Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Science Fiction > Mystery > Thriller > Comedy > Alien Nation (1988/Fox/Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-ray)

Alien Nation (1988/Fox/Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-ray)

Picture: B+ Sound: B+ Extras: D Film: C

PLEASE NOTE: This Import Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, can play on Blu-ray players worldwide and can be from the link below.

Showing its age a bit on Blu-ray, the Graham Baker film Alien Nation (1988) that later spawned a television series. Mixing buddy cop movie with some of social commentary akin to Planet of the Apes and maybe even a slight dash of Total Recall, Alien Nation features impressive production design and great special effects work, but ultimately feels a bit dated and overall a bit silly to today's standards. Though the film did some business in its time and has gotten a cult following over the years spanning five television films (launched by the genius of Bionic Woman creator Kenneth Johnson, interviewed elsewhere on this site) and several comics and novels, I wouldn't quite rule out seeing a remake of sorts in the not too distance future.

The film stars James Caan, Mandy Patinkin, and Terence Stamp.

In Los Angeles 1991 (ahem), UFOs have landed in the Mojave Desert and start to mingle into the LA population. You can't go anywhere without seeing these humanoid (though stronger and more intelligent) beings known as Tenctonese, or 'Newcomers'. Like humans, some are good and some are bad but in this instance they are mostly up to no good.

One of them, George Francisco (Patinkin), is a police detective with a human partner named Matthew Sikes (Caan) who basically fits the Anti-Hero description. George and Matt fight crime together, while learning to respect the other's culture, and question each other's whist fighting prejudice, as personified by the Purists, and fear, in the form of the unseen Overseers.

While the story isn't half bad, I feel like with a more visionary filmmaker like James Cameron or Ridley Scott behind the lens, they could have handled this material in a more visceral cinematic light then what was produced here and probably would have helped make this film more memorable (and profitable). For the time, the undertaking from a production standpoint here is pretty impressive and it does feature several big show pieces, so you have it hand it that when the majors still knew how to take risks based on smart material.

Umbrella has done a great job here with bringing this older Fox film to disc with a 1080p high definition transfer with 2.35:1 widescreen and a 5.1 English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless track that can show the age of the recording, but has been remastered surprisingly well from the original 4.1 Dolby 70mm blow-up print's multi-channel surround magnetic soundmaster. The film certainly hasn't looked better than it does here with often fine color and some expected grain, so one can see the kind of shoot that would make sense in printing 70mm blow-up prints.

Surprisingly no extras here. I would have liked to see something on the creature design or special effects but maybe they are saving that for a future release, who knows. At any rate, if you are a fan of the film then you will want this release for the upgraded sound and picture alone. If you haven't seen it and are a fan of '80s sci-fi then you will enjoy some bits here. Revisiting the film several years later, I didn't totally fall in love with it again or totally hate it. Fans will be happy for now, though.

To order this Umbrella import Blu-ray or any of the companies other great releases and hard-to-find exclusives, go to this link:


- James Lockhart



 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com