Saturday, April 16, 2005

Review: Alien Warrior (1985)


On a distant, pastel-colored planet an alien who vaguely resembles Bob Vila asks permission from his father to go forth into the Universe to fight "Great Evil." His dad sends him to Earth, where evil is pretty easy to find. He climbs into a mystical garbage compactor which sends him shooting through space buck naked. He makes his landing in an unspecified hellhole of a city in America and is - thankfully - given some pants and a blazer by a smelly drunk guy. With no time to waste he starts walking the streets asking people where he can find some evil. He adopts the name "Buddy."

Nearby, a clean-cut woman named Laura is walking alone through the most dangerous part of town in the middle of the night with no clear destination. She is spotted by some hoodlums who chase her down an alley. Her doom seems imminent, but Buddy senses the danger and rescues her. In battling the hoods he realizes that when he hurts someone, he experiences their pain. Laura is impressed with Buddy's anti-evil stance and gives him a job in the urban tutoring center she operates.

Meanwhile, the local pimp / drug dealer / all-around scum "Mr. 1" is busy tending his various illegal operations. He somehow manages to get just about every prominent local official to sleep with a hooker so he can take incriminating photos of them. Buddy begins to reform the petty criminals and gang members in the neighborhood, teaching them how to build futuristic cars out of scrap metal and to paint over their graffiti with more positive graffiti. "Mr. 1" notices his profits dropping off due to the lack of crime and sends a couple of corrupt cops to kill Buddy. Buddy gets the upper hand and takes the bad cops to the police station. Unfortunately, "Mr. 1" has the police chief in his sway and Buddy is the one who gets put in jail.

Buddy's semi-reformed gang member friends steal a suitcase of money from "Mr. 1" so they can bail Buddy out of the slammer. "Mr. 1," who is starting to lose patience with the whole affair, kidnaps Laura and stages a trap for Buddy. Buddy does his best to save Laura but upon shooting one of "Mr. 1's" henchmen he becomes semi-transparent and thus unable to do much of anything. Luckily the gang members show up and shoot "Mr. 1", who falls into an iron smelter. Buddy's spirit returns to his home planet and his father congratulates him on a job well done.


If I were sent to Earth to fight "Great Evil" I wouldn't waste time with pimps and gang members and such; I would go after the makers of this film. While drug dealers and prostitutes sit in jail the producers of Alien Warrior are walking around free, and it's just not right. These people have more evil in one finger than the average street hood does in their entire body. Honestly, this is the kind of film that makes you think maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing if the entire human race were to be wiped out by a plague or a nuclear explosion.

How does one even go about discussing a movie as bad as Alien Warrior? The screenplay seems to have been a collaboration between an eleven-year-old and a schizophrenic. It flings us violently from scenes of good-natured fantasy into ones of murder and torture, then back again. I can't figure out who this film's target audience was supposed to be. Anyone who enjoyed the fantasy parts would be emotionally scarred by the horribly violent parts, and anyone who enjoyed the horribly violent parts shouldn't be allowed out in public anyway.

Don't get me wrong - violence in film has a long and proud tradition, and I don't object to it as a rule. It's just that Alien Warrior has such a disturbing attitude about it. When "Mr. 1" is setting up the trap for Buddy he has one of his henchmen kidnap a woman, strip her clothes off, and threaten her with a snake and a power drill. Is this really necessary? Couldn't they have gotten the point across without the power drill? This movie just doesn't know when to say when.

I will admit that "Mr. 1" is a pretty despicable villain. He's a vile, murderous thug who has no sense of morality whatsoever. You would think that the filmmakers would like to keep his aura of menace intact, but after Buddy's friends steal the suitcase of money we see "Mr. 1" running through the streets in a pair of white briefs, chasing after them. The actor who portrays "Mr. 1" does not appear to realize how ridiculous he looks - the scene is not played for laughs, which is what makes it so funny. The worst thing you can do to a screen villain is to show him in his underpants. This is why you never saw Darth Vader in his BVDs.

"Mr. 1" and Buddy seem completely mismatched as a villain/hero pair. Buddy should be doing battle with Skeletor, not going up against a homicidal pimp. And I don't understand why Buddy's dad is so pleased with him when he returns to Planet Crunchberry. What did he really accomplish? The gangsters he "reformed" didn't actually stop killing people, they just started killing other criminals. He didn't even take out "Mr. 1" himself - his gang-member friend did it while Buddy was standing around being transparent.

There were some things about this movie that I really liked. There's Buddy's futuristic trash car. There's a kid who dresses like Michael Jackson. There's an excellent scene of some breakdancing. There's the longest cow bell solo in the history of film scores. Given the choice, however, I'd rather be kidnapped, stripped naked and threatened with snakes and power drills than watch this pile of garbage again.

Final Analysis

Alien Warrior is a dismally inept film, and on that level it's quite enjoyable to watch. Unfortunately, it's also a misogynistic, virulently racist exercise in depravity. It's the sort of film that takes a little bit of your soul away. Years from now the memory of Alien Warrior will fade in my mind, but I'll never get that chunk of my soul back. It is implied in the opening scene of the film that Buddy may actually be Jesus' brother. If the producers of this movie go to heaven when they die they should watch their backs, because Jesus may be waiting for them up there, in a dark alley, with a lead pipe.


At 10:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

damn! I can't believe netflix doesn't carry this!

At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can buy this at rare movie depot dot com...


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