DVD Movie Review: Occupation

By Drew Hurley 07.01.2019

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Occupation (UK Rating: 15)

A small-town rugby game in Australia gets a surprising climax when an alien warship decides to open fire on everyone in the area. Suddenly, the residents of this small town are acting out their own type of Red Dawn, fighting back against an overwhelming occupying force with guerilla tactics. Coming courtesy of Altitude Film Entertainment, this Aussie action romp is available from 21st January.

These invading aliens haven't decided just to take over Australia, as they are in the process of taking over the entire world. Since the aliens are taking on the whole world, though, it's not like the residents can just run away to safety. There may be no safety… so they fight back; these unassuming civilians suddenly becoming super warriors, stealing the alien's tech to use against their oppressors.

The aliens aren't very smart. Any invading force would likely be wise to just avoid Australia completely. That's not a commentary on the quality of life in Australia or its people, just that it has so many things there that will wreck the day of anyone who happens to stumble upon it: snakes, crocodiles, spiders, and box jellyfish. Honestly, the humans needn't fight back. Just hide out and let Mother Nature's finest do their work.

However, fight the civilians do indeed do... and not just against the aliens. Thanks to most of the cast being unlikeable human beings, they butt heads a lot. Tensions fray and the group splinters into factions; developments quickly abandoned and forgotten - all in time for the group to team up with the local military in an assault on the enemy base.


 
Acting across the board is pretty awful - lots of acting reminiscent of daytime soaps. Fitting really, since it seems that's where the majority of the cast is from - lots of seriously cheesy acting, heavy exposition drops, and scenery chewing. Leading the resistance against the alien invaders is former rugby star "Matt," played by Dan Ewing, formerly known for his time on Home and Away. He's joined by other daytime soap stars, reuniting with Stephany Jacobson, also from Home and Away, and Rhiannon Fish from Neighbours. There's one decent star, as Temuera Morrison, recently back from starring as Aquaman's dad in the recent DC movie, plays a grumpy old man searching for his family.

The film is low budget, but it doesn't look awful. The aliens in their armour look like Skeletor's Centurions from 1987's Masters of the Universe. Beneath their helmet, it's a generic "grey;" big black eyes, bald grey head. There are some dogfights that don't look too terrible, including a first-person cockpit view that's like a poor man's Independence Day.

The soundtrack is heavily disruptive, though. For some reason, the composer seemed to think that overwhelming themes were necessary all the time. If there's some big speech, there has to be an attempt at an inspirational melody drumming up. Something sad on-screen? Get the slow piano tunes ready! It's almost to the level of a parody and competes with the poor acting for the worst element of Occupation.

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

Everyone loves a little schlock in their lives, sometimes. It's exactly why MST3K is so popular. It's a thin line to walk to deliver quality schlock, though… and while this is unquestionably and unashamedly schlock, it doesn't quite reach the "so bad it's good" level, remaining in the "so bad, it's…. just bad" category. At best, Occupation is a guilty pleasure, enjoyable for a silly movie night when showing off the best of the worst films out there. Unbelievably, there's a sequel in the works, for those who do enjoy this.

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