Alien Siege (2005)
Directed by Robert Stadd
Written by Bill Lundy, Paul Salamoff, Robert Stadd, Ian Valentine
Starring Brad Johnson, Erin Ross, Lilas Lane, Carl Weathers, Nathan Anderson, Michael Cory Davis, Gregor Paslawsky
Governments around the world have entered into a shaky truce with an alien race called the Kulkus, who have demanded eight million humans to be given to them in order to save their race. In exchange for these souls, the Kulkus will provide highly evolved technology that will ensure the further advancement of the human race. In the United States, which must give up almost a million of their own citizens, the Kulkus have given the job of turning over the selected humans to the military, who have turned to martial law to keep the peace and process the selected.
But in the shadows, a resistance group who refuses to believe they are no longer the highest member of the universal food chain have been slowly building in numbers, and plan to stop the harvest of humans from advancing any further. When Dr. Stephen Chase’s daughter is chosen by lottery to be turned over to the aliens, he becomes the newest member of the resistance, and his involvement with studying Kulku technology may just be the key the resistance needs to finally strike back!
Shamelessly ripping off V: The Final Battle and Independence Day, and that is just for starters, Robert Stadd‘s made-for-television movie is a thoroughly enjoyable slice of sci-fi pie that knows exactly the demographic it is aiming for (if you perked up a little with the V name-drop, congratulations, you are the target) and hits the bull’s eye pretty much dead center.
Stadd picks up the main story six weeks into the first contact with the Kulkus, with almost all of the humans already turned over and just the U.S. lagging behind in rounding up the last three-hundred thousand needed to meet their quota. In order to get the plot rolling and the ball into the court of the resistance, the script takes some huge leaps in faith and relies almost solely on coincidence. Dr. Chase just happens to have his daughter Heather chosen at the right time, Heather just happens to have the right blood anomaly the Kulkus are looking for, Dr. Chase happens to be working on studying Kulku technology (one guess at picking the alien race that crash landed in Roswell), and the resistance just happens to attack the same processing center Heather is taken to.
Once the exposition is put out of the way, the focus is turned toward the duel motives of the resistance and their “never give up” creed to ending the harvesting of humans versus the military’s choice to succumb to the pressures of the Kulkus in an effort to save the Earth through sacrifice. It all comes off pretty hokey, and none of the human actors have the chops to really emote either side of the issues. Surprisingly, it is the Kulku case that comes off much more sympathetic as they try to save their race, despite their violent tendencies.
I’m not even going to touch the script’s attempt at witty one-liners.
What the movie does have going for it is the action, and it makes all the freedom-loving posturing versus an entire race’s subjective right to survive worth suffering through, is some massive planetary destruction, cool gun battles, and plenty of wicked alien technology. All of the design work, as well as integration of CGI into footage is surprisingly coherent and life-like for the most part. This can be attributed to Stadd’s previous work in visual effects on movies like Galaxy Quest and Mighty Joe Young that feature heavy use of both practical effects and CGI.
Alien Siege, which made its debut on the Sci-Fi Channel way back in February of 2005, has now been released on DVD from Image Entertainment as part of the new “Sci-Fi Essentials” banner. While this is by no means a science-fiction essential, it should be construed as a Sci-Fi Channel essential, and it is much better in terms of production value and entertainment than most of their made-for-cable feature films. It is pure sci-fi fluff that is the equivalent of some random book you’d find published by Del Rey and a tasty 90-minute snack to munch on while waiting for the next Battlestar Galactica or Star Trek.