When I first saw this
little beauty sitting on the shelves at the video store, I really
had to wonder. I'd heard really lousy things about Bruce Campbell's
career, or lack thereof, and I thought his newest movies
So what we have here is Bruce Campbell and a crew of three other
astronauts coming back to Earth after a forty year stay in cryogenic
sleep. And the Earth they come back to is currently ruled by giant
termites. Giant ALIEN termites, no less.
The picture is pretty clear--giant alien termites currently ruling
over Portland, Oregon. That's where all this takes place, you know.
And of course, what do giant alien termites eat? Wood--lots and
lots of wood, prepared into board lengths by human slaves.
And when Movies Online said that "Alien Apocalypse" is
like "Army of Darkness" meets "Starship Troopers,"
I wanted to smack them.
Because it really is the best description there is for it, and not
just because of Bruce's presence. It's an oppressed minority fighting
against a demonic overlordish presence that looks and acts disgusting
with the inevitable happy ending.
But that being said, man, this is good stuff! Bruce actually remembers
what made him good in the first place--acting like a total jagoff
who manages to rescue a whole bunch of people almost in spite of
And the part that'll throw you for an even bigger loop is that this
is actually a made-for-tv movie. That's right--before you found
this little comic action gem on your video store shelves, it was
a Sci Fi Original movie.
"Alien Apocalypse" is a really impressive little title,
especially considering that it's a made for TV movie that went to
video not long after. The effects are solidly done--no rudely-constructed
blood-filled plastic heads here. Everything is either pretty solid
CG or else prostheses of good enough quality that they at least
pass for what they're actually supposed to be. The humans that get
eaten, and the human parts, do indeed look like what they're supposed
to look like. The acting is more than passable--everyone seems to
be handling their lines competently, if not with any flair.
But the one real problem with all this is one massive, gaping plothole.
It's explained that the aliens used neutron bombs and mass executions,
leaving only a handful of people, and no one ever lead an armed
resistance because they just didn't think it could be done. What
I find overwhelmingly hard to believe is that no one actually tried
it. Surely there was ONE gun nut out there who'd see the incredible
success even a twenty-two would have against these things. Especially
after seeing how incredibly well ARROWS worked!
But it's really only a small problem, and one that can be fairly
easily overlooked with a little suspension of disbelief.
The ending is about as happy as you could possibly expect from something
like this, and it's plenty happy. I could tell you what it is right
now and it probably wouldn't spoil anything for you because you
ALREADY know what it is. There will be one small surprise, especially
if you've been paying attention, and it'll be good for a small chuckle
at Bruce's expense.
The special features include cast and crew commentary, a behind
the scenes featurette, a storyboard gallery, a biography of Bruce
Campbell, and trailers for "The Evil Dead," "Evil
Dead 2", "The Man With The Screaming Brain," "Dead
and Breakfast," and "Lightning Bug".
What, no "Army of Darkness" trailer?
All in all, not bad by half. Though a bit predictable in spots,
and with a couple plot holes, "Alien Apocalypse" is a
worthwhile little journey that gives us true insight into how Bruce
Campbell's career became what it is today.
GRADE: 3 stars ***
Renee O' Connor
Michael Cory Davis