“Alien Nation” stars James Caan and Mandy Patinkin. It co-stars many individuals that are probably unheard of by many, but that doesn’t stop this from being a particularly engaging sci-fi flick. It’s directed by Graham Baker and written by Rockne S. O’Bannon.
A few years into the future, humans become acquainted with aliens known as “Newcomers” or “Slags”. These aliens, like humans, have those who are good and those who are bad. They even have the oldest profession in the book down as one of their top careers. Det. Sgt. Mathew Sykes (James Caan) is on the lookout for a Newcomer fugitive on the loose who is responsible for the death of his partner. His new partner Det. Sam ‘George’ Francisco (Mandy Patinkin), a friendly Newcomer, is aiding Mathew on his quest. The only problem is that Mathew is racist against Newcomers, because one of them are responsible for his partner’s death.
Humans eat cooked beef, while Newcomers eat uncooked beaver. We have a drug called Heroine, while they have a drug called ss’jabroka, more potent than any human drug. We have hair, they have markings on their heads. These are just a few of the differences between humans and Newcomers. Their differences clash with social issues throughout the movie (including discrimination). This has a great concept put to good use with actors James Caan and Mandy Patinkin, who demonstrate surprisingly superior performances. I thought the make-up was exceptional on a certain level of faddism.
Nominated for four minor awards, winning the biggest one of them all (Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film), this was an enjoyable flick with a great premise and well shot action sequences. A mix between the buddy cop and sci-fi thriller genres. With more cop action than sci-fi activity, this does take a turn from a movie that could have been done better with more sci-fi effects added to it. Some luscious performances, especially from James Caan, help the film gain enough strength to become a minor cult classic.
This will surely satisfy the taste bud of fans of minor cult favorites. Adding some humor and a solemn relationship between a human and a Newcomer, I recommend that you take the time to rent “Alien Nation”. A fresh style in front and behind the camera sure help out a movie that is has a small budget, but a big heart like this one. If only this flick had more science fiction added to the ordinary buddy cop storyline. Only then this would easily qualify as a true classic.