Credentials: N/A (Not reviewed, Rottentomatoes.com) / 4.3 out of 10 (Imdb.com) / N/A (Not Reviewed, Metacritic.com)
Plot: A team of astronauts, led by smart-aleck Dr. Ivan Hood (Bruce Campbell), return from a mission to the far-reaches of outer space, expecting at the very least some type of ticker-tape parade to celebrate their homecoming. Instead, they find that Earth has been taken over by a gang of over-sized alien termites and all of humanity has been enslaved. Not content to let the wood-chompin’ ETs spoil his party--- and armed with a chin capable of cutting diamonds and a never ending quiver of one-liners--- Hood sets out to exterminate the hostile infestation with extreme prejudice. Hail to the king, baby!
Thoughts: The cover of the “Alien Apocalypse” DVD box boldly proclaims it as the “Highest Rated Sci-Fi (now: Sy-Fy) Pictures Original of All Time!” Now, you can take that as either a symptom of how unwatchable every other Sci-Fi Original was or simply attribute it to fanboy willingness to give everything B-movie icon Bruce Campbell does the time of day.
Campbell is a truly unique species of actor, one who can survive even in the harshest of climates. Good script or putrid script, he’ll be immensely entertaining regardless. His quick wit, signature mannerisms and over-the-top persona can elevate even the mangiest movies to enjoyable levels.
He’s on his wise-ass best in “Alien Apocalypse,” happily tossing around one-liners and corn-ball jokes with ease.
He needs his A-game too because he is surrounded by very little. The rest of the cast is comprised of a bunch of Bulgarian actors who apparently spoke very little English and worse: Renee O’Connor, who regular readers may remember from another Cheese List stinker: “2010: Moby Dick.”
O’Connor is nothing special. All the role calls for her to do is sit back and be seduced by Campbell’s charms, which she does. So, from that point of view--- great success!
The movie’s only an hour and 23 minutes, so even though the story loses steam in the second half, it could be worse.
The biggest problem: The aliens aren’t particularly threatening or effective in any way. Also, I’m not sure who decided they should all sound like Spongebob on helium, but it was a mistake.
Once the humans start fighting back, the aliens pretty much roll over. They’re dispatched so easily that it makes you wonder how they managed to take over the Earth in the first place. I know this isn’t a documentary but still, my disbelief can only be suspended so far.
The effects that bring the giant termite villains to life are exactly what you’d expect from a Sci-Fi Channel production--- cheap and hokey. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just saying.
Now, Campbell’s spun gold out of cheap effects and shaky stories before, but here he’s a man on an island. He does his best, but by god he’s only flesh and blood.
Like I said, the rest of the cast is just so utterly forgettable and useless.
Even though Campbell’s the only actor anyone remembers from the “Evil Dead” movies, he actually co-starred in them with Sam Raimi’s insane sense of humor. And so movie history was made.
“Alien Apocalypse” writer/director Josh Becker (longtime friend to both Campbell and Raimi) does an admirable job and he shares some of Raimi’s visual flair and penchant for silly sight gags, but he’s just not nearly on the same level.
The jokes are spread too thin and the action scenes are underwhelming. Maybe if the fearsome alien overlords weren’t such sissies and didn’t die so easily.
Still, Campbell’s performance, along with the breezy run time, makes it impossible not to like “Alien Apocalypse.” Fanboys will certainly get a kick out of it and the uninitiated should get a good laugh or two.
Besides, as far as straight to DVD Sci-Fi Channel productions go, you could do a lot worse.
:01- I’ve said it before: How come no matter who is in charge of the planet (humans, aliens, monkeys, orcs) horses always get stuck carting everyone around? Is there no justice? When's "Planet of the Horses" coming out?!
:14- So the aliens came to Earth to dine on wood, heads, fingers. You’d be hard-pressed to find a pallet that diverse anywhere, other than the Food Network, of course. Those people will eat anything.
:36- Question- “How do slugs mate?” Answer (provided by Campbell)-“Very carefully.
:45- “Tippacanoe and Tyler too?” Holy crap, you’ve found a reference that falls on deaf ears both in the future AND in 2005. Well played.
:59- What?! An ineffective politician? Well, I never!
1:07- Wow, “Alien Apocalypse” just turned into “Robin Hood,” only instead of Kevin Costner, we get Bruce Campbell and giant termites… fair trade.
Bruce being Bruce...
So there it is: “Alien Apocalypse.” Bumblebee tuna.