One thing I can count on my friends for is to help enable my movie addiction by buying me more movies. One of the DVD’s I got was a triple feature of movies starring Bruce Campbell. Now I have been a fan of Bruce Campbell ever since I first saw The Evil Dead many years ago. I have always thought he was an entertaining actor and enjoyed just about every movie or TV show he is. Today’s movie is one of two movies that were pitched to Sci-Fi back when they were cranking out original movies on a weekly basis. Let’s see how entertaining it is as I watch Alien Apocalypse.
The plot: Dr. Ivan Hood and his associates Kelly, Captain Chuck Burkes, and Aida crash land back on Earth near Portland, Oregon after spending 40 years in cryo-sleep in space. After leaving their shuttle, they comment on the lack of radio communication as they were landing when they discover Portland in ruins and the forest surrounding it completely wiped from existence. They quickly hide when they see a group of human slaves being marched through the wasteland by some bounty hunters but are soon captured by some more bounty hunters. When Chuck tries to speak with the men, the men strike him and quickly gag Chuck and the others and start them marching with the other slaves, killing Aida when she falls behind due to her broken leg. They eventually reach a saw mill, where Ivan, Kelly, and Chuck notice some strange structures nearby while other slaves are cutting down trees and turning them into boards. The three are forced to work on moving some boards before the men that captured them take them to speak with the “Mites”, a race of humanoid locusts. Chuck tries to question the Mites about where they came from but the Mites’ leader says he isn’t showing them respect and has his subordinates kill him by biting off his head. Kelly explains that they had been in space for the past 40 years and the leader tells them that if they work hard then they will live, then dismisses them as he is brought a bowl of human fingers to eat. Outside, Ivan speaks with the bounty hunters and ask why they are helping the Mites and the bounty hunters say that it is better than being a slave before sending them down to the slaves’ underground sleeping pens. In the pens, Ivan and Kelly try to get some answers and speak with a man named Jeff, who explains what happened while they were gone. Jeff explains that the Mites dropped EMP bombs to shut down technology before they invaded 20 years ago and they were here for the planet’s wood, which they send back to their home planet. Alex, a young slave, tells them that the president is still alive and gathering an army to attack the Mites and free them all but Jeff says that is just a myth. Kelly agrees that 20 years is a long time to wait for a rescue and Ivan says they should work on trying to escape. Ivan and Kelly work on digging an escape tunnel at night while they are forced to continue working to log the trees during the day. After several days/weeks, Kelly is grabbed by some of the guards and locked onto a post to be punished when Ivan attacks the guards and frees her. After they knock out the guards, Ivan shouts out “Freedom” to the other slaves, hoping to rally them, but Alex is the only one willing to go with them. As they try to sneak out of camp, they encounter a Mite and Ivan kills it, shocking Alex, and grabs it’s weapon while Kelly grabs a bounty hunter’s rifle as they quickly make their way out of the camp, with the other bounty hunters giving chase. Kelly shoots some of their pursuers but is soon captured when she is knocked unconscious by an explosion. Meanwhile, Ivan and Alex manage to make it up to a cliff and Ivan tries to use the alien weapon on their pursuers but when it fires, the shock sends both Ivan and Alex falling into the water below them and the bounty hunters believe they have been killed. Ivan and Alex manage to swim to shore, where they encounter a woman named Bizzi, who shelters them before leading them to her village. In Bizzi’s village, Freedom Valley, Ivan speaks with Issac, the village leader, and they learns that President Demsky is supposed to be gathering his army in the nearby Cascade Mountains so Ivan wants to go there to either prove he is still alive or that he is dead, and if he is alive, return with his army to free Kelly and the other slaves. Meanwhile, Kelly is tortured and taken back to the slave pen but when she regains consciousness, Jeff tells her that the fact that Ivan had killed one of the Mites has gotten all of the other slaves talking, as well as the bounty hunters. Ivan, Alex, and Bizzi begin their journey and after witnessing some bounty hunters killing some slaves trying to escape, Ivan sees a wounded slave and manages to heal him after the bounty hunters leave. The slave, Tyler, joins them and they continue to the mountains, recruiting more members to their group including Fisherman Bob and a bounty hunter. When they reach the mountains, they are met by Mountain Man Bill, who says he knows where Demsky is and leads them to him. When they reach the camp where Demsky and the other surviving members of Washington are staying, they meet Demsky, who asks if Ivan was from the probe mission as the probe had warned them of the Mites approaching Earth. Ivan tells Demsky that they are there to join his fighting force to retake the Earth but Demsky admits that he is no longer a leader and fears the aliens are too powerful. Ivan tries to persuade him by saying he killed one, which surprises the other members of his group, but Demsky refuses so Ivan and the others leave. They head back to Freedom Village, breaking the news that there is no fighting force, and Ivan says that he plans on leading the rebellion himself but Issac and the other disheartened villagers refuse to follow him. That night, Alex tries to stop the bounty hunter from raping Bizzi and when Ivan questions what happens and speaks with the bounty hunter, the bounty hunter says he is going to go back to the saw mill and tell the Mites where they are so Ivan is forced to kill him. The next day, Ivan and the others lead an attack on the saw mill, killing the bounty hunter guards and forcing the surviving ones to take cover in the guard hut. When the Mites begin firing back at them, Ivan orders his men to fall back but as the Mites give chase, Ivan reveals that the retreat was a diversion as he uses hidden weapons to kill the aliens. As Ivan reunites with Kelly, who has lost a finger due to her escape attempt, the other slaves join in the revolt and capture the bounty hunters. As they decide what to do with them, the slaves all turn to Ivan for guidance and he tells the bounty hunters that they are free to join them if they can prove their intentions, then orders them locked into the guard hut. Suddenly, a tank shows up with some more Mites and though Ivan and the others kill some of the mites, the tanks begins firing rockets at the group and they are soon captured. When the Mites’ leader arrives and questions the captives as to who led the rebellion, everyone says they are the leader but the leader says he suspects Ivan to be the real leader and orders him to be executed. Suddenly, Demsky arrives with the people from his camp and Freedom Valley and leads them into a fight with the Mites, with Ivan and the others joining in. After they finish killing all of the Mites, Demsky speaks with Ivan and thanks him for showing him the will to fight and Ivan says they need to get ready to head to the next saw mill and liberate it and continue on to the next one until all of the Mites are killed. Alex is shown to be chronicling Ivan’s adventures and as Ivan continues to liberate saw mills in the Pacific Northwest and they make their way to California, he has become know as the Great Exterminator.
I am on the fence as to how much of a parody of classic sci-fi this movie is but in either case, it is pretty entertaining. The acting was pretty good, with Bruce Campbell (Ivan) and Renee O’Connor (Kelly), reunited from their days of Xena, doing a great job with their roles. I also liked the chemistry between them but I am curious as to what would have happened if Lucy Lawless had taken the role instead of Renee, as she was initially offered it. The story honestly felt a little weak as it seemed patchworked from several classic sci-fi movies, primarily Planet Of The Apes, but there was also a nice little Spartacus moment towards the end of the movie. The special effects were laughably bad, and there were a couple of times where they reused footage in some of the battle scenes but that all added to some funny moments. It won’t end up in the annals of great sci-fi movies but it is worth a watch if you want some mindless, stupid entertainment.
Rating: 3 out of 5