Aliens from two planets at war come to Earth, assume human form and continue their battle.

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Bill McLean ...
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Art Lewis
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Two different alien races are at war. Representatives of each race have landed on Earth to battle it out here, but they're being sneaky about it: They've taken human form and they can only spot other aliens through the use of special glasses. Written by Afterburner <aburner@erols.com>

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10 March 1970 (USA)  »

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La dernière victoire  »

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Featured in Movie Macabre: The Love War (1984) See more »

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It doesn't insult our intelligence!
14 October 2005 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

I saw 'The Love War' more than 30 years ago on Australian television, while I was working double shifts in a Sydneyside slaughter-yard. I found this low-budget TV-movie deeply enjoyable, for two reasons: firstly, it was science fiction at a time when I was starved for even half-decent SF. Secondly, I've always maintained that science fiction is about *ideas*, not hardware and special effects. 'The Love War' has no ray guns, no spaceships: if you watched this movie with the sound off, you'd barely realise it's science fiction.

The film begins in an airport jetty. We see Lloyd Bridges come hirpling along, with an extreme limp. We never do learn the precise explanation for how he got the limp ... but we learn very shortly that he's an extraterrestrial, or at least that he claims to be one. This raises a lot of questions that never do get answered: if the aliens are able to equip themselves with human bodies, then why has Bridges got a body with a gimpy left ankle?

Anyroad, it soon turns out that there are two different alien species on Earth. Two planets are at war with each other, and their best soldiers have decided to duke it out on Earth rather than on their homeworlds. Sucks to any humans who get hurt. Apparently, the two rival sets of aliens are able to disguise themselves so perfectly as humans that the only way they can rumble each other is through sunglasses with special lenses. (Why don't they get contact lenses?)

Bridges is on the run from the aliens, although it's not immediately clear whether he's on the run from the aliens on the *other* planet -- his enemies -- or whether he's on the run from his own people, because he wants to defect to Earth and live as a human. This raises still more questions that never do get answered: if Bridges successfully goes to earth on Earth and lives out his days as a human, what will happen to this body he's wearing -- presumably not a genuine human body -- when he eventually dies? Will he just self-combust, like the dead aliens in 'The Invaders'?

Well, Bridges crosses paths with gorgeous blonde Earthwoman Angie Dickinson, who falls in love with him surprisingly quickly. There is a 'surprise' ending which I saw coming from about twelve parsecs away, but I enjoyed the trip it took to get there. The actors give such earnest performances that I accepted them as extraterrestrials, despite very little evidence. At the very end of the movie, we get a glimpse of two of the aliens through a pair of sunglasses. Still, this movie might have been more interesting if the actors and director had played it for more ambiguity, making Bridges's haggard protagonist more like the enigmatic character played by Kevin Spacey in 'K-PAX': is he a genuine alien, or is he a deluded human who has convinced himself he's an alien, as a defence mechanism against insanity?

Part of the problem with 'The Love War' (besides its irrelevant and generic title) is that this story didn't really have to be science fiction: it would have worked much more credibly if the two rival sets of aliens had been human all along: two rival mafia clans, for instance, or modern incarnations of the Hatfields and McCoys. Or the Jets and the Sharks. Worse luck, this TV movie bears a strong resemblance to a science-fiction story by Kris Neville that was published about twenty years earlier: anyone who's read that story will have no trouble guessing the end of this movie.

I enjoyed 'The Love War', but would like to have seen the same premise without the science-fiction garnishes. I'll rate this TV movie 7 out of 10. It doesn't insult the viewer's intelligence, and that's a rare achievement indeed.


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