3 out of 10
Release Date: 1st January 2013 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Dominic Burns: (Airborne (2012) / How To Stop Being a Loser / Cut)
Cast: Sean Brosnan, Bianca Bree, Simon Phillips, Maya Grant, Jazz Lintott, Andrew Shim, Peter Barrett, Raji James, Joey Ansah, Amelia Linney, Dominic Burns with Sean Pertwee, Julian Glover and Jean-Claude Van-Damme
Writer: Dominic Burns
UFO aims for the stars but ends up putting it’s finger through the paper. Best pitched as a sci-fi spin off special of a soap opera. Imagine some of your favourite soap characters getting mixed up in an ‘end of the world’ scenario with added space ships and you’re close to the mark. It’s Brookside meets Independence Day without the shell suits. Anyway, Merseyside’s loss is Belgium’s gain as Jean-Claude Van-Damme (HARD TARGET) shows up in a non-action role as a mad-black ops friend of the family called Georges. But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves. There’s a lot to poke fun at before we even get close to Van Damme, who I’d say gets off relatively unscathed. Anyway here goes.
Odious doofus, Michael played by son of Pierce, Sean Brosnan goes to a night club with newly-engaged friends Dana (MAYA GRANT) and Robin (SIMON PHILLIPS – KILL KEITH), and Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air lookalike, Vincent (JAZZ LINTOTT – AIRBORNE). Michael pulls Carrie, played by Jean-Claude Van-Damme‘s real life daughter Bianca Bree (6 BULLETS) and they all go back to Robin’s house. When they awake next morning, there is no electricity, no phone signal and no radio coverage. A neighbour’s (RAJI JAMES – EAST IS EAST) wife works for the National Crisis Office in London so they all await his return whilst he drives down south to see her (at one point I think they mention living in Nottingham- hell of a commute.) THEN a gigantic alien craft hovers above the town creating mass panic and then smaller crafts begin to call house to house in search of people, why exactly? The following 24 hours sees the local shopping precinct turn into Planet Of The Apes as residents try to loot the shops. Sean Pertwee (JUST FOR THE RECORD) draws obvious inspiration from Steven Berkoff‘s mad prophetic tramp role from Dead Cert to lunatic effect too. A gigantic alien craft hovers above the town creating mass panic and then smaller crafts begin to call house to house in search of people, why exactly? It would seem that petrol pump attendant Julian Glover (THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK) has studied end of the world scenarios because he’s on hand to explain what will come to pass more succinctly than the number spouting loon Sean Pertwee wheels on screen. Peter Barrett (FALL OF THE ESSEX BOYS) and Andrew Shim (THIS IS ENGLAND) turn up as the same two soldiers that died in Dominic Burn‘s earlier Airborne (2012) to shoot some alien aircraft down. They are also saddled with some shocking lines like “SHIT! SHE’S E.T.!” once the light ‘Body Snatchers” rip off plot comes into view. Yes, as an afterthought the invaders look just like us except for a triangle tattoo on their ankles and seemingly super-human strength (well they’re not human) and they have taken over / replicated our bodies (neither is clear). Sean Brosnan has a rather good but prolonged martial arts fight with an alien police man in a chemist which is more than I can say for JCVD, who has a badly filmed scrap in a living room the size of a phone box with a lead member of the cast who turns out to be a you know what! It lasts one minute if that, and then JCVD is mainly called upon to deliver more dialogue than he would in an entire feature. He is in possession of alien technology which looks more like an old gramophone speaker, so he wisely comes up with a plan to return the mysterious box to the invaders. If these aliens are like us they wouldn’t be interested in old technology that got stolen from Area 51 in the 80s now would they? That’s probably the only explanation for JCVD’s fate.
Anyway, there was too much wrong with this even to get a small amount of enjoyment out of it. Sean Brosnan was competent enough but his cocky idiot was so unlikeable you couldn’t invest in him as a hero. Simon Phillips seems to be getting better and more confident with each movie he makes but he’s still miscast as a soldier on leave. He’s cramped by bad dialogue and by being surrounded by worse actors. It’s interesting to see an actor hone their craft form film to film. I hope he gets to bust his way up the ranks sharpish before he either stands out like a sore thumb by putting all to shame (Neil Maskell style) or begins to default to auto-pilot because at the moment he’s been the best thing about several really really sh*tty movies including this. Oh yeah back to the dumbest plot has the main bunch change motivations and character traits from minute to minute. Jazz Lintott goes from comedy relief, to scaredy cat to mass rapist to corpse during the film’s considerable running time. JCVD has clearly taught his daughter (Bianca Bree) all he knows about acting, nothing. She is really pretty but very wooden. A terrible lead performance that doesn’t require her to do much other than pout, ask dumb questions and occasionally help out with the fighting. The film is also peppered with an absolutely hopeless need to edit in forward flashes and flashbacks to important plot points for those that would get lost watching Teletubbies. It’s clunkily executed too. Was it edited with a chainsaw? Example: Someone will say “it’s like that old guy at the petrol station says – the human race is screwed.” then we flashback to the scene with said petrol sataion guy saying “the human race is screwed.” Do you have to be thick to appreciate this movie? I don’t think so, it’s just shows a lack of confidence in the material that every last detail needs to over explained. Dominic Burns is mainly to blame. He wrote, directed and also acts in this under dramatic space turd. The special effects are passable in this age of Dino-Croc Vs. Mega-Pig but they are still sparing and generally unmpressive. It seems like all the action is happening somewhere down the road in a different movie. It’s the least urgent and scary apocalype you’ll see yet. Burns’ cameo is a waste of time as the manager of the shopping centre? Wearing a tracksuit and his hair in braids he’s the most weirdly attired business man I’ve seen in the movies. He’s an alright actor and he’s proven that with a half-decent script he can pull off a genre film in the director’s seat, see Airborne (2012), which was no less trashy but it was a lot of fun. I was hoping for more of the same but I’m afraid UFO is yet another example of British indie movies at their worst and most lazily derivative. Slim recommendations are in order for a clutch of committed performances from Sean Pertwee (who looks like he snorted the sherbet budget all by himself) and the Harvey Keitel of indie flicks, Simon Phillips who is in grave danger of being forgiven for the Jack Trilogy here at Britpic Bungalows…. He’ll never be forgiven for Stuart Brennan‘s The Reverand (2012) never ever.
I was warned off but how could I resist a low budget sci-fi set in the midlands featuring Jean-Claude Van-Damme. Alas, any humour, verve or attempts at originality are either lame or MIA. It’s po-faced and mainly redundant. Widely uneven performances, a bad script, choppy editing and a bizarre decision to ignore JCVD’s physical talents all add up to a dead in water, soap opera style take on War Of The Worlds. I wonder what UFO is supposed to stand for in this case? Unbelievably F*cking Orful? Oh yeah, who remembers the last awful movie called UFO? That was also a UK indie starring Roy “Chubby” Brown and it was awful, but way more fun than this….At least that one had Roger Lloyd Pack playing a hermophrodite that couldn’t stop playing with him/herself. Oh yeah, this UFO is blessed with the biggest rushed and botched ending for a long time. Quite possibly they just painted themselves into a corner and decided to call it a day. Mr Burns please, no more scripts. There’ll be worst sci-fis but none with quite as far to fall as this lump of Chewbacca bum soil. It’s like the film equivalent of Orville the Duck. It wished it could fly. Right Up To The Sky. But it didn’t. Couldn’t. But at least it tried. Let’s hope his next one is the film equivalent of Orville’s more exuberant friend, Cuddles the Monkey.
3 out of 10 - More life in a Space Hopper after a Jo Brand arse interface.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE? OH YEAH, THAT WAS TERRIBLE TOO!
- Bianca Bree: 6 Bullets, Assassination Games, The Eagle Path
- Simon Phillips: Shame The Devil, Hooligan Wars, The Last Scout, He Who Dares, White Collar Hooligan 2, Fall of The Essex Boys, The Rise and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Airborne, The Reverend (2012), Ghosted, How to Stop Being a Loser, Kill Keith, Jack Says, Jack Said, Jack Falls, The Last Seven, Just For The Record, Risen, Cut
- Jazz Lintott: Airborne (2012)
- Andrew Shim: Airborne (2012), Screwed (2011), This England, This Is England 86 (TV), This Is England 88 (TV), Once Upon A Time In The Midlands, A Room For Romeo Brass
- Peter Barrett: White Collar Hooligan 2, Fall Of The Essex Boys, GBH, The Rise and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan 1 & 2, Airborne (2012), Ghosted, Jack Falls
- Raji James: Airborne (2012), The Bill (TV), Eastenders (TV), East Is East
- Joey Ansah: I Anna, The Bourne Ultimatum
- Dominic Burns: Airborne (2012), The Reverend (2012), Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Jack Falls, Jack Said, Cut
- Sean Pertwee: Alan Partridge – Alpha Papa, The Seasoning House, Jo (TV), The Magnificent Eleven, St. George’s Day, Wild Bill (2012), Four, 4-3-2-1, Devil’s Playground, Just For The Record, Doomsday, Botched, Dangerous Parking, Mutant Chronicles, Goal, Goal II, Equilibrium, Dog Soldiers, The 51st State, Soldier, Love Honour & Obey, Cold Feet (TV), Event Horizon, Blue Juice, I.D, Shopping, Dirty Weekend, Leon The Pig Farmer
- Julian Glover: Airborne (2012), Troy, King Ralph, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, Cry Freedom, James Bond – For Your Eyes Only, The Empire Strikes Back
- Jean-Claude Van-Damme: Enemies Closer, Universal Soldier 1-4, Expendables 2, 6 Bullets, Dragon Eyes, Assassination Games, Kung-Fu Panda 2 (voice), The Eagle Path, JCVD, Knock-Off, Double Team, Maximum Risk, The Quest (1996), Sudden Death, Street Fighter, Timecop, Hard Target, Nowhere To Run, Double Impacet, Death Warrant, Wrong Bet, Kickboxer, Cyborg, Bloodsport, No Retreat No Surrender