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Science Fiction - Alien Nation

Buy Alien Nation
James Caan, Mandy Patinkin, Terence Stamp
Directed by Graham Barker
20th Century Fox 1988
96 minutes

Alien Nation is one of the more . . . down to earth . . . science fiction movies around. The future is 1994 and a race of aliens called Newcomers (or pejoratively Slags) landed three years ago and is now integrated into society. When detective Sykes (or Shithead in alien speak) loses his partner during a robbery, he gets teamed up with Sam Francisco (Mandy Patinkin) the first Newcomer detective on the force. Caan doesn’t really like the name Sam Francisco so he calls his new partner George.

Alien Nation is an after the fact kind of science fiction DVD movie. The integration between Newcomers and humans has gone relatively well. Unfortunately, one of the Newcomers is running a drug lab and this drug, once used to make the Newcomers work harder in the mines when they were slaves, could really change things. Sykes and George stumble onto this drug operation while investigating the murder of his previous partner and decide to take down Mr. Big.

In many ways, Alien Nation is your basic cop buddy movie that uses the Newcomers as a means to get a few messages across. George does point out to Sykes that humans have great potential they only waste. There are also a few comic moments here and there (such as Rambo 6 playing at a local theatre) to lighten the mood but Alien Nation is really a science fiction mystery movie where the cops must find the bad guy before things get out of hand.

Alien Nation works because it is an intelligent, funny at times, fast-paced action movie with great acting and solid writing. Unfortunately 20th Century Fox simply transferred a print of this movie onto DVD without cleaning it up or anything so the DVD look pretty much like a VHS tape.

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