Friday, April 8, 2011

At Home, No One Can Hear This Reviewer Scream: "Alien Intruder" (1993)

Twenty years in the future, the spaceship Holly (as in Buddy Holly) is having a little problem. The crew is trying to kill each other, all over Tracy Scoggins. Although if you were locked on a ship with Jeff Conaway, you might take up arms, too. Scoggins is Ariel, and the Holly is toast.

In a futuristic prison, four men are recruited by sullen commander Skyler (Billy Dee Williams) to go rescue the Holly. The men are Nick (Maxwell Caulfield)- the hunky leader, Lloyd (Gary Roberts)- the cigar puffing blowhard, D.J. (Richard Cody)- the computer nerd, and Peter (Stephen Davies)- the recovering alcoholic who is always on edge. The low budget meant the film makers could only copy a third of the personnel found in "The Dirty Dozen," think of these guys as "the Queasy Quartet."

You know the drill, if they complete their mission, they are free. They take off in a ship called the Presley (I am not kidding), and head to the mysterious "G" sector. "G" stands for "God, make this film end."

As part of their mission, the four men are given virtual reality weekends, where they can live out their fantasies with a beautiful woman. Lloyd picks the wild west, D.J. is in a motorcycle gang, Peter comes up with a black and white noir like "Casablanca," and Nick just heads to the beach. The men are fine and dandy until Ariel begins killing the fantasy women and taking their places. She then starts leaving the program altogether, making herself real and invading the men's shipboard life.

The rescue of the Holly was an excuse to reunite with Ariel, but Ariel just wants to collect the fleet's men and kill them. She is a biochemical computer virus with a killer bod. The men start killing each other so they can have Ariel.

The fantasies the men have all take place in the present or recent past in order to save on money. This is one inexpensive film. The interior of the ships look like a power plant somewhere. A point is made that the Presley and the Holly are sister ships, completely identical. This saves on having to build a whole other set, although from the outside the ships are obviously different. The animated laser blasts are hilarious.

Billy Dee Williams spends most of his screen time staring at his computer screen and whimpering. He must be trying to e-mail his agent, wondering how Lando Calrissian and "Batman"'s original Harvey Dent ended up in this slop. Maxwell Caulfield also looks ill at ease, still paying penance for being involved in "Grease 2."

Gale's direction is so standard, you could use this film in one of those two day film making seminars whose ads you find in the back of Premiere magazine. The story lurches along, completely predictable and holding no surprises. While the naked women are entertaining, Tracy Scoggins as Ariel is miscast.

"Alien Intruder" is as generic as its title suggests. I cannot recommend it. (*) out of five stars.