Attack of the Unknown (2020) Movie Review

Director: Brandon Slagle

Writer: Brandon Slagle (Screenplay) Michael Mahal, Sonny Mahal (Story)

Starring: Tara Reid, Robert LaSardo, Richard Grieco, Jolene Andersen, Tania Fox, Tasha Reign

Plot: A SWAT team transporting a vicious crime syndicate boss must fight their way out of a county detention center during a catastrophic alien invasion.

Tagline – They’re here for blood

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Attack of the Unknown starts when a SWAT team with Vernon (Grieco), Maddox (Tait) and Hannah (Andersen) in take down a notorious drug dealer Miguel ‘Hades’ Aguirre (LaSardo) but lose the case to the FBI who see it as a bigger problem.

When the FBI turn back to the SWAT team to transfer Hades, they finding themselves dealing with a form of alien invasion, trapped in county detention centre, looking to a battle to escape, needing to decide whether to trust the criminals or their own instinct to survive.

Thoughts on Attack of the Unknown

Characters – Vernon is a member of the SWAT team that has taken down a big drug dealer, he has seen his divorce go through, but bad news hits when he learns he has cancer, his team is tasked with transporting a criminal, the same one he was taking down, he must end up leading the defence of the people from an alien attack. Hannah is one of the team that goes against the stereotypes, willing to fight along with the troops, while celebrating in a world the men enjoy. Miguel Hades Aguirre is the drug lord the SWAT team took down, he is always looking for an escape, believing he will find a way out, while having more information about the legend of the aliens. We do have a lot of characters in the county lockup, which can become difficult to keep up with the pure number involved though.

PerformancesRichard Grieco takes the leading role and does give us a character with the most going on within his life, while Jolene Andersen brings us a strong action star figure in the war against the aliens. The rest of the cast do well, with one of the more random appearances from Tara Reid involved too.

StoryThe story here follows a SWAT team that must transfer a suspect they captured, only to find the city coming under attack from aliens. The story does have a lot of elements we have seen before, with the idea that both law enforcement and criminal will have to team up to defeat a new enemy, this time aliens, it shows how both sides would need to put their differences aside for the better. By diving into an origin story of the aliens, in what is mostly told in a folklore idea, does bring something fresh to the table and is the biggest aspect of the story we could see a lot more from going forward to. One of the weaker sides of the story will be the number of characters, which don’t get enough detail given to them, mostly here for disposable reasoning.

Action/Sci-Fi/HorrorThe action in the film comes from seeing how the two sides are having tactical shoot outs to stay ahead, while the aliens have technology which would make things more difficult.

SettingsThe film does spend more time inside the police lockup, which will show the tactical positions to take a stand, while the exterior shots are focused on the destruction or impending attacks.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to give the aliens look like they are part of the world, while their primary weapons rely more on the CGI side of things.

Scene of the Movie – Ready for the war.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too many characters.

Final Thoughts This is a fun entry into the sci-fi alien invasion movie, it has strong characters and a fresh approach to the handling of the invasion happening.

ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – O – Flash Gordon (1980) Movie Review

We are under O because of star Ornella Muti.

Director: Mike Hodges

Writer: Lorenzo Semple Jr, Michael Allin (Screenplay) Alex Raymond (Characters)

Starring: Sam J Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow, Topol, Ornella Muti, Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed

Plot: A football player and his friends travel to the planet Mongo and find themselves fighting the tyranny of Ming the Merciless to save Earth.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gloriously over the Top

Story: Flash Gordon starts when Flash Gordon (Jones), Dale Arden (Anderson) and Dr Zarkov (Topol) accidently leave Earth finding themselves on the planet Mongo, face to face with their evil ruler The Emperor Ming (von Sydow).

After becoming captured, Flash must search for his friends, break out and defeat the evil Emperor Ming to save planet Earth.

Thoughts on Flash Gordon

Characters – Flash Gordon is a star football player whose latest adventures ends up taking him to space, where he clashes with an evil emperor, one that wants to destroy Earth. He must first learn the culture of the new planet, before stepping up to become the hero both planets require. Dale is the girlfriend of Flash, she hates flying and is the damsel in distress that is often needed rescuing. The Emperor Ming has been ruling Mongo for years, keeping the land in his fear and always looking to expand to other planets, with his latest target being Earth, ready for his destruction. We meet the leaders of the different kingdoms, where they rule under Ming, only they are waiting for a chance to reach a level to escape him and fight for the freedom of the land.

PerformancesSam J Jones is a lot of fun in the leading role, he embraces the film to make his character stand out, Max von Sydow is one of the few actors that could always play a villain and here he makes him a truly enjoyable campy villain. The rest of the cast do a good job through the film, they all understand how their characters are meant to be performed.

StoryThe story here follows an America footballer that ends up on a new planet, where he must help unite the planet in an attempt to fight back against an evil emperor that has been looking to destroy Earth. This is a story that brings to life a massively ambitious world that understands it isn’t going to take anything too seriously and just wants to have fun. The story is all about trying to make sure the rebels could fight back against an evil leader, with the right leader and inspiration. While we do see the brutality of the villain, it does seem to become tamer as the film unfolds, where others do most of the evil side of his work.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is laser shooting, fights, which including football tackles and plenty of over the top situations, with the adventure take Flash to a new world, in space, a perfect creation for the sci-fi side of the film, where everything works well for the future style for the time.

SettingsThe film takes us to a new planet Mongo, where we have the different creation per kingdom, one with a futuristic world throughout.

Special EffectsThe effects have dated, but they would have worked for the release to complete play into the cheesy style of the film.

Scene of the Movie – The final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is too random how Flash just randomly goes to space.

Final Thoughts This is a full blown cheese fest of a movie, it is enjoyable because nothing is taken seriously and could be one everyone gets a kick out of.

Overall: Cheesy Fun.

ABC Film Challenge – 80s – D – DeepStar Six (1989)

Director: Sean S Cunningham

Writer: Lewis Abernathy, Geof Miller (Screenplay)

Starring: Taurean Blacque, Nancy Everhard, Greg Evigan, Miguel Ferrer, Nia Peeples, Matt McCoy, Cindy Pickett

Plot: At the bottom of the ocean, the DeepStar Six has just discovered a new and deadly alien menace.

Tagline – Six miles below the surface of the ocean, something beyond your imagination will scare the hell out of you.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Standard TV Level Sci-Fi

Story: DeepStar Six starts as an underwater contracting team in the ship with the title in its name are digging for missile silos, with the contract running out, they are being forced into blowing a hole in unstable surface at the bottom of the ocean, Captain Laidlaw (Blacque) agrees to the job, with Joyce Collins (Everhard) running the operation.

When the explosion seems to release something unknown, one of the subs goes missing, while another one comes under attack, it turns into a rescue mission for the crew as they need to survive an attack from a deadly enemy from the deep.

Thoughts on DeepStar Six

Characters – Laidlaw is the captain of the crew, he keeps the deadlines running, while wanting to put his team first, he will lead the investigation into what is happening and isn’t going to let them get injured for their actions. Joyce Collins leads the scientific side of the job, she is here to question decisions for safety, even if she doesn’t always getting given the same respect back from the rest of the crew. McBride is the confident member of the team, he believes he can have any woman too which shows him needing to make the difficult life decision during the rescue mission. Snyder is the member of the team that doesn’t want to still be on the team, he believes he has done his time and when things start going wrong he hits the panic button.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are basic at best, each actor does see them get their moment to shine with most of them usually performing before their big death scene, Miguel Ferrer is the exception to this rule, with his performance that is the highlight of the acting.

StoryThe story here follows a group of underwater engineers building missile silos for the military that accidently release an unknown life form that isn’t happy about being disturbed and wants to kill them, which sees them racing to find a way to the surface without injuring themselves through decompression. This story does feel like a low budget version of ‘The Abyss’ which is easy to see with just how the everything unfolds, the characters having the same kind of arc, with this having a horror side, rather than a mystery side with the unknown lifeform. This does fit into the 80s styles of story telling and production which is all simple and enjoyable to watch.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is mostly the group screaming when they get attacked by the creature, it isn’t very intense which does disappoint for the most part, this goes for the horror too, which just never gets past the weak creature style, even if the sci-fi side of the film does want to become much more of a central point of the film.

SettingsWith most of this film being set underwater, it does give the film a contained environment for the film when it comes to the race to survive.

Special EffectsWe do go into practical effects here which should be praised, even if it is mainly just a creature wobbling around all over the screen.

Scene of the Movie – Decompression mistake.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The characters aren’t very interesting.

Final Thoughts This is one of the attempts to copy a much more popular film, by putting characters in the similar environment only with a horror twist to everything.

Overall: Simple Sci-Fi


Tenet (2020) Movie Review

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Christopher Nolan (Screenplay)

Starring: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kenneth Branagh, Clemence Poesy

Plot: Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.

Tagline – Time Runs Out

Runtime: 2 Hours 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Tenet starts when special force agent known only as the Protagonist (Washington) awakes with a message, a world, Tenet, sees him going in search for answers, which sees him teaming up with Neil (Pattinson) and getting involved with an international arms dealer Andrei (Branagh) to learn of a bigger problem the world will be face, one that will see him need to learn about the reality of life.

Thoughts on Tenet

Characters – The Protagonist is a former special agent that finds himself getting a word to work with, one that will let him work off the radar, which sees him using his time to unlock the truth behind a potential end of the world situation, he does have moments of trying to be sarcastic along the way and is left torn between saving the world and something else. Neil is one of the connections that The Protagonist makes along the way, he fills in information along the way to give us something new to the world we are entertaining, he does feel very confident through the film. Andrei Sator is the international arms dealer that has a connection to the events that might happen, the person that the Protagonist needs to get close too. He is deadly man who will not let anyone get close to him. Kat is the wife of Andrei that is the way in for the Protagonist, she is stuck in a marriage she can’t escape from, being complete controlled throughout the film.

PerformancesJohn David Washington in the leading role is strong, he brings moments of charm to his performance, while keeping it feeling serious, while getting the laughs with Robert Pattinson, who fills the sidekick like role, feeling very posh. Kenneth Branagh and Elizabeth Debicki complete the main cast working well through the film too.

StoryThe story here follows a man that gets recruited to an organisation that is trying to stop an end of the world threat, which will see him needing to learn more about the reality of time. This is a very complicated story that brings another look at time travel, in a way that plays into a more logical reason, only it does seem to be a story that wants to mix looking down on the audience and thinking it is better than anyone else who has made a time travel film. The mix of time travel and heist ideas does work well, with everything seemingly being connected. This is also a story that does feel like you need to watch a few times to pick up on every single little detail.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is the film is brilliant and easily the best part of the film, with action scenes that plays into the time travel ideas involved in the film, which shows us the sci-fi elements happening within the film.

SettingsThe film does take us around the world on the adventures, they all feel like they are upper class locations, which continues to show us how the film makes us feel like the rich’s playground.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do continue to show us how amazing certain moments look, with a lot of the inverted world helping make these events happen.

Scene of the Movie – Car heist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does feel like too much is going on with the extra cuts around for it.

Final Thoughts This is an ambitious movie that brings us a new look at time travel, only for it to become too overly complicated as everything unfolds.

Franchise Weekend – Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (2004) Movie Review

Director: Phil Tippett

Writer: Edward Neumeier (Screenplay)

Starring: Billy Brown, Richard Burgi, Kelly Carlson, Cy Carter, Sandrine Holt, Ed Lauter, Brenda Strong, Colleen Porch

Plot: In the sequel to Paul Verhoeven’s loved/reviled sci-fi film, a group of troopers taking refuge in an abandoned outpost after fighting alien bugs, failing to realize that more danger lays in wait.

Tagline – They’re coming back to wipe us out!

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Noticeable Small Sequel

Story: Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation starts straight after the first film, the humans know have the upper hand in the war against the bugs with more soldiers on the ground ready for battle. We follow a small unit that find themselves surrounded in a night assault, who seek refuge in an abandoned outpost, deep in the bug territory.

The unit finds Captain Dax (Burgi) locked away inside, while the unit gets surrounded Lei Sahara (Porch) does what she can to save her unit against her LT Dill (Monoson) who wants to get involved in paperwork and ranks, when the real enemy is a new threat they have never seen before.

Thoughts on Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation

Characters – Captain VJ Dax is the officer found trapped in the outpost, once a hero of the war now a disgraced man, he is the only one that seems to know how to fight back on a more aggressive way than other soldiers are. He will demand the best from the soldiers no matter how it might see him clash with the others. Pvt Lei Sahara is one of the strongest members of the unit, she is a weak psychic that gets visions that don’t always get taken seriously, she makes the rash decision to release Dax. LT Pavlov Dill is the inexperienced soldier put in a position of power that is more interested in dealing with the ranks and orders than saving the soldier’s lives. Pvt Soda is one of the soldiers saved that needs medical attention, though she isn’t everything she looks like.

PerformancesRichard Burgi is the best of the performers here, he does continue the tone of a strong military man, while most of the rest of the cast don’t reach this level. Colleen Porch does handle the serious side of the film well too.

StoryThe story continues the war between humans and bugs, only this time we see the soldiers cornered in battle which will see them finding an enemy coming from within. The story here does scale back big time what we are dealing with, giving us a small unit that must battle from within one location instead of different warzones. We do move the story on from the original as we see just how humans once again understatement an enemy, as well as providing more to the bug intelligence that we are seeing. One of the problems with the story though does come from the fact we are making the story more contained, this doesn’t help on the idea of the large scale war going on, this conflicts the audience into seeing almost like a small chapter of the war over the next battle for victory.

Action/Sci-FiThe action does continue to be large scale shooting between the humans aiming for the bugs that don’t stop, while the sci-fi is more horror based with the idea of the new bug that no human has seen before.

SettingsThe film does use the outpost as the main setting, it would be a safehouse for the soldiers during the attack, though just how safe is a different question.

Special EffectsThe effects while given a much small budget, don’t look bad at all, they continue to make the bugs look terrifying for anybody that comes across them.

Scene of the Movie – Stand off on the roof.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We try to swap genres doing an alien to aliens reverse tone for the film, that just doesn’t work.

Final Thoughts This is a sequel that doesn’t live up to the original, it does try to do something different, though it just fails to make everything hit the heights of the original.

Overall: Simple Sequel.