Alien Siege (TV)
R1 - America - Image Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James Teitelbaum (11th December 2007).
The Film

After an opening credits scene in which the camera flies through the solar system towards Earth, this movie begins with a bang - literally. Within the first minute of the story, a warship sent by the humanoid Kulku race blows up Los Angeles. The Kulku look and act basically like people, except that they're a bit more stiff in demeanor and they all wear little cell phone discs on their cheeks. They demand a ransom of the blood of eight million humans, which they need in order to insure the survival of their own ailing species. We learn that the United States' share of this global bounty is 800,000 Americans. Now, this doesn't seem that bad - it is only a bit more than a quarter of a percent of the population (did that math myself!). But of course the ones who are chosen to become Kulku Tylenol are none too happy about it. With that first minute of the film so full of exposition and action, the next 89 minutes focus on a few characters dealing with the consequences.
As doctor Stephen Chase (Brad Johnson) struggles to save his daughter Heather (Erin Ross), who has been selected for sacrifice, a Kulku commander has his own problems: the alien race has a limited time in which to make their quota, or it will be too late to save their people. The Kulku are also concerned about the remnants of one of their ships that crashed in the U.S. fifty years ago (yeah, Roswell). Our government has the pieces of the ship, and could exploit the technology. Of course there is a resistance too. Stephen hooks up with the resistance and cuts a deal to get his daughter rescued. Heather, however, has extra-special blood and the Kulku aren't in a hurry to give her up.
"Alien Siege" was made for the cable network Sci-Fi in 2005. Keeping in mind that it was made-for-television, it is almost possible to overlook the low-fi production design and cheesy special effects. It is less easy to overlook the script, which seems to have been written by a group of people who have never had an original thought in their lives. Every single character and plot element in "Alien Siege" seems to have been lifted verbatim from any of a dozen previous science fiction films. The dialogue is miserable, and the story is as bare bones as possible. The performances vary of course, but given the material at hand, even the relatively talented actors in the cast don't have much chance at contributing anything memorable.
It is cool that Sci-Fi is producing original films and is helping to keep contemporary science fiction alive. However, the best science fiction has always been about ideas, and no one involved with this production seems to have had any. The budget here isn't the problem (there is a lot of great sci-fi that has been lensed over the years on little to no cash); the issue is a complete lack of creativity.

Video

Alien Siege is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen format, enhanced for 16:9 televisions. Colors can be fairly muted and there is nothing special about the camerawork, but the print is clean and relatively free of compression artifacts.

Audio

Sound options are in English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround and also in English Dolby Digital 5.1. They're more or less interchangeable, although some of the more dramatic sound effects make use of the surround speakers in the 5.1 mix. In both cases dialogue is clear and intelligible. There are no subtitles.

Extras

Bonus features are bare bones on Alien Siege and include an audio commentary, production stills and a bonus trailer. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

The audio commentary features director Robert Stadd and actors Nathan Anderson, Michael Cory Davis and Lilas Lane. Lane sticks her foot in her mouth before the opening credits are over by not realizing that the name of the film had been changed during post production (from "Alien Blood"), and then defending the old title. Stadd spends most of the commentary explaining the thin plot while the actors reminisce about the Bulgarian shooting locations.

The disc also includes a gallery of production stills and there is a bonus trailer for "Undead or Alive" which runs for 1 minute 44 seconds.

Overall

The Film: D Video: B Audio: B Extras: C- Overall: D+

 


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