Alien Agent – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

A dying alien race has been searching for a new planet to inhabit so that they may live. Their sights have been set on Earth, a perfect environment for their species to continue to thrive. Under the guidance of the conquest-hungry Saylon, his rogue military team has infiltrated the masses of Earth, and have begun building a wormhole with stolen technology that will bridge his planet to Earth so that his troops may conquer the planet and his species will have a new place to call home.

But there is a small group from Saylon’s planet that do not want to vanquish the inhabitants of Earth, and they have sent Guild Warrior Rykker (Mark Dacascos) to stop Saylon’s plans. Armed with a sawed-off shotgun and rounds powerful enough to kill his kind as well as a brutal array of hand-to-hand combat techniques, Rykker is the only one capable of stopping the insidious plan! And with a little help from a local teen who has become smitten with Rykker, he might just get lucky enough to destroy the wormhole and defeat Saylon’s army of mercenaries and assassins before it is too late.

When your main hero character is introduced driving a beat-up late 1980s Ford Mustang, you know there’s going to be limitations in the production. Just how limited? Well director Jesse Johnson’s effort here makes the average Sci-Fi Channel production look like a blockbuster feature by comparison. The film plays out more like a homemade movie where kids film in whatever abandoned buildings they can find and try to imitate action that has been seen on television. Here, Johnson runs around the British Columbia wilderness filming in the same few sets, spends half the movie tromping through the woods and driving around trying his best to recreate high-speed pursuit chase sequences, and grabbing whatever locals he can to spit out a few lines of dialogue.

If Johnson’s direction is like unto a kid with his first camera, then Vlady Pyldish’s script is akin to an aspiring geek’s attempt to write their first script after going on a sci-fi bender. Elements of Stargate, the midichloreans from Star Wars, and even L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology are all picked at in creating a storyline that is not only unoriginal and easy to guess what is going to happen, but just plain dull. Perhaps his worst offense though, are his one-liners. Pyldish was obviously not around to soak up the importance of a good one-liner or comeback from the B-movie action fare of the 80s and 90s, and instead of producing the desired “ugh” of a good final line before the death blow, it just comes off as “wha?”

Sadly, Mark Dacascos, who is the number one drawing point to Alien Agent, is sorely underused. Despite his turns in Crying Freeman and Drive, which basically gives him carte blanche to do whatever he wants for the rest of his career, his portrayal of Rykker is enough to try even his most diehard fans. While his acting is even stiffer than usual, as he churns out lines that he obviously does not believe in for that promised paycheck, what is most insulting is just how little Johnson employs his martial arts skills. The action sequences, which are few and far between, contain but a shadow of the abilities Dacascos has at his disposal. These abilities are diluted even more by the unsure camera work, rapid editing, and completely unnecessary effects to heighten the impact of a blow. Even the length of the fights, which are over almost as soon as they begin, betray the energy that Dacascos can deliver.

What should be an enjoyable slice of sci-fi moon cheese instead just falls flat on its face. Not even the sinister deadpan delivery of Billy Zane (fresh off the set of the hillbilly zombie fare The Mad) as Saylon, the flash of a little gratuitous flesh for both men and women, and the inclusion of the brutal fight techniques of Darren Shahlavi and Dominiquie Vandenberg to spice up the action can save this flop. Alien Agent attempts to simultaneously draw in the “they are out there” crowd along with the blow-everything-up fight crowd and instead fails to do both with appalling accuracy.

Alien Agent is presented in its original 1.78:1 widescreen transfer with a Dolby Digital soundtrack, as well as optional Spanish subtitles.

Trailer – The original promotional trailer for Alien Agent

Previews – Five additional previews for other releases from production company Allumination Filmworks

This turkey is beyond even the saving grace of a cold twelve-pack and a few friends to mercilessly tear it apart. Avoid at all costs.

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Fries Home Video presents Alien Agent. Directed by Jesse Johnson. Starring Marc Dacascos, Amelia Cooke, Emma Lahana, Billy Zane. Written by Vlady Pyldish. Running time: 95 minutes. Rated R. Released on DVD: April 8, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.

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