Alien Nation (Blu-ray)
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|Runtime||1 hour and 31 minutes|
A gritty sci-fi, crime procedural in the vein of The Hidden and District 9, Alien Nation is a tense tale of urban life in Los Angeles circa 1991. Here extraterrestrial humanoid beings co-exist with humans in their day-to-day life, due to their spaceship crash landing some three years earlier. Stranded on Earth, the alien 'Newcomers' are subject to the same rules and laws as their fellow humans. But life is seldom harmonious, as the species division is often one of brooding resentment and bitterness, where segregated slums populate the city. The partnership between police detective Matthew Sykes (Oscar nominee James Caan, The Godfather) and his humanoid colleague Sam Francisco (Mandy Patinkin, Homeland) is pushed to the limit as the pair investigate a slum drug ring led by the nefarious William Harcourt (Terence Stamp, Superman). Challenged to overcome their prejudices to get the job done, the two cops must break down all the barriers in order to bust the case wide open.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Language : English
- Product dimensions : 13.49 x 16.89 x 1.7 cm; 73.99 Grams
- Item Model Number : 5075873
- Media Format : Import
- Run time : 1 hour and 31 minutes
- Release date : 6 April 2016
- Actors : ALIEN NATION
- Dubbed: : English
- Language : English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
- Studio : Umbrella Entertainment
- ASIN : B01CX1E8M4
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: 16,035 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- 12,238 in Movies (Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
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I’ll start with a confession: I love this film, I loved it when I first watched it shortly after it came out in 1988, I have watched it more than once over the years, and watching it again today, found it every bit as good as I remembered! OK, it is not a great work of art, it is not a filmic masterpiece, it is just very good and very enjoyable ~ and it has not dated one iota!
The film is a bit chicken and egg. Is it a police buddy movie that is also Sci-Fi, or Sci-Fi that is also a police buddy movie? In fact, the film would work well as just a buddy movie ~ there are plenty like it around. And the premise of an alien race finding asylum here on earth would also work alone ~ the South African ‘District 9’(2009) was much praised for using the idea to explore social and racial issues. But this film got there first.
The aliens are an enslaved humanoid race, genetically engineered to perform heavy, dangerous work in mines. Physically strong, fast learners, they have both similarities to humans but also key differences. A substantial group has escaped and sought asylum on earth, where after 3 years, they are free to enter society and integrate with the population of earth, something which is inevitably not exactly smooth and easy for either side. The film follows the teaming of an experienced human detective in LAPD (Sykes), with the first ‘newcomer’ to become a detective on the force (‘George’).
The parallels with human history are clear. In a very telling comment, ‘George’ describes the newcomers’ wonder that humans have invited them to live in equality and freedom, with no caveats or penalties, but seem incapable of actually “living up to [your own] ideals”. The history of the USA since the Civil War could be described thus!
This genuinely serious aspect is well overlaid with a classic tough police investigation, told with lashings of excitement, car chases, shoot outs, fights, sleazy clubs, scenes in dark buildings, the entire delicious play-book of good American cop dramas. The script is witty, clever and full of nice ‘them and us’ allusions. That the human, Detective Sergeant Sykes, is played by James Caan, the master of the acerbic and wry one-liner, undoubtedly helps. He is partnered with the great Mandy Patinkin, a hugely versatile actor and singer possibly best known as Saul Berenson in eight seasons of ‘Homeland’(2011-2020). As ‘George’, reserved, polite and couth, he is excellent.
Met by mixed reviews in 1988, I suspect professional critics were being a little precious! This is an exciting, well-scripted film that comments as it entertains. 4 (and a half!) solid Stars.