Star Treks.

The movie starts off by introducing us to the greatest pilot in all the cosmos Stella and her ally Akton. Together they commit a lot of crimes and have fun doing it. They end up getting cornered by the police though so when they escape they end up being captured by the Police. The police end up breaking them out of jail though to stop Count Zarth. They will be accompanied by the police robot named Elle and an alien known as Thor. This all seems rather trust worthy so now they need to find Prince Simon so he can assist the Emperor in stopping the Count. Can they find him? Also, what if he didn’t survive the plane crash?

There is a whole lot going on in this film right from the start. One thing you’ll definitely enjoy if you’re a sci-fi fan is all of the action. The characters are using their blasters to wipe everyone out and they even get a light saber at one point. There are a lot of hand to hand fights where Stella even gets to beat back legions of adversaries. This is a movie that knows how to get a good rumble going.

As for the visuals, they’re on point as well. It’s definitely got that Star Wars/Trek vibe to it with the spaceships all around and a lot of space fights. The pacing is on point and I’d say the writing was pretty good. You’ll always be engaged as the characters exchange tough talk and try to size each other up. Thor openly mocking the heroes was certainly fun after he took over the ship.

Now, one very forced element in the film though is that Stella’s uniform doesn’t seem to be standard procedure. It’s extremely noticeable when the heroes are taken to the villain base that everyone has super weapons grade combat suits at the ready while she’s wearing more of a Red Sonja type costume which she keeps for pretty much the whole film. It’s definitely a “really?” kind of moment.

Still, beyond that she is a fun character. Technically she is the captain of her ship and a top notch hand to hand fighter after all. It would be surprising if she couldn’t deal with this level of opponent. The trouble is that she has no real defenses though. What that means is that if the villains catch her she will be yelling for help almost immediately. Despite being the tough heroine in the film she does get captured quite a bit.

Then you have her partner Akton. He is one of those guys who is so powerful that we never even learn his full abilities. He seems to be able to manipulate vectors, fire energy blasts, see the future, use energy weapons nobody’s ever heard of before, and that’s just for starters. He can do just about anything but still gets knocked around from time to time. Still, if you need someone to have your back he’s probably the best pick you could ask for.

Elle is another standout character here. He’s a very upbeat robot who is always yelling and having a good time. While he does get nervous a lot, he is always ready to jump into the fray to save lives. It’s why he makes for a good cop and why he never gave up when going after Stella. There’s clearly a lot of history there and it makes for some good banter. He added a lot to the dynamic.

Next up is Simon who doesn’t show up until near the end. He seems like a good character though and is definitely a heroic one. Without him the heroes would have been in a sticky situation by the end. He’s definitely not very necessary though as you could certainly have not had him appear and things wouldn’t change much. Thor was a more interesting character with how confident of his skills he was. The guy was even able to take down Akton in their first fight which is no small feat.

As for The Emperor, his time control tech is super impressive to be sure. You have to wonder why he was so helpless before Stella and Akton got rid of all of the obstacles. Surely he could have done more against the Count right? The Count was definitely a fun villain though. He has a cool costume and a very classic villain laugh. This guy had a tendency to get amused quite often after all.

The minion designs are also fun. As the film goes on we meet a giant robot like something out of Ultraman that shows up to step on the heroes. Then you have a pair of robots who wield swords that can even turn into energy blades. All of this helped to really show how dangerous the army of the count was. It’s also fortunate that Elle was around with his blasters. The robot was not taking any prisoners and must have disintegrated dozens of opponents throughout the film. Ultimately the sheer numbers were just too much for him to stop.

Overall, Starcrash is a very good film. It’s definitely a blast to watch and the kind of film you really don’t see anymore. It’s a relic of its time and a reminder of the good ole days of sci-fi films. The only element of the film anywhere near a negative would be that Stella should have had a proper battle suit like everyone else. Beyond that, the film delivered with showing us various planets and introducing a lot of concepts. The contrast of Stella being extremely confident but losing most of her fights while Elle was always scared but kept beating everyone he fought made for a nice dynamic as well. With a few sequels this could have easily become the next big Sci-Fi series. I guess it wasn’t to be this time but any fan of the genre owes it to themselves to watch this.

Overall 7/10

Communion Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

Whenever you have a film with aliens in it you are hoping that a lot of fun things are in store for you. Aliens should be fun and make for imposing villains. Unfortunately that was not the case here. The film is based on a book of pure fanfiction from an author who was delusional but you hope that the film can surpass this. That’s not the case though and the film is very weird from the start. This weirdness ultimately starts to crossover into just being an awful film and by the end you’ll be cringing so hard that this will hit rock bottom. The film was just reeeeally bad.

The movie starts with a guy named Whitley who is an aspiring author. The issue is that he can’t focus on anything for more than 5 minutes so instead of working on the book he’ll play pranks on his wife and kid. Whitley is always rambling on about random stuff but one night when a few friends are over there is a bright light that shines across the world. An alien shows up as well. Whitley doesn’t want to tell anyone about this though so he keeps quiet and continues to go more and more insane. Eventually the aliens come back to kidnap him and things get dicey for the guy. Can he cope with the experiences that he went through?

Part of the problem here is even before the abduction, Whitley already seems certifiably insane. He just never makes any possible sense. He’s always wearing a different costume while working on his book and never ends up making any progress on it either since he ends up throwing out what he had started on each time. Then once the aliens do appear he starts to grow worse as he sees them everywhere. Hypnosis only makes the visions grow even more and he can’t trust anyone even at the end so he fights on his own. One of the annoying things about Whitley is that he’s also really bad at explaining things. Often times he may make an attempt to talk about the aliens but he does it in such a round about way that it doesn’t get through.

Additionally, the aliens seem to have told him not to tell anyone. Throughout the film we eventually learn more about what happened. See, initially we only get the quick jump scare before going to the present but a lot more happened that night. By the end of the film we learn that they definitely did a number on him. So, you would expect that after this he would probably want revenge or something right? Well, this leads to the most insane part of the film where he tracks the aliens down and ends up dancing with them for kicks.

Never mind the fact that the aliens also attacked his wife and used psychic powers to murder his son once already (and vowed to return) but he still wants to dance with them. He takes the old approach of forgive and forget. His wife doesn’t seem to mind either when he tells the story to her. The whole thing is just off the walls. It’s clear that after a point Communion is intentionally trying to be as weird as possible. The characters just don’t make a whole lot of sense with their actions. If they should do something then they will do the other. I dare say the dancing scene had to be part comedy or something. How do you seriously do a scene like that? The music was also as happy as possible for ultimate contrast.

A better film could have handled this well as perhaps a parody of some sort but not this one. This film seems to actually be trying to have a horror vibe at times but I can tell you now that it doesn’t succeed in the slightest. The characters are all too ludicrous for that to work. They never act scared in a natural way so why should we be scared? Whitley has a panic attack at one point when a kid scares him using a costume and it’s so over the top that you’ll just be shaking your head. The writing isn’t any good either. You’ll lose count of how many times the wind has to silence Whitley as he goes off on a tangent. The actual story makes no sense either.

The film doesn’t exactly have any subtlety either. For example a big thing here is that Whitley is traumatized because the aliens physically ran experiments on him including some rather invasive maneuvers. Anyone can put the pieces together particularly because there are tons of memes about this and it’s the first question someone asks whenever anyone mentions being abducted by aliens. Communion doesn’t realize that though so we get a long flashback detailing this just for extra grit and edge. The movie tries to make this as tragic as possible with Whitley attempting to fight them off at first, then trying to joke around so they’d let him go but none of this works.

It makes the rest of the scenes with him and the aliens even worse. It seems like the film was trying to say Whitley had stockholm’s syndrome with the aliens to an extent and that’s why he likes them now but that’s a very disturbed way to end the title. You just know that by the end he has completely lost and that’s the real shame here. There isn’t a happy ending to be found as the aliens have won and you know that more and more humans will keep on being attacked. Since nobody believes that the aliens exist it’s not like anyone has begun to fight back against them either. That just means that the aliens have completely won.

The premise has some potential of course because alien invasions are fun. Maybe have the government find out about this and have them send over some heavy artillery. I think that would go a very long way to making this interesting. At the end of the day one of the big things holding this film back aside from all the other negatives like the endless flashbacks, slow pacing, extra grit, and characters making nonsensical choices the entire time is that the character cast is just really bad. They all come off as insane and it’s really hard to follow a group of characters like that.

Overall, Communion is definitely a disgrace. There aren’t any core positives to be found here. The movie wastes a whole lot of time in each plot so the story developments that are in the film could have easily been handled in half the time. I like to think a sequel could start to fix this film a bit by making it a total action thriller but the first step is to completely shift the focus from this film. Maybe even ignore this film entirely so in a way the sequel of this film would be starting from scratch. Kind of like a reboot. Regardless, I would highly recommend staying far away from this one.

Overall 0/10

Warning from Space Review


It’s time to look at a retro sci-fi film complete with aliens. I’m always up for a good sci-fi epic and aliens approaching usually means some kind of invasion is here right? Wellllllll…not quite this time. I was really surprised because for the first time since 2001: A Space Odyssey this was a sci-fi film that was a little…boring. Nothing really happens for a large portion of the film which was disappointed and even the climax is fairly underwhelming. Should have gone the invasion route.

The movie starts with a group of starfish aliens discussing what to do about Earth. They need to contact the scientists of the planet. There’s a few ways they can go about this of course. One would be to send some kind of radio transmission from space while allowing their spaceship to be seen to prove that they are who they say they are. Perhaps they could beam a few people down and start talking to the humans real quick. Preferably in a bullet proof suit since the humans love to blast things right away. Send some cool signals, send a UFO, maybe kidnap a few of the humans real quick. Well…instead they try slowly walking out of the ocean and breaking into homes but don’t really talk so people naturally think they’re monsters.

You may be questioning the alien’s intelligence at this point but then they decide they’ll just copy the appearance of a human and send someone in undercover. Perfect…except what’s the next move? She spends some time playing tennis with the group and acting human except for when she jumps 10 feet and walks through doors that are still closed for kicks. She’s not great at staying undercover. She burns some notes and only after the main characters make some deductions does she finally reveal her intentions of why she is here and how to save the planet. I just don’t understand what the aliens were thinking, there were so many better ways of getting around this.

It’s hard to say how much of the plot to explain here because I suppose the reason they are here at all would be a spoiler to an extent. Still, the main characters do get on board with this plan rather quickly. While that may be a little too trusting on their part, it does end up working out so I suppose it was for the best. Without going into specifics, the whole thing once again makes the aliens look kind of suspect. They are very quick to destroy the formula to a super weapon since it’s too dangerous and yet they didn’t think that this weapon would be useful against the upcoming crisis? Hmmmmm.

Lets talk about the main characters now. First up is Dr. Matsuda who is a genius and has discovered a weapon even more powerful than atomic energy. He stays strong throughout the film even when put into great danger and at least he does take some things in stride like when Ginko (the main alien) confronts him. The guy does well to memorize his formula as well so that came in handy. Then you’ve got Toru and his father Mr. Itsobe who get major roles. Mr. Itsobe is effectively the leader of the heroes because of how he’s quite intelligent but also very resourceful. Without him the characters would be in trouble although he is a little quick to dismiss the possibility of aliens. He also refuses to even speculate on things until he has a lot of evidence so you don’t even need to bother asking him for an opinion initially. Toru may not be a brilliant professor yet but he helps out quite a bit and is one of the first people to find evidence of Ginko not being your average mortal.

One thing that doesn’t help the film’s case either is that some animals don’t quite make it by the end. This even includes a dog and you may be wondering what the point of the scene was. There wasn’t one really. I thought perhaps the film would save itself in the end as we see some animals running around but it’s heavily implied that these are completely different animals and that the originals are all dead. If we had seen one of the old ones then maybe we could say they lived but otherwise I feel as though that would be a jump on our end. So the film loses points there as well.

As to what the film did right, I did like the design of the star creatures. It was pretty fun seeing them walk around even if it could be a little hard to understand them at times. That’s probably more due to the quality of the film since it’s so old at this point compared to the costumes themselves. The graphics definitely looked quite old as I guess the film has probably deteriorated at this point. The sets were on point though.

I wouldn’t call the writing particularly impressive but I didn’t think it was bad either. There’s just not a lot going on for most of the film and the characters don’t engage in any real witty banter or memorable one liners which limits the film’s ability to keep you engaged. It’s not a super long movie but it is one where you feel the length. The average James Bond film which is around 2 hours will typically feel shorter than this one due to how things are always happening. At the end of the day I feel as though the film just went with the wrong tact. It should have gone with the classic alien invasion storyline.

If you are going to go with more of an undercover story as the aliens try to contact the humans, I think the plot needs to be nailed down a little more on why they did things so out of the way. Why couldn’t they just contact the humans in another way or explain the plot as soon as the transformation occurred? It felt like Ginko just didn’t know exactly what her plan was initially. There are ways to make this plot work but it is a little more difficult than actually having a real villain to go up against. That’s probably why some random gangsters were added in the end but lets face it, their roles are extremely small.

Overall, Warning from Space is a very accurate title but this just isn’t a particularly engaging film. There isn’t a true sense of danger for almost all of it and the dialogue isn’t very engaging. The characters don’t really progress much in what they’re saying so it feels like they are talking in circles a lot of the time. This movie really needed to add some more excitement and also definitely leave the animals out of it since they had no business being here. A sequel to this film could be quite good though if they up the action and make it so another race of aliens is here to end the planet or something like that. Now that could work out quite nicely.

Overall 4/10

Horror Express Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

Whenever you have a mummy running around you wanna be careful since the heroes are in for a tough fight. This movie adds some tension by trapping all of the heroes on a train. It’s a pretty nice idea and with the body count growing quite high there is a real sense of danger. Unfortunately the film wastes quite a lot of its potential on going for a very gritty approach. The atmosphere is just right and the villain has a pretty interesting design but these factors are not enough to save the movie.

The movie starts by introducing us to the characters. Saxton has uncovered a rather big discovery and something that he hopes will further his research. He wants to keep this a secret though so he keeps a huge box locked up tight and forbids anyone from looking at it. Then you have the Count and Countess who are aboard this train as well along with a monk named Pujardov who is convinced that there is something sinister in the box. Then you have Wells who is hoping to have a relaxing time here. There’s also a lady who has seemingly snuck aboard without a ticket who convinces Wells to look the other way. We’ve got a whole slew of characters here but then one guy decides to open the box and it turns out to be more than he bargained for. The creature inside it is now unleashed and hungers for brains!

I’d consider the monster to be a mummy for the most part just with how he acts/looks. The whole absorbing brains part is more like a zombie though and then he has the stare of death which is like something out of Dracula. So they’re going for quite a lot with this villain and then the kicker is later on we see he’s from another planet. So really he’s an alien, but you could say that he’s an Alien mummy zombie at this point. You could use all 3 terms and it would still be pretty accurate so that’s neat. The villain can assume many forms and manipulates the cast quite a bit. When you mix in his quick stare of death you can see how he is easily able to overwhelm most fighters.

This is a horror film that loves showing everyone get murdered for as long as possible though. Prepare to see all of the characters get choked for a long time with epic zoom ins as they try to fight back. Everyone dies rather bloodily and there is a big body count here. We also see the characters run autopsies on screen which can be pretty brutal. The effects are on point but if you’re not a fan of scenes like that then you definitely may want to take a step back here. The film doesn’t shy away from these scenes and can definitely get pretty graphic.

As for the characters, Saxton is definitely quite sure of himself and has no real sympathy for anyone. He’s no hero so it’s an interesting change from what you would expect. I found him to be pretty fun even if he was part of the problem for the heroes during most of the movie. If he was a little more reasonable then things wouldn’t have gone this far. Then you have Wells who is a lot more heroic and willing to help out. He’s not exactly thrilled about this going on while he’s trying to enjoy the ride but at least he actually wants to help. He comes up with some good plans as well and helps make most of the discoveries on what is going on here.

The Count doesn’t get much of a role except to wave his death flag quite high. The Countess’ role is significantly larger as she gets very close to the action. Near the end it feels like she’s just running from zombie to zombie but she never fainted or anything like that which is good. You’ve got the monk Pujardov who cracked almost instantly. He’s definitely not someone that you want to have your back because you just couldn’t trust him to protect you when it counted. That’s the kind of support that you just don’t need. Then there’s the inspector Mirov who meant well. It’s always good to have a cop on board to try and keep everyone calm. At least he got a shot off which was definitely appreciated. Likewise you had Kazan who was a lot more extreme but at least threw a knife at the villain and even got a few shots in so tht was pretty impressive. just a little more and he could have won.

Of course, you do have to question how likely it is that this villain would be down for long. He is effectively living energy or a kind of being that is not physical the way that most are. I even doubt that in the ending of the film he is truly gone. These kinds of villains always seem to regenerate and try again in the future. Still, the heroes did pretty good. At least the fact that he has to body hop when the vessel is injured enough is a decent weakness since it buys you a lot of time to escape. The second half of the movie switching to more of a thriller on wondering which body was currently housing the villain was a nice approach.

Overall, There was definitely a lot going on in this train. The Horror Express is an interesting movie and one that is pretty unique. It’s very rare that you have a horror/survival film that takes place on a train. I’ll give the film kudos for that but ultimately it will still be doomed to a low score in the end. The violence can be over the top quite often and the surgery scenes don’t help matters. At times the film is just more focused on the shock value then on actually moving things forward. You could have easily handled this film a lot differently and would have come away with a superior plot. If you’re a huge fan of survival stories and don’t mind the violence then I would recommend it but otherwise you should check out a different option like The Green Slime.

Overall 3/10

Plan 9 From Outer Space Review


If you ever thought that having a movie with aliens and zombies would be too overwhelming for a film then this is one you need to check out. Plan 9 From Outer Space reminds us that a film can be as ambitious as it wants to be and still succeed so long as the writing is on point. The movie is fairly short but really manages to deliver on a whole lot of content. It’s a fun ride from start to finish and Inspector Daniel really ends up showing everyone how to handle supernatural cases like this. It’s rare to see a detective with such poise under pressure.

The movie starts with some people seeing a UFO as it heads to Earth. It is somehow able to bring the dead back to life and the body count slowly begins to grow. The aliens are using Plan 9 to take over the Earth. Basically what this entails is bumping off the most competent humans and then turning them into Zombies. These zombies will then crush the rest of the humans. The process of turning people into zombies seems rather quick to be honest so you may question why they don’t just turn everyone into zombies and be done with it. With their advanced weapons maybe they could just blow the planet to kingdom come right? I assume they need the planet alive since they want to take it over of course but then at least using it to take out some of the key bases. Well, since they haven’t done that, Daniel has a chance to crack the case and foil this plot.

On the surface Daniel probably seems like he’s out of his league here. He’s a tough detective who has had a long history of finding any kind of clue, but what clues will help him stop Plan 9? At the very least he never really ponders this and just gets into the action which is admirable. Pretty much any scene he is in Daniel starts pointing out mistakes others have made. The others really aren’t of any use without him and it shows. Daniel’s got to be the best character here in part because of his overwhelming confidence the whole time. I always like when a lead is decisive like that.

Not all of the characters are quite as on the ball though and I should say that despite the long writeup…Daniel isn’t the main character. He doesn’t quite last as long as you would expect. No, our lead is Jeff and he’s a pretty earnest guy. He’s certainly seen more action in the field than Daniel as a pilot and quickly gets thrown into the thick of it. If you wanted to see a human actually fight with one of these aliens mano a mano then you’ll have your chance. There is one scene in particular that may stretch your imagination though as one of the zombies heads to Jeff’s house. Keep in mind that the zombies are rather obvious since they can’t move a whole lot and have a vacant expression on their face. At most you can maybe understand his kid not realizing that something was up but Jeff’s wife should have suspected something when the guy just kept grunting the whole time. Then Jeff himself didn’t notice until he went in the car and it was too late to get out. Not very observant eh?

There’s just so much going on with a bunch of characters at the ready. As a result one of the characters doesn’t even get to say anything and he just runs around with recycled footage the whole time. It’s definitely an interesting decision and shows that the cutting floor can really change the whole feel of a character arc. The movie is pretty short at only around an hour so it’s pretty impressive how many storylines and characters are juggled. What really sells this film is the solid writing. The characters talk like a really old movie with the witty banter and iconic one liners. They all seem like reasonable people who have to band together to stop a common enemy. You can’t really go wrong with that setup.

The aliens themselves are pretty fun as well even if they do get a bit nervous at times. It’s hard to forget the scene where they lose control of the zombie and it nearly chokes them all out. If you can’t beat your own creations that’s a bad sign. It did foreshadow that they would likely have trouble against ordinary humans though. After all, if you can’t beat a zombie then that means your strength is under theirs and probably fairly ordinary in nature. Their best bet was destroying us all with technology and as soon as they did not go with that plan I knew they were going to have a hard time of it.

One last strength that the film has is certainly all of the government scenes. We see them trying to shoot down the UFO with lasers and when that fails they fall back to pretending it never happened. I always like to see the government involved as it makes everything a little more tense and professional-like. They have a whole subplot here as they try to figure things out and it makes sense since Jeff is also intertwined in that. All we needed was a courtroom scene and this movie really would have had every strong scenario from these retro movies.

Overall, This is a really fun movie. You have a whole lot of themes and genres stuffed in here. You’ve got the mystery from the humans’ perspective of what’s going on, horror with the zombies running around, sci-fi thanks to the aliens, and maybe even some drama with people coping with the dead characters coming back although this isn’t really played up. We’ve also got a fantastic climax with quite a lot of action. On one hand you’ve got the 1 on 1 human vs alien battle and on the other you have a full army war scene of the heroes fighting off the zombies. I was definitely happy to see the army getting involved. Usually you don’t see that, but it makes sense with the invasion plans in motion.

Overall 7/10

The Super Inframan Review


It’s time to look at an old school Power Rangers type film. I have always been a big fan of the Rangers, but never really got around to checking out any of their shows. Well, this is the next closest thing and it does reassure me that this type of series is definitely up my ally. The Super Inframan is a great film that is a lot of fun from start to finish. It’s hard to go wrong with a nice array of monsters and hand to hand fights like we have here. The film may not be all that long, but they fit in a ton of action and quality scenes. There is never a dull moment to be found here.

The film starts with the Dragon Mom returning from her long slumber and she decides to destroy the world. She has amassed an army of powerful monsters ranging from spellcasters to more traditional creatures. Her second in command is a normal humanoid though and while she may sound out of her depth this character is actually a good fighter. The heroes realize that they need some power to counter this so a scientist gives Lei a shot that transforms him into the Super Inframan. In this form there is nothing that he can’t do. Lei decides to stop the villain group no matter what. It looks like this time he will actually have to try.

It’s hard to know where to start here since the film is really good on a lot of levels. I guess we should do the obvious first and that is the fight scenes. They are all really well done with a lot of excellent choreography. One of the standout fights is when one of Lei’s friends attacks the villains on his own. He actually does a great job of taking down dozens of them before he is eventually defeated by one of the monsters using a net ability. All of the other fights are good too though like the climax where it is a big battle royale or the various fights as Inframan. Aside from one match that was just beam spamming from side to side all of his fights were hand to hand as well.

Inframan also has a good array of powers which served him well during the matches as well. He can turn giant, fire off his fists, use laser blasts, etc. It’s really hard to defeat someone like this and Inframan is definitely shown as the strongest fighter except for possibly the Dragon Mom who was dominating him in the fight. Granted, Inframan was a little weakened from his other battles. Lei is a solid lead and I dare say that his dynamic as Lei and Inframan was more enjoyable than Hayata and Ultraman. This is due in part to the fact that Lei has more personality and is just a likable guy. He’s pretty quick on the uptake and always ready to help out. He also doesn’t hesitate to transform and take on the villains at any time.

Then you’ve also got the soundtrack which is pretty fun. Inframan’s main theme is suitably heroic and gives you an extra jolt of energy whenever he is getting ready to join the fray. Now there is one technical level where the film falters and that is the fact that it uses a lot of recycled footage whenever Inframan transforms. This is likely intentional as part of the camp factor, but it’s still got to be noted. Recycled footage is something you really don’t want to use as it feels like stalling for time. I also question why the footage was the triple flip. It’s not like that’s something that Inframan does a lot furing the movie.

The villains are also very solid which speaks to the solid writing and character cast of the movie. The Dragon Mom is definitely one of the best ones. I like her confidence and she is quite merciless. I was not expecting her to actually murder one of the heroes so that definitely surprised me. It’s not every day that you see a villain make a move like that. Whoever did her English voice did a solid job. Then you’ve got her fighting abilities which were sound. Her minions had a cool uniform and the other monsters at her disposal all put up valiant fights. While you aren’t likely going to remember their names you’ll remember the designs and their determination. The human also put up a great fight against Inframan and it was brave to even attempt to fight him. The villains were surprisingly loyal and I also liked how upbeat they were. You’d see them dancing in the background whenever the Dragon Mom was talking.

The heroes are solid as well. There’s less to say about most of them since they stay on the sidelines, but as I mentioned one of Lei’s main friends did a good job holding off the enemies by himself. The other members can also fight even if they never got a big moment to shine. They were still able to contribute and that’s the important thing. There are no annoying characters here. There’s nothing even remotely negative to say about the film. The pacing is on point, the writing is great, the fight scenes are amazing, this is just a very well rounded film and one that I could easily re-watch. There’s a lot of fun to be had here and it’s a shame that they just don’t make movies like this anymore.

Overall, The Super Inframan is one of those super obscure films that deserves to be more well known than it actually is. You’d have a lot of fun watching this movie for sure. On one hand it plays on your nostalgia as you remember what great fun this era was and on the other hand you get to see a new superhero taking down legions of monsters. I liked the suit they used for the Super Inframan and the ones for the monsters as well. It feels like this was probably a pretty big budget film back in its day. Hopefully the Inframan gets revived in some form or another at some point because this franchise still has a ton of potential left in it.

Overall 8/10

A.I. Artificial Intelligence Review


It’s time to look at a rather unique Sci-Fi film that balances a bunch of genres, but mainly focuses on the drama aspect. Unfortunately it suffers from being an overly long, melodramatic film that makes quite a few mistakes. It doesn’t make for a particularly engaging watch and the whole time you will just be wondering where Skynet is. When you watch films with humans worrying about the robots becoming a threat, you look forward to seeing the robots take over. Instead the film is mainly just the humans picking on the robots for a long while with no real payoff of any kind.

The film starts with a couple deciding to adopt a robot kid in place of their real son who is in a coma. This definitely didn’t seem like a reasonable move right from the start. At first you think that this might make sense because you presume their son is dead. (Still a terrible decision as the wife even mentions that it’s like trying to replace their original kid since they bought a robot that looks exactly like the son) but when you find out that he’s alive then the whole thing gets real messy. The worst part is that the husband is the one who decided to get him and once the son gets back he immediately turns on the robot. Breeding robotic kids already seems like a super sketchy business to be honest. Well, the family abandons David so he goes on a journey to find out how to return home, but it could be difficult.

In this world robots aren’t able to fight back against their human oppressors so the humans use this as an excuse to beat them up as much as possible. The robots hopefully can’t really feel pain, but it’s still pretty dark and gruesome to be honest, much like the rest of the film. The whole film just comes across as rather disturbing and very dreary. There is never really a moment where the film feels hopeful or even fun. It’s just a very dull experience where the characters are stuck in a dystopia that they can’t hope to escape. You’ll definitely feel bad for David, but the problem is that he isn’t even an enjoyable character.

David may be an A.I. but he still isn’t very smart. Since he was programmed to be a kid that may serve as an explanation for this, but he doesn’t even know his robotic limitations. He He attempts to eat food when dared to which causes him to shut down and then he doesn’t even know common sense. He shouldn’t even be able to lift a pair of scissors since you’d think that it would register as a weapon and his self defense mechanism doesn’t seem very great to be honest. He also comes across as very ungrateful at the end of the film as he is mean to the beings who find him and is always sulky. Kids can’t really hold their own film and I suppose this still applies even when the kid is robotic.

David meets up with another robot who helps him learn the ways of the world, but that guy isn’t great. His character gimmick is that he is a robot who provides pleasure for the Earthlings, but that doesn’t work out well either. Naturally some other humans don’t like this so they frame him for murder and send him to the robot circus where they are all blown up. David doesn’t even feel bad about ditching this guy which tells you all that you need to know about him. There are no good characters in this film, that’s something you’ll learn very quickly. If you count inanimate objects, which you probably should because once you go into robotics the distinction starts to get a little tricky, then the Teddy Bear is reasonable. He’s another rather dark character with a morbid sense of humor but at least he won’t be backstabbing anyone like the other characters. He seems like a really random character at the start, but by the end he fits in well enough.

The end of the film gets really crazy. I won’t go into detail, but the jump does take us 20K years in the future to see how the Earth ultimately turned out. It’s definitely the optimal timeline if you ask me even if it does seem like the inhabitants probably aren’t having too much fun at this point. I guess you can’t win em all right? At least there shouldn’t be much crime at all anymore. It’s not a great ending or anything, but I guess I can appreciate how out there it all is. Throw in some big fight scenes and maybe the film could have been saved.

At the end of the day, this movie could have been better if it wasn’t so disturbing and creepy the whole time. If you’re going to do a story about Androids and what it means to be human, you need to do it in a better way. I don’t think it works very well if the main android is a kid because then it isn’t able to really handle the themes properly. It just doesn’t work at all and the alternative is to have a film like Terminator where the robots decide to take over the world. Having a twist like that during the second half of the film would have been absolutely amazing. A shame that it didn’t go that way right?

Overall, I would not recommend A.I. While it is a step up from complete flops like 2001: A Space Odyssey, it reminds you why the Sci-Fi genre is best when it doesn’t try to hard to be super deep and emotional. Mixing those two genres just doesn’t work very well so you need to focus on the action aspect or just being a light hearted adventure in the future. Emotional films like this one would likely fail either way, with or without the Sci-Fi angle though. If you want to see a film that just tries to be a Debbie Downer at all times then by all means go for it. Otherwise, I’d suggest just watching Terminator Genysis instead and reminding yourself why these robots can be dangerous and will eventually wipe out humanity.

Overall 1/10