Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

It seems while watching the movie ĎAlien Raidersí, the challenge for Director Ben Rock, his cast and his crew, aside from surviving a title that reeks of a Sci-Fi Channel Original reject, is how do they make an exciting movie that takes place almost entirely within the confined spaces of a supermarket, and do this with almost no cash, but some recognizable if not world famous actors. The challenge, I would say for the most part, has been met.

I hope youíre not claustrophobic because Open Spaces and ĎAlien Raidersí are a set of words that simply do not go together. Our film opens in the back of a van with our heroes or villains or whatever they are going be nervously chatting it up, and by the tone in their voices they are on their way to attempt to take care of a rather serious piece of business.

Jump ahead to some supermarket in some Podunk desert town thatís just about to shut on down while the last few straggling customers get their little nick knacks and the minimum wage employees bitch and whine about their miserable lives. The good thing for them, more or less, is that these miserable lives of theirs are about to get real interesting real fast.

Enter into the supermarket a gun toting commando looking dude named Ritter (Carlos Bernard) who is followed closely by his crew which consists of, among others, Logan (Thomas Kiesche) the technical dude Sterling (Courtney Ford) the medical chick, and Kane (Rockmond Dunbar) the extremely hostile Black Dude who we are going to assume is the Clean Up Man. Also in tow is Spooky (Phillip Newby), a junkie who also has the rather important gift of being able to spot out what our crew of armed commandos are searching for. Itís about time junkies got some love in a movie for a change.

Our armed commandos are now in the process of killing people, but this mayhem isnít as random as one would think since they arenít looking for cash or Twinkies. No sir they looking for Aliens, and one alien in particular. A little misstep occurs for our commandos mission as they run into an armed cop during this little raid who manages to lessen their numbers a bit and also forces them to use a more time consuming rudimentary method in finding these aliens which results in a bit of a hostage situation. As it so happens, Seth (Matthew St. John), who happens to be the step-father of the teenaged store cashier Whitney (Samantha Streets) used to be a big city hostage negotiator and is attempting to work something out with our commandos. Ritter attempts to tell the dude that thereís nothing to work out because these guys are on a mission from God more or less and it would be in Sethís best interest if he just stay out of their Fín bitness and let them do what they have to do.

Some really bad stuff then happens, aliens attack, shots are fired, some more bad stuff happens and eventually they find what they are looking for. And as prepared as they thought they were, they werenít. Observe as more bad stuff happens.

ĎAlien Raidersí wasnít a bad movie at all with one of the things that helped the movie was that it did have some good actors carrying the action, and in Rockmond Dunbar, they just might have a great actor. Make no mistake, Rockmond Dunbar is a really, really good actor and we hope he never becomes a big star because then he wonít show up in stuff like this, and that would make us sad. But seriously, along with Dunbar, Matthew St. John and Carlos Bernard are both accomplished actors and Courtney Ford is hot so the talent involved with the story does play a major role in moving plot along. Now when I saw the movie ĎBrotherhood of Bloodí which was also filmed in tight spaces, that movie was summarily awful and the claustrophobia of the sets worked against that production, but such is not the case with ĎAlien Raidersí as director Ben Rock apparently has a little more directorial skill and is able to make the best use of his tight spaces to create a very tense and dangerous atmosphere. ĎAlien Raidersí also has more of an action movie pace and sensibility about it than that of a horror flick considering how relatively fast the action moves and how the narrative is constructed.

This isnít to say that ĎAlien Raidersí is the be all that ends all as it is a bit derivative, liberally lifting elements of the John Carpenter classic ĎThe Thingí considering there are aliens amongst us who look just like us who could very well freak out at any given moment. There was a situation or two that didnít make much sense to me, say like when two of our heroes found one of the aliens in one of those self locking freezers, being that cold is like the aliens number one weakness, and yet they went in looking for it. Iím thinking they couldíve just backed out, closed the door and let that thing be cold. Then there was the mystery as to who or what was the KING ALIEN which I, and Iím sure you will figure out who that is once they tell you that they are looking for the KING ALIEN.

Still, considering my main requirements when watching a movie is to be entertained, ĎAlien Raidersí with its gawdawful title did just that and it did it quite well, and for that we are thankful.

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