Allumination Filmworks // 2007 // 95 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 4th, 2008
Driven by vengeance. Fueled by honor. Hunted by aliens.
B-list martial arts maestro Mark Dacascos (Brotherhood of the Wolf) headlines this generically titled, though surprisingly entertaining action sci-fi bonanza.
A race of super-advanced aliens is dying and to save the species they will have to emigrate to another planet suitable to support their existence. For ill-tempered alien leader Saylon (Billy Zane, Titanic), that planet is Earth. He wishes to dispatch his evil cronies to wipe out the human race and assume complete control over the species. Standing in his way is Rykker (Dacascos), the alien agent, who is dispatched to prevent the invasion.
As lethal as his hand-eye coordination is, Rykker is severely outnumbered by his enemies. So if you're an extraterrestrial hero desperate to prevent humanity's genocide, whom do you turn to? If you said "a young waitress from a backwoods town" then congratulations, champ, you've got the makings to be...an Alien Agent!
Not going to lie to you. I had a good time with Alien Agent. It's got an incredibly lame title and if you were to see it resting on your friendly neighborhood mass home video retailer you'd almost certainly write it off as yet another nondescript, low-budget, Sci-fi Original Movie that the viewing of which would have as much appeal as clearing brush.
I thought all those things when it first arrived at my doorstep, but I'll be snookered if the Lord doesn't work in mysterious ways. It's a B-movie for sure, but Alien Agent is a hefty amount of fun, featuring lots of cool explosions, great combat sequences, a satisfactorily corny alien takeover plot and anonymous showered female butt nudity.
The film opens with gusto, as we meet our action hero Rykker hot on the trail of the aliens, who have just hijacked a convoy and boosted materials needed for constructing a portal to their world. It's not a bad action scene. Amelia Cooke plays Isis, the second-in-command of the bad guys and Rykker's arch-nemesis -- and former hot alien lover -- and the sequence with her overtaking the trucks, flipping off a bridge, landing on the roof, dispatching the drivers, commandeering the vehicle, engaging in a high speed chase with Rykker, exchanging gunfire -- it all works. Really well, actually. The stunts are impressive and the action is well-staged and, thankfully, the pace stays fast throughout.
For the hand-to-hand mayhem, Dacascos takes center stage and anyone familiar with the guy's moves knows he can bring it onscreen. A tad longer in the tooth these days, sure, but he's still a skilled martial artist and director Jesse Johnson wisely keeps his fight scenes controlled, resisting the urge to muddy up the proceedings with MTV-style hyper-editing.
The final aspect of the film's action is the rampant pyrotechnics. Another win, as the effects crew don't hesitate to blow their targets to kingdom come, all of which -- as far as I can tell -- are detonated practically. No half-assed CGI here, just old-fashioned accelerants and matches.
Not to say there isn't any half-assed CGI; it wouldn't be a direct-to-DVD sci-fi release if there weren't. These forgettable visual effects make their appearance when the aliens die. After withstanding a point blank gunshot to the head the aliens' "life force" flies out of the wound and into the ether. The life force is essentially a bunch of blinky bits of low-grade computer animation.
The story is goofy, but enjoyable. Same with the acting. Dacascos is mainly there to kick ass; Cooke is tasked with looking sinister and sexy; the helpful Earth girl (Emma Lehana) is there to be a catcher's mitt for exposition; Billy Zane...sneers a bit and is a big enough name to plaster on the disc cover.
The DVD is designed to play the movie on your DVD player and little else. The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen is clean throughout (those nifty explosions look great) and the 5.1 Dolby Digital is pleasantly active. No extras except for the trailer.
We're not talking big-budget thrills and chills, but Alien Agent does a fine job scratching that B-movie sci-fi action itch.
Not guilty. Here's your super-secret Alien Agent badge back. Happy hunting.
Review content copyright © 2008 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Allumination Filmworks
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated R