Alien Nation (1988) USA
Alien Nation Image Cover
Additional Images
Director:Graham Baker
Studio:20th Century Fox
Producer:Bill Borden, Gale Anne Hurd, Richard Kobritz
Writer:Rockne S. O'Bannon
Date Added:2007-03-06
Purchased On:2007-06-03
Awards:1 win & 4 nominations
Genre:Sci-Fi Action
Picture Format:Anamorphic Widescreen
Aspect Ratio:2.35:1
Sound:Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
Languages:English, Dolby Digital 4.1, English, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround, French, Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Subtitles:English, Spanish
Features:HiFi Sound
Graham Baker  ...  (Director)
Rockne S. O'Bannon  ...  (Writer)
James Caan  ...  Det. Sgt. Matthew Sykes
Mandy Patinkin  ...  Det. Samuel 'George' Francisco
Terence Stamp  ...  William Harcourt
Kevyn Major Howard  ...  Rudyard Kipling
Leslie Bevis  ...  Cassandra
Peter Jason  ...  Fedorchuk
Conrad Dunn  ...  Quint (as George Jenesky)
Jeff Kober  ...  Joshua Strader
Roger Aaron Brown  ...  Det. Bill Tuggle
Tony Simotes  ...  Wiltey
Michael David Simms  ...  Human Dealer
Ed Krieger  ...  Alien Dealer
Tony Perez  ...  Alterez
Brian Thompson  ...  Trent Porter
Francis X. McCarthy  ...  Capt. Warner (as Frank McCarthy)
Keone Young  ...  
Don Hood  ...  
Earl Boen  ...  
William E. Dearth  ...  
Robert Starr  ...  
Adam Greenberg  ...  Cinematographer
Kent Beyda  ...  Editor
Comments: Prepare Yourself.

Summary: They get drunk on sour milk. They have two hearts and bald, spotted heads. They're highly intelligent, but if you drop them in seawater they'll melt into a puddle of goop. They're "Newcomers," and they arrived as refugees in a massive alien slave-ship, quarantined for three years and then reluctantly accepted as citizens of Earth. To some humans--including seasoned Los Angeles cop Matt Sykes (James Caan)--the Newcomers are unwelcome "slags." Sykes's own virulent "speciesism" intensifies when Newcomer thugs kill his partner, but he sees logic in teaming up with Sam Francisco (Mandy Patinkin), the first Newcomer detective in the LAPD. Francisco's Newcomer knowledge is vital to their investigation of an alien drug ring, and a friendship grows from life-or-death circumstances.
A routine cop thriller with a comedic sci-fi twist, Alien Nation> has two things working in its favor: Caan and Patinkin form a memorable duo, and the basic premise--as conceived by Rockne S. O'Bannon (who later developed the film as a TV series)--intelligently accounts for the sociological impact of an alien population. The subtle point is made that humans are extraordinary beings who squander their potential, and the evil of drugs--as dealt by a social-climbing Newcomer played by Terence Stamp--leads to a crisis that threatens to generate global intolerance. These points are well presented in a context of overly familiar plotting and standard-issue sarcasm. It's entertaining for a brisk 90 minutes, but in its attempt to be widely appealing, Alien Nation glosses over issues that might have made it more uniquely provocative. --Jeff Shannon