• Alien Outpost

    Released By: Shout Factory
    Released On: July 7, 2015
    Director: Jabbar Raisani
    Cast:Douglas Tait, Adrian Paul, Brandon Auret
    Year: 2014

    The Films:

    Ever wonder what STARSHIP TROOPERS would look like....if it sucked? If it lacked all of the wonderful irony of being a heavy-handed critique wrapped up in a macho, GO MILITARY! package? With less impressive effects and even worse acting than Denise Richards was able to bring to the screen? Wonder no more, fair viewer! ALIEN OUTPOST, the new film from Director Jabbar Raisani, a man who has an impressive list of Visual Effects credits under his belt, is here! And we know what happens when visual effects guys get their own films, right? Stuff like SKYLINE happens.

    In the year 2021, Planet Earth is invaded by an alien race henceforth known as "Heavies", and humankind is brought to the edge of extinction courtesy of their superior technology, firepower, and size. Cities fall, bodies burn, and chaos reigns, until the earthlings band together to invent artillery that sends the mothership packing. Celebrations occur worldwide, countries previously at war throw down their swords, and there is much hugging and rejoicing. The United Nations is abolished and replaced with the United Space Defense Force, who set up a number of outposts around the planet to thwart off future alien attacks. While no further invasions have taken place since the victory, thousands of alien stragglers are still on the planet in hiding, specifically in the Middle East, and continue to threaten the safety of homo sapiens everywhere.

    Unfortunately, with the excitement and spectacle of an alien spaceship and total carnage long behind them, the USDF deems the outposts somewhat unnecessary, leaving them underfunded and undermanned. A USDF platoon is dispatched to Outpost 37, the most heavily attacked outpost in the world. Why is it so popular, you may ask? Because not only are the men of Outpost 37 defending their territory against giant aliens who have found it easier to hide in the Middle East than anywhere else, but they also have to deal with local freedom fighters who are intent on driving the USDF forces out of their country. Not to mention, if Outpost 37 were set anywhere else, the filmmakers wouldn't be able to draw parallels to the current war over oil or against terrorism, or whatever is going on over there.

    The platoon gets settled and familiarizes themselves with the existing troops, puts up with the nonsense that new guys have to put up with, and then gets down to the business of defending the territory. This means fighting off Heavies, who have big laser cannons, and the RPGs of the local rebels, and playing cards and talking about nothing in the meantime. But when one of their men gets abducted by an alien and returns a few days later with a murderous demeanour and much-lower-than-average body temperature, the men of Outpost 37 realize that in order to survive, they're going to have to leave the security of the fort to get rid of their foes once and for all.

    "Annoying" is probably the best word to describe ALIEN OUTPOST. Utilizing a documentary style, the film is constantly broken up by on-camera interviews...so many, in fact, that by the 10th intrusion, you will have lost pretty much all track of who is who. If it had been used at the beginning only, to build characters a bit more, who knows...it could've been more effective. But that, combined with the multiple title cards that come up, explaining the backstory, frontstory, sidestory, take you out of whatever momentum the rest of the film has managed to build. Either way, you can count on not seeing more than 5 minutes of film without one of these intrusions.

    What's happening onscreen between the distractions is not much better, unfortunately. When it's not blasting you with a mix of CGI that ranges from bad to worse, or a constant high frequency sound effect that was somehow necessary, the characters of ALIEN OUTPOST interact with each other in forced, wooden scenes that appear to have no real thought put into them. During the commentary, it's explained that a lot of the character scenes shot were suggested by the actors and then carried out, and that would certainly explain the lack of preparation coming across. Considering there's really not much action in this film, prepare yourself for a lot of boring scenes that do nothing to further the plot or compel the viewer to have any compassion for the characters. It's hard to tell what Raisani and company were going for here; were they trying to make an action film? A character study of the military mind? A comment on the war in the Middle East? Whatever it is, it's not good. As idiotic as SKYLINE is, at least there's pretty blue lights to look at.


    ALIEN OUTPOST comes to blu-ray in a 1.85:1 transfer that looks crisp and clear. As mentioned, it does employ a documentary film style, so there is a lot of camera shake and intentional video glitches, but black levels are solid, contrast is decent, and detail is...detailed. A DTS-HD MA 7.1 and DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio track are included. While both are serviceable, the 7.1 is definitely the way to go. This is definitely not a track that messes around, expect heavy and frequent use of the surrounds and subs during the battle scenes, and acknowledge that this is one thing that the film does well. The only thing that suffers here is the dialogue as it's a good deal lower than the effects (yes, my surround sound system is calibrated, yes, I know what I'm doing) and you'll want to keep the remote handy for the sudden drops and jumps in volume.

    Interviews with the Cast and Crew (16:23) are just that, interspersed with on-location footage and clips from the film, as the cast and crew describe the development of the film and the characters.

    Deleted Scenes (3:22) contains a few scenes that are about as inspiring as the interactions found in the final film.

    A commentary with Director/Co-Writer Jabbar Raisani and Director of Photography/Co-Writer Blake Clifton is also included, and it's chock full of information on the film, the title cards, set design, the casting, and the prep work required for the special effects in the film.

    Trailers for the film are also included.

    The Final Word:

    There's really nothing about ALIEN OUTPOST worth recommending. It lacks any real substance, appears to think that it's a smarter film than it is, and is a chore to sit through even at 90 minutes.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!