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  • Alien Outpost | Review

    By | January 26, 2015

    AlienOutpost_poster

    Director: Jabbar Raisani

    Writers: Blake Clifton, Jabbar Raisani

    Starring: Adrian Paul, Rick Ravanello, Reiley McClendon, Douglas Tait, Joe Reegan, Matthew Holmes

    Earth was invaded by an alien race in 2021. Two years later, the aliens — unaffectionately referred to as “heavies” — have retreated to some of the most desolate parts of the planet, presumably to regroup, re-strategize and await reinforcements. Earthling military forces have since established outposts in these outlying areas to monitor the heavies and hopefully kill off some of them. Jabbar Raisani’s Alien Outpost takes place at one such outpost located in Iran.

    Stylistically, Raisani borrows a lot from Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger’s documentary Restrepo. In the case of Alien Outpost, the handheld documentary footage is shot by a crew sent to capture what life is like on a military outpost. Little do they know, they are being sent into the heart of darkness. As it turns out, the outpost is not only threatened by the presence of heavies in the area, but the local townspeople have inexplicably taken up arms in support of the heavies. At first, this new phenomena seems to be a heavy-handed resurgence of anti-Americanism; but, thankfully, Alien Outpost eventually reveals a much more valid reason for the Iranians’ unconditional support of the heavies.

    Presumably working with a much lower budget than most alien invasion films, Raisani smartly opts to limit the aliens’ screen time — reminiscent of Monsters, District 9, Troll Hunter, and Cloverfield. Raisani approaches Alien Outpost as if it is a found footage war movie, sparingly utilizing CGI effects in order to escalate the production’s level of realism. 

    It is difficult to ignore the purposefulness of Alien Outpost‘s Iranian setting. Raisani clearly strives to suggest some common elements between this alien war and the current military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan. First of all, Raisani presents us with the hopelessness and frivolity of war. This particular outpost is understaffed and undersupplied; the expectation that this small group of soldiers should be able to hold off the heavies’ lasers is ridiculous. These soldiers were sent to this outpost and then subsequently ignored by the military powers in control; in fact, they are fighting a war that has presumably been forgotten by most of the Western world. Secondly, Raisani addresses the militaristic brainwashing of extremist factions, convincing common people to take up arms for precarious reasons. The extremist leaders use these brainwashed ragtag soldiers as pawns who are forced to sacrifice their lives for something that they most likely do not condone.

    Rating: 7/10

    Topics: Film Reviews, News | 1 Comment »

    • Anax ofRhodes

      Almost all of the negative reviews I’ve read for Alien Outpost explain they disliked the film for its disagreeable commentary on contemporary conflicts. I did not come to the same conclusion and thought the setting was merely for convenience then commentary. Yours is the first to describe it fairly neutrally. Thank you for that.

      I think the commentary is more on the soldiers fighting the war than on the war itself, that those men and women are at the frontlines are the ones who deserve our respect and support, regardless of the conflict. I’ve heard off-hand from military personnel that the brass above them have grown lethargic and luxurious over powerful and practical. That insight sticks in my mind more than the idea that Alien Outpost suggests U.S. intervention in the Middle East was/is justified.

      Your second point about the brainwashing of extremist factions is a very cogent one. I’d not thought of that at all. Given the plot element that explains the local resistance’s alliance with the Heavies, I just crossed that possibility out mentally. But considering the first point, I’m still unconvinced this was done for anything other than convenience. It (somewhat depressingly) retains familiarity for the modern viewer, an aspect quickly described and easily understood. Introducing a new faction or removing the resistance altogether probably proved to great a plot hole otherwise.