2 StarsAlien Opponent‘s plot is basically summed up in its title. An alien crash-lands in a junkyard and the owners offer a cash reward to whoever can rid them of this pest. Unfortunately what should be an easy home run is overcomplicated by the human characters and story lines that have little to no payoff. Alien Opponent is a little too “indie”, with its odd character assortment and strange alien tech, when it should have been more action oriented and a tad more serious. The tone and look reminded me of a lesser Death Machine (Stephen Norrington’s 1994 directorial debut) minus the charm of those early low budget 90’s action flicks.
Straddled with too many characters and too much plot that has nothing to do with the alien opponent of the title, this movie is far too slow, with all the tangents story lines it takes, and makes its 91 minute running time seem much much longer.
The film starts out focused on some hicks in nowhere USA and their junkyard. A pretty young thing, Meghan (Ashley Bates), is married to a nasty old man, Tom (Kevin Shea). She got hitched to this horrible guy because of all the property he owns – essentially she’s a gold digger. After some abuse her mother hauls off and hits Tom over the head, killing him. Then the alien crash lands and they lose the body. Afraid that they won’t get any insurance money they hatch a plan to rid themselves of their alien guest and recover Tom’s body. Throughout this time the film has meandered about, with Tom’s friends running around trying to chase down the alien and accidentally shooting each other or simply becoming alien fodder. Now into the second act where finally we get to the main plot and our junkyard women are offering a bounty to anyone that can kill the alien. Humorously and, I must admit, with some pretty neat special effects the towns people who dare to try are dispatched one by one in different dastardly ways by the alien and his booby traps. This naturally becomes too repetitive after some time and the film once again falls into a state of boredom and oddity. I’ll never understand why the movie does things like have a father finally realize his dreams of reuniting with his daughter and then immediately wipe it all away as if it was an after thought that somehow remained in the script.
The acting is quite good though, regardless of the plot’s pitfalls. Roddy Piper as a fighting priest, Ashley Bates as the trashy Meghan, Jeremy London, Kevin Shea, Cuyle Carvin, Adrienne LaValley and all the others stand out.
This film feels like more of a calling card or student thesis project than a professionally ironed out piece of work. Unless you like extremely odd and campy sci-fi, I’d stay away from Alien Opponent.
Director: Colin Theys
Stars: Ashley Bates, Jeremy London, Roddy Piper