Alien Nation – 1988 – A world of enslaved aliens

When Alien Nation originally came out on VHS I rented it. Yes, in those days you actually rented movies. It wasn’t until later that you actually started buying them. At least that’s true for Sweden. I remember that I was fond of the story and that the Aliens seems to be more human than humans at times. It didn’t even occur to me that the aliens was a metaphor for the racism that’s already present on this earth. We shouldn’t need aliens to point out that all mankind aren’t treated the same. But just as the communists were portrayed as aliens in the classic 50’s sci-fi’s they can be used for other purposes of course. And here’s tha Aliens are black och chinese people. Or both!

The Star of Alien Nation is James Caan. I remember him mostly from the cult classic Rollerball but from this flick also. He plays the main character, the cop Matthew Sykes. He loses his partner in a shoot out with criminal newcomers as the aliens are called. This makes him even more hateful towards the new citizens of the earth. But to get the opportunity to investigate his partners death he teams up with one of “them” – a newcomer named Samuel Fransisco. But as Sykes can’t introduce him as Sam Fransisco they agree to can him “George”. Needles to say, their relationship start out quite frosty. Sykes doesn’t like his new partner and only uses him for his own private investigation. That changes of course. You don’t have to be a genius th figure out that they will bond and respect each other greatly in the end.

There’s actually quite a lot of building characters and not so much plot. Or rather, there is plot but it’s kind of shallow and not as complex as you might hope. You have to see this as a racist story rather than a sci-fi.

When watching it on bluray the other night I realized that the makeup weren’t as good as I remembered it. Not that the make any big difference. Alien Nation is still a hell och a charming cult classic. There was also a series made after this movie and There’s at least on sequel. Not a very good one I believe. Not as I remember it anyway. James Caan isn’t in it and Mandy Patinkin as George isn’t either. The characters are kept though. Seems strange to me that the same characters appear but with different faces. But this isn’t that review. You will have to wait for that, if I can even find it. I don’t know if it’s even available somewhere.

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Tommy Snöberg Söderberg

Autodidact film scholar and music-loving thinker who reads the occasional book.

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