Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

We’re making a movie and we need some ingredients.  Let’s take a generous helping of the Alien from ‘Alien’, complete with the ability to spit acid, kind of, but make him itty bitty and borderline cute.  Toss in a quarter cup of the Jon Voight / E-Rob classic ‘Runaway Train’ then add in a cup and a half of Lou Diamond Phillips, who apparently hit the gym pretty hard before accepting this plum role or he just loaded up on the Andro.  Next, mix in a quart of the absolute worst special effects that the year 2005 had to offer, and then garnish this dish with just smidgen of Todd Bridges.  Put it all in a blender, along with a couple of dookey turds, mix well and serve hot.  Viola!  We’ve just created the Sci-Fi original ‘Alien Express’.

Senator Frank Rawlings, played by actor Barry Corbin wearing the absolute worst wig you will ever see, is

running for president.  He’s riding on the bullet train of mega millionaire Paul Fitzpatrick (Steven Brand) when a meteor blows up a Chevy Cavalier parked at the tracks.  I mean it went into flames and stuff, and burnt the people inside, but the paint on the outside of the car wasn’t even charred.  That’s called G.M. Know How!  The train stops, one of the engineers exits the train to check out the scene and gets eaten by the monster. 

Now on the scene is scarred Iraq war vet, current state trooper Vic Holden (LDP), who wants to investigate the gutted engineer.  Plus, by pure chance, his ex-wife Rosie (Amy Locane) is on the bullet train.  Well the Senator doesn’t care

about the gutted engineer and he orders the train in motion, but Vic knows something isn’t right.  Because it takes a trained detective to observe a meteorite, a burnt up Cavalier, green acid goo, and a gutted train engineer to deduce foul play.

Vic has to make it back to the train so he has his friend the Helicopter Pilot chase the toy train down in his awful looking CGI helicopter.  It’s a daring mission, the pilot matching speed with train while Vic drops down with a mountain dead ahead, but Vic makes it.  Watch the Helicopter Pilot celebrate Vic’s success, completely forgetting about the mountain in front of him.  Dumbest Helicopter Pilot Ever.

I forgot to mention the terrorist.  There’s an ECO terrorist on board with a bomb strapped to him all upset at the senator for drilling in Alaska.  And the trains Dead Man Switch has failed, which coincides with the lone remaining engineer being a Dead Man.

So Vic is on the train, his ex-wife is wondering why he’s there, the millionaire is snarky, the monster is eating people and laying monster baby eggs, and Todd Bridges is a Secret Service agent tasked with protecting the senator.  He sucks at this.  It doesn’t matter all that much anyway because the little bitty carnivorous aliens are everywhere, they move like lightning in a crappy CGI blur, otherwise they don’t move at all, but they do blow up in a pretty blue light when they get shot since they’re made of methane and stuff.  Vic has to kill these things, with the train being a Runaway Train, before the aliens get off the train or it’s all she wrote for the planet earth.  But to do this he has to resolve his Iraq issues.  Normally I’d be rooting for Vic to save us, but I’m thinking the planet earth that Alien Express exists in is a planet I don’t want to live in anymore. 

In case you’re curious, there’s almost nothing good about ‘Alien Express’ beyond Todd Bridges yelling ridiculous catch phrase one-liners before accepting his eventual fate as a member of the African American race in a horror movie.  He actually begged a character to shoot him in case the monsters were eating him, though, at the time, the monsters weren’t actually eating him.  We do take some solace in the knowledge that ‘Alien Express’ appears to be designed as a schlocky B-Movie send up of way better movies, a genre that we are admittedly addicted to here at the FCU, but addiction is rarely a good thing, and it isn’t a good thing for us here.  We still need halfway decent special effects, we still like to hear intermittent decent dialog, we still like to see a sliver of logic in our patently illogical film, and if the actors want to throw in a little effort, we won’t be mad at them.  I know sometimes you’re doing that thing you do, and that thing sucks ass and you know it sucks ass so mustering up the required effort can be a challenge, but we still appreciate a little effort.

Still, being as how we are usually focus on the positive here at the FCU, we will emphasize the positives such as the woman playing Miss Bountiful Utah was truly bountiful, no doubt.  We liked how LDP’s character didn’t play by the rules, not because we saw him breaking rules necessarily, because other characters told us he didn’t play by the rules.   We enjoy the fact that monsters allergic to fire land on earth in a fiery blaze and survive this.  Rare is the movie, with lives on the line, do you hear an algebra equation to actually figure out the chances of your train ramming the back of a train a hundred miles ahead of you.  And you thought you’d never use that stuff. 

Sure ‘Alien Express’ is a terrible love story, a questionable Sci-Fi movie, and a suspect action movie but it is a 100% purebred Sci-Fi original.  Does that mean anything?  No it does not.  But we had to end this article with something.

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