I’ve heard Andrew Bellware’s space movie ‘Alien Uprising’ had been called a rip off ‘Alien’. I think that’s a bit harsh. I mean it’s not like ‘Alien’ was the first movie to have space marines doing battle on a distant planet with a slime dripping alien running around in the ceiling ducts was it? Seriously, was it? Because I don’t know. I much prefer to use the term ‘homage’. For instance, back in my college years when dudes were buying term papers they weren’t ‘stealing’ them they were paying ‘homage’ to whoever that cat was that originally wrote that paper some fifteen years prior. I am completely down with the homage my friends. As far ‘Alien’ homages go you will probably find better than what is presented here in ‘Alien Uprising’ but that doesn’t mean that the movie is without its charms.
It is sometime in the future as we greet a multicultural team of tough space marines awoken from their deep sleep as they approach wherever the hell they are going, with their mission on their minds. Off in the… let’s say Delta Quadrant, because every space movie has a Delta Quadrant… there is a prison planet run by a Super Mega Monolithic Corp (SMMC) who has lost contact with the staff of this planet with the assumption being the inmates have taken over and thus the prison needs to be secure and the prisoners, should they resist, need to be eliminated.
Along for the ride with our Marines is some SMMC bureaucrat who is ‘allegedly’ on board to shut down the reactor that powers this planet because if this reactor goes, Earth is in it’s in blast path and our beloved home will be destroyed. Allegedly. The good thing is that there are no weapons on this planet so subduing the escaped prisoners should be no problemo… that is until our marines encounter the prisoners and find out they have sweeter guns than they do. Not cool.
While it is true that the prisoners opened fire on our marines, it was actually just a big misunderstanding because they THOUGHT the marines were that THING. That THING would be the acid spitting, ceiling crawling, invincible, regenerating monster that’s been hunting our prisoners off and on for the last couple of years. A monster that used to be one of them before the ‘experiments’ began. What exactly is going on here? Well there is a wise old convict on board who has a good idea but he suggest that our marines, Led by Lt. Dunn (Rebecca Kush), ask the bureaucrat for these answers who of course feigns ignorance.
All of that nonsense is semantics anyway because this monster is angry and hungry… and, well… horny… but we won’t get into all of that right now. All we need to know is that our few surviving marines and prisoners have to fight this monster and get off this planet before it blows… even though one of them is secretly working AGAINST them to keep this from happening. It’s the bureaucrat. I’m sorry… but it’s totally the bureaucrat.
Let’s examine the problems that are present while one watches ‘Alien Uprising’ with problem number one being that the special effects are quite simply some of the worst special effects that you will ever see ever. We realize that this ‘Alien’ homage is a low budget affair and that a couple of bottles of Sigourney Weaver’s nail polish probably cost more than the price tag on this entire production but still… This is the third movie I’ve seen from director Andrew Bellware and the effects on ‘Pandora Machine’ and ‘Millennium Crisis’ were waaaaay better than this. Considering that this is a science fiction space ship movie featuring a murderous wall crawling alien, special effects are kind of important in making us believe what our poor doomed marines are about to be going through, and unfortunately that belief really isn’t there. Thus we have to work double duty to suspend belief and some of us just might not have the wherewithal to do this.
However if you do possess this wherewithal, ‘Alien Uprising’ is a better movie than both ‘Pandora Machine’ and ‘Millennium Crisis’ mainly because I was able to comprehend what was going on in this comparatively simple movie. It probably didn’t hurt that I’ve seen this ‘homage’ a few times before but those other two movies didn’t make a lick of sense to me where this one was crystal clear from start to finish. The acting was also above average for this movie considering its tight budget restrictions and the narrative, derivative though it may have been, was reasonably well paced and passably interesting.
I do have to say that our Space Marines didn’t seem to be too terribly ‘marine-like’ other than the fact they did yell HOO-RAH a couple of times, with the exception of that one dude who caught a laser blast to skull early on. The female marines, while damned good-looking… particularly actress Kumiko Konishi… were probably a little too feminine to be taken seriously as tough jarheads. But then it is just a movie and not everybody can pull off that tough but sexy as hell thing that Michelle Rodriguez has mastered.
From where I’m sitting ‘Alien Uprising’ is better than it has any right to be, but it is somewhat betrayed, over and over again, by its meager budget. If you can get past that you might like this movie just a little bit just like I did, but if you can’t… I am not going to fault you for it.