Alien Siege full movie review - Man has been served; it is time To Medicate Man
Set in the not-too-distant future, Alien Siege (aka Alien Blood) begins with faux news footage explaining Earth's troubles with an extraterrestrial race called the Kulku.
It seems the Kulku have developed a strange, epidemic virus that only human chemistry can combat. So the Kulku set about acquiring the millions of humans they need to "process" in order to create a sufficient amount of medicine, which is being sent back to their planet via transport pods. Because of the Kulku's superior military abilities, the governments of the world are cooperating. Alien Siege concerns a research scientist, Stephen Chase (Brad Johnson) who is trying to protect his daughter, Heather (Erin Ross), from becoming Kulku fodder.
This film, yet another in a long line of movies made exclusively for U.S. cable's Sci-Fi Channel, seems to be really getting knocked in early reviews. That's not unusual, but it is lamentable. The Sci-Fi channel deserves accolades for its attempts to continually present interesting, original genre films to its audience. Despite occasional missteps, many of these films are quite good, and transcend their budgetary limitations. Alien Siege is no exception, providing a fascinating, well-acted and directed science-based fantasy/action story with poignant subtexts.
Similar to some other sci-fi films, from The War of the Worlds (1953) to Independence Day (1996) and even Mars Attacks! (1996), Alien Siege's extraterrestrials have launched a large-scale invasion, and have found it relatively easy to dominate humans, even though they may be little match to humans physically. However, making the film more frightening is the fact that the Kulku are so close to humans in appearance and behavior, and so rational but calculating in their motivation. This fuels one of the film's major subtexts, which is keyed to a particular line of dialogue--the Kulku consider themselves a superior kind of being to humans, and perhaps they are if measured in conventional or traditional ways. To them, their harvesting of humans is not very different than humans harvesting and/or utilizing animals for food, medical research and other kinds of experiments. Some Kulku, at least may regret the need for treating humans they way they are, but they see it as a "necessary evil" to save the dominant species.
That the humans are so ready to acquiesce fuels other, related subtexts. At first, the compliance is voluntary and utilitarian. Humans are offering themselves to the Kulku for the "greater good"--in order to avoid the Kulku killing more humans than necessary. It is assumed that the Kulku have the ability to take what they need whether it's given voluntarily or not. A major theme in the film concerns whether it's better to assent to something undesirable but seemingly insurmountable so easily, without a fight, or whether the greater good should be subject to more risk in a gambit to overcome the odds and produce a more desirable outcome. On these points alone, Alien Siege is worth watching and thinking about. This film would be a great launching pad for these issues in an ethics class.
It's even more difficult to understand the plethora of negative criticism in light of these aspects. Sci-fi literature long had a reputation for bringing up these kinds of complex philosophical issues, especially any that were the result of scientific progress and applications. Sci-fi fans have a long tradition of complaining that films have not adequately tackled that kind of material. Alien Siege arrives at the issues by way of "hard science"--a sought medical/chemical cure to an entrenched virus. It also features a protagonist who is doing hard science, and who reaches turning points in the plot through scientific means. Further, it engages in another beloved characteristic of much sci-fi literature long absent from films--recontextualizing bits of actual human history so that they fit the new, speculative/fantastic premise.
The performances in the film are fine, the direction more than competent--especially during the action sequences--if not flashy, the limited special effects are handled well and the locations are often charming and occasionally atmospheric. While Alien Siege isn't likely to win any awards, it's a quality piece of film-making that achieves what many sci-fi fans are looking for.
After reading through some other comments, it seems like many viewers are finding fault with aspects of the film related to budget. This is a Sci-Fi Channel original, not a 100 million dollar film. Of course it's not going to look like Independence Day. It seems unjust to criticize the film for not having more elaborate special effects, production design and so forth. Aspects of the film not directly related to budget--such as quality of the performances, the script, and so on--make sense to criticize in a film like this, but it's not a bad film simply because they couldn't spend 100 million on it.
It also seems worthwhile to point out, since some people seem to be forgetting, that different people have different tastes, and they often want different things from a film; they have different criteria for what makes a film good. There's not a right or wrong answer about how good a film is. The most you can hope for is to (a) read some interesting comments about the reviewer's personal take on the film and (b) glean enough factual information from a review that it enables a more educated guess whether you might like or dislike the film, based on what you know about your tastes--not based on a faulty assumption that if one human is honest and reasonably intelligent, then you're likely to have a very similar opinion on an artwork.