7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Neat concept executed like any other cop movie.,
This review is from: Alien Nation (DVD)
Do you like cop movies? If you do then you're in luck. Alien Nation is essentially a cop movie... with aliens. The fact that it is just a cop movie with aliens is what makes this movie a little groundbreaking. However like any other genre of movies, this cop movie isn't perfect. It falls into some of the same trappings of most cop movies. In spite of that Alien Nation is innovative in the science fiction genre, even if the innovation itself has been played out to nausea elsewhere.
This isn't high cop drama like Black Rain or Heat. It isn't necessarily low cop drama either like V.I. Warshowski or The Rookie. The cop drama part is pretty much in the middle. So what makes it innovative? Well... it's the aliens. One of the things that make really good science fiction is when aspects of real life get represented in another fashion. Films like Aliens with their Viet Nam War contrast, Contact with its spiritual belief contrast, and V with their Holocaust similarities all stand out above the crowd because they compare their situations with real issues. Alien Nation does the same. Not with the buddy cop themes but with the themes of racial hatred and discrimination. Instead of some other ethnic minority you get alien refugees from another planet. You get all the parallels of bigotry in modern society in this film, and they address it in a concise manner.
That been said it's still a cop movie overall. Oddly matched police officers learning to accept each other, drug lord looking to take over, lots of gunplay and cop jokes... they all end up here. This aspect of the movie is merely average. Just like all the other cop movies you have seen over the decades. The cinematography, settings, script, and style all fall victims to the cop movie theme as they are all nothing to really write home about when compared to other police films. This doesn't mean the script, cinematography and other stuff I mentioned is bad. It just doesn't stand out above the crowd.
Appreciate Alien Nation for what it is: a parallel to society's discrimination against people different than us. Understand the fact that the vehicle they used to portray this, and it was an appropriate one at that, was a clichéd cop plot. If you like cop movies and Sci-Fi then you found a winner here. For the rest of you I won't say it's an overall great movie, but I will say it's a pretty good one.