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Alien invasion movies are going to keep coming; no matter how god awful the recent stock of them have been ("Battle LA", "Battleship") it seems like there is still money that financiers still think should be thrown at blowing E.T out of the water. But if we're going to keep going down this road, it's clear that we could do much worse than the kinda-different "Alien Outpost" from writer-director Jabar Raisani. Raisani, a visual effects supervisor on quite a few mainstream projects (most recently "Game of Thrones"), gives us his first feature here, a combination of "Starship Troopers" and Sebastian Junger's war documentary "Restrepo." So the Earth gets invaded in 2021, a year later the alien Heavies have almost all been extinguished except for some stragglers who are being taken care of by military outposts around the world. 10 years later those outposts have been defunded and the men fighting the war have been forgotten. As if the real-life comparison doesn't hit you over the head enough already, a film crew has been assigned to document the efforts of Outpost 37, situated between Pakistan and Afghanistan. (That's all that area needs- Jihadist Aliens).
"Outpost's" approach is kinda cynical. Remember all those foreign kids Michael Bay has running around, celebrating when the Americans stop the Earth from getting destroyed? Well, that only has a "few-year" shelf life. The soldiers are at risk not just from aliens but also the locals, both of which likely to pull an ambush on the rocky and rough terrain. There are moments when things get intense, and there are moments when the guys just sit around/contribute to film crew interviews- bullshitting with each other, cleaning weapons, practical jokes, telling war stories, trying to add some sense to the mayhem. Despite every character being given a "bare-bones" personality, it's surprising how much a lot of this comes off as genuine, especially like in a scene where a soldier honors a fallen friend.
It's a shame that Raisani doesn't have as much confidence in his alien creations. We're either given brief glimpses or shots from far away. I want to say they resemble the Orcs from "Lord of the Rings" but I just couldn't tell. They also don't really do much besides attack during gun battles (machine, electric, laser, lot of different types of guns here), any other reason for having them inhabit this region makes about as much sense as the Sunni-Shiite conflict does to most Americans. We get a few decent battles and ideas but Raisani, along with co-writer Blake Clifton, mostly just gives us an under-baked war-documentary where aliens are just there for target practice.
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