Jeremy London, “Rowndy” Roddy Piper, Adrienne LaValley, Ashley Bates, and Debra Jans
||The Plot: When a young country wife is found cheating on her husband, the rich farmer husband proceeds to go ballistic. Unfortunately for him, he quickly catches a very bad case of “death.” You see, his trophy wife’s mother plants a hammer in the back of his cranium before he can dish out his own brand of southern justice. Looking at a massive inheritance, everything seems to be going right for this young trophy wife and her evil mother. However, things become complicated when an alien spacecraft crashes into their farm – and the body of the rich husband has come up missing. Seeing a nice alibi in this, and needing his body to claim the inheritance, this mother and daughter combo decide to stage a competition with their neighbors. They open up their land to any-and-all contestants who feel that they are able to both kill this monstrous alien (who they blame the murder on) and also retrieve this dead man’s body. This draws in a number of competitors, and ultimately leads to a number of dead bodies.
Let’s be perfectly honest here: We’re looking at a movie called Alien Opponent
and it features both Jeremy London and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. The question posed at the outset of this movie isn’t, “will it be bad?” That is a forgone conclusion. We know this is going to be bad, but how bad is it going to be? That is the question that remains to be answered. The most that audiences can hope for is that the movie will turn out to be such a ridiculously silly train wreck that it somehow becomes entertaining. In our very self-aware society, however, such train wrecks have become ever more elusive. With a Troma-esque style of tongue-in-cheek, most b-movies are now well aware that they are “bad” before they leave the scripting stage. This, unfortunately, turns out to be the case with Alien Opponent
. Although it is a movie that is very intentionally over-the-top, that begins to feel like an excuse rather than a novelty that adds to the overall movie. While stereotypes are thrown at the audience in rapid succession, viewers may find themselves bored for the most part, save for a few standout scenes.
is not a terrible movie. I would not go that far. If anything, I believe that it has some shining characteristics gives it a bit of promise. I will get to those characteristics shortly, but for now I have to point out the grievances I had with the movie. For starters, strong southern accents and stereotypes are taken to a new level of improbability with Alien Opponent
. I live in Louisiana, have lived in some very small towns, and I have traveled the South for the majority of my life. Never have I found a Southern location where overalls are still at the height of popular fashion. Honestly, I have known maybe one elderly man who wore overalls on a regular basis, and he was roughly seventy years old. This elderly gentleman was stuck in the past, and so is Alien Opponent
. Of course, the excuse for such dreadful stereotypes is that this is a horror-comedy with slight doses of parody mixed in. Unfortunately, the topical relevance of extreme rednecks hardly seems apt in this day and age. Even the guys on Swamp People
defy many of the stereotypes depicted within Alien Opponent
, but I must digress. The rest of the characters are all as equally cliche, which makes the movie nearly impossible to relate to. This might not sound like much of a complaint from a movie that I describe as a “body count” movie, but it completely prevents the audience from actually feeling absorbed into this cinematic world. Ultimately, the viewer is introduced to a number of very annoying people, and we inevitably watch the majority of them die in spectacularly bloody fashion.
A “body count” movie this assuredly is. Although it may lack in gory prosthetic effects, there are certainly a number of truly violent scenes throughout Alien Opponent
. This is easily one of the standout attributes within the movie. Although the film is generally quite absurd, the use of gore and violence certainly causes this title to stand out. A mix of prosthetic and digital effects, the violence does generally look quite good for this sort of movie. Although the CGI is surely done in a very cheap fashion, it does manage to look better than most of the SyFy movies that I have caught in the past. There are some decent texture shots throughout the movie, and some of the smoke FX have a relatively realistic look to them. This is generally surprising, since these “simple” FX shots are usually some of the hardest to get right. This is hardly the sort of movie to compliment in terms of technical achievements, but when compared to some of the worst inclusions into the straight to video world of science fiction – this actually looks very good!
As the movie chugs along, one of its best attributes is the general unpredictability of the project. Although we are introduced to a large cast during the earliest moments of the film, there is no singular character who sticks out as being our main protagonist. The plot does eventually unfurl in a way that inevitably introduces us to our “final girl,” but she is not the most obvious choice from the start. There are numerous characters who we are introduced to along the way who all seem prototypical for this sort of role, but one by one we watch as they die. Ultimately, there’s no telling who will actually survive the film, and that is what gives the movie all of its promise. Although this promise is ultimately destroyed as the movie rolls along, but I still find it easy to compliment these one or two features. One of the movies biggest problems is that it probably achieves its unpredictability because it refuses to listen to the smallest rules of filmmaking. This includes small things such as logic or continuity. Instead, stereotypical characters and ideas are thrown at the audience in bulk until they are intended to “get” the joke.
What draws audiences in to a movie like this? Obviously, it is because of the cast. Sure, this is not a star-studded affair, but both Jeremy London and Roddy Piper have their own built-in audiences. Unfortunately, this isn’t a shining example of either actor’s talents. Jeremy London is not looking great in this movie, to be honest. Although he isn’t entirely bloated, he is not wearing his weight well, and his attempts to play the “cool guy” are less than spectacular. Playing a character named Brooklyn, this is not London’s brightest hour. Even if it is admirable of him to play a “bad guy” while being billed as one of the main stars. Roddy Piper, our other big name and everyone’s favorite badass from They Live
, shows up as a priest that seems to directly reflect a Peter Jackson influence. A mix of pious sentiment, and overly worldly characteristics, the humor comes from his outlandish foul language mixed with his religious demeanor. If you have seen Braindead
), then this might sound more than a little familiar to you. Sure, Piper is fairly humorous, but he does not make this a solid piece of work.
I won’t come out and say that Alien Opponent
is terrible, because it isn’t. It has a lot of fun ideas going for it, especially in the post-Grindhouse
world that we live in. Ultimately you have a cast of zany characters fighting a killer alien, there has to be a few decent scenes in a movie that follows such a synopsis, right? Indeed, there are. However, there’s a whole lot of other bad things that follow along with these few solid scenes. I give the movie a two out of five.
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