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After Dark Originals: Area 51 [DVD]
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Pressure is mounting on the Air Force concerning their most secretive base, Area 51, used to house elusive Ã¢â¬Ålong-term visitors.Ã¢â¬Â Bowing to political and public pressure, two reporters are granted limited access to the facility. But when one of the Ã¢â¬ÅvisitorsÃ¢â¬Â uses the visit as a chance to liberate himself and fellow captives, Area 51 turns from a secure government base to a horrifying destination of terror.
"There are no aliens to be found in Area 51." So says the military commander (Bruce Boxleitner) of the place, in a statement that almost guarantees major extraterrestrial mayhem is about to commence. As 51 opens, a journalist (Vanessa Branch) and a politician (John Shea) are embarking on a top-secret tour of the fabled research unit, and at that exact moment the alien residents decide to stage a little rebellion. One of the creatures can shape-shift (à la The Thing), which means the human fighters can't trust their eyes. This "After Dark" straight-to-video installment is surprisingly competent: director Jason Connery (yes, Sean's actor son) exploits the straightforward situation in trim, efficient fashion, and an unusual number of dialogue exchanges are actually involving. In other words, the actions of the characters might make no sense, but at least they sound good performing them. Jason London and Rachel Miner fill out the cast as soldiers (respectively dopey and tough) who must rise to the occasion when faced with an otherworldly foe. It probably helps to go in with low expectations, but this contained little thriller is a cut above the general run of such things. --Robert Horton
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Top customer reviews
While not a classic, this is a good film with a good cast and I don't think you'll be wasting any time watching it. This is probably one of the SY FY channels' better films. The special effects and special effects make-up are above par, for a change.
Either rent this or buy it (if you buy it from Amazon.com, you'll also get to watch it as a rental for about 30 days.) I'm waiting for my DVD to arrive as I write this, having watched it on my Roku device last night. I'm glad I ordered this as a DVD and not a rental, this is a film well worth having in my collection (and I have about 500 DVDs (and an unknown amount of VHS still) in my collection.)
So you can take the advice of someone that has spent a lot of time watching DVDs of all genres. I am permanently injured from a On-The-Job Injury at work and can't do too much more than watch DVDs. So trust me, you'll like it.
The storyline and the special effects were not bad. The irritating factor of this movie was the characters were supposed to act out convincing military personalities but their acting failed more times than it succeeded. In addition to the inability of the actors to act out convincing military personalities and in addition to the military actors' failure to carry out interaction that would most often occur in a military community, when the colonel (and I use the small "c" on purpose) caved in on carrying out the military protocol for containment because it involved him dying, I was thinking that I should have drank at least 4 shots of brandy plus a minimum of 2 pints of ale so that I would be drunk enough not to notice that the 40 year veteran had done such a ludicrous decision. Shoot and I spent 3 bucks on this thing. Bummer, but I have seen worse movies. The overall point is see this movie if you run out of seeing every other movie on the Internet but don't forget to drink and then watch.
The entire production, from opening titles to end titles reeked of low-budget inadequacy. This can work if it's part of the intent, but "51", it seems, was a serious effort at movie-making. Honestly, though, in this day and age when CGI can be run on relatively modest platforms at moderate expense, is there really any excuse for the cheesy "man-in-a-rubber-suit" monster? Naturally, starting from these unpromising special effects, it was inevitable that the filmmakers would compensate for their toy aliens by pouring out buckets of blood. Lots of blood, lots of silliness, lots of unexplained overacting, and lots of disbelief at the incredibly bad quality of a) writing; b) sets (a random warehouse somewhere and a few hangars at an abandoned airfield), and c) acting.
The plot line, such as it was, was inadequately developed, and simply unbelievable in places (e.g. a top-secret military installation with only a dozen or so trained guards - and those, armed with Vietnam-era M-16's??? A Willy's-style jeep loaded with TNT packed in CARDBOARD boxes??? A multi-level secure biohazard lab underground in the desert, but with more holes in its security than a colander???)...
Sorry, but if you have a choice between watching this lifeless dog of a movie, or spending your $3.00 on some twinkies and pork rinds, go for the twinkies and pork rinds. They have more substance.
I know that LA film people have to work, but this extravaganza of inanity is a poor excuse for work. Back to parking cars and slinging burgers, folks.