well, after the great excitement of Eurovision 2014 last night i found myself with a trifle of adrenalin, or whatever it is that means you don't really feel of a mind to go to sleep even though it is near midnight. i decided, then, to have a gander at one of the films i bought yesterday; specifically the one that my (considerably) better half said i should watch without her being present. perfect timing, then, as she went to bed before even ladybeard out of Austria (or wherever) won.
looking at the screen grabs i have done i suspect i may be writing more on the subject of the film UFO than it warrants, which is kind of a quick review for you if you like. bit no spoiler warning just yet.
before we get to the actual film, let's have a look at the sensational trailer on the front of the DVD. here, see if this grabs your attention.
yes. the first trailer (i skipped the rest) featured a trailer for a "re-imagining" of Moby Dick. what did they have in place of a Whale? you can sort of see in that screenshot if you look carefully, but if you can't spot it or simply cannot be bothered to try, the trailer is for a film called Age Of The Dragons. so i am imagining the idea is that it is Moby Dick with dragons.
if that idea is not awesome in itself, have a look at this.
yes. it stars, if "stars" is indeed the right and respectful way of describing it, Vinnie Jones. everyone likes Vinnie. well, i do. quite a varied film career he has had, with a fair few highs and not as many lows as you might think. i am assuming that this film is a particular high, mostly because in just about every scene featuring him in the trailer he does have that class, Gandalf like pipe on the go.
also it is probably class as it has Danny Glover in it, presumably in the Captain Ahab role.
yes indeed i have ordered Age Of The Dragons on the basis of this trailer, so you can look forward to a review of it one of these days. my (considerably) better half may well watch it with me too, seeing as it has Vinnie and dragons in it. that's a winner. but in the mean time, off to the world of UFO, or that other name that it seems to have.
short and sweet review - it's perhaps not quite as bad as made out in some of the comments and reviews over on that imdb thing, but it is far from being even "average, let alone good. if for some reason you are fanatical about any of the cast, or children of famous actors, then go for it. i cannot, however, think of a specific reason why you should either go out of your way to see it, or settle to watch it when browsing through channels. i spent £1 on the disc of it and, in this era of "hey why don't we just give it all away" internet business, that was just about on the spot for value.
the film starts, and i imagine that this is in a way that baffles everyone beyond writer/director Dominic Burns, with a whole load of disjointed, linear lacking jumps throughout the rest of the film you are about to see. the only way to describe this that i can think of is Carlito's Way gone oh so very bad.
very bad because, other than in essence giving you the entire film, it all suggests this film is not, in fact, going to be worth your time watching it. unless you like the idea of seeing guns being waved about by people wearing class Bono sunglasses.
when the film, or Mr Burns, gets bored of this, we cut to one of them class nightclub / rave scenes for the credits, the kind which have been popular ever since Blade did this trick and showed people would forgive much of the film that followed if you apply a bangin' bass track to the start of it.
yes, pictured here is Sean Brosnan, sone of Pierce or however you sell it, that one that brought the qualities of a girlie, nancy boy voice to the role of James Bond.
this whole nightclub sequence takes up far, far, far too much of the film. it's like they were making a rip-off of, say, Human Traffic, and opted to change it at the last minute to some sort of space thing.
you of course get all the class elements of a "nightclub" based film - pick ups, dancing, close ups of the ladies, failed chat up moves, proposals on the roof of a car and of course punters and bouncers getting a right good kicking.
that lad in the picture above, whose name escapes me which as we will see is rather unfortunate for the purposes of this movie, ends up playing quite a central role in this movie. very, i should warn, badly.
anyway, nightclub done, hidings to bouncers and patrons handed out, off we go back to the one house in which they all seem to live for the obligatory (and reasonably explicit) sex scenes. but, in the interests of keeping some sort of initial plot idea going, for no apparent reason a TV is on, showing the news of some strange things being in the skies. actually, surely that should be "sky". we only have one sky, do we not?
oddly, one of the few triumphs of the film is in the pointless but nonetheless good selling point sex scenes. they intercut, you see, with images of that lonely lad whose name escapes me throwing up in the bathroom. the editing / cutting is strangely effective.
which is very strange when you consider the film is mostly someone just waving a camera around on a strap in respect of cinematography.
as for the sex scenes, what can i say other than Dominic Burns really, really likes Sean Brosnan's bum crack. we get shot after shot after shot of it, so it would be wrong of me not to show off here just what got the director all excited, although i have decided to censor it a bit.
so, sex scenes done, everyone passes out, wakes up and the next day it seems there is no electricity on the go. Oscar then goes out to prove that he is not lactose intolerant (no relevance to the plot) and have a chat to his neighbour.
his neighbour who just happens to be married to some top secret Government agent lady who has had to rush down to London (innit) for an emergency of some description. but neighbour does not say what it is, although he reckons he is off on a drive down to London (cor blimey) to see how she is doing.
he can't phone her, look you see, because as well as the leccy being knacked, all phones have stopped working. radio in the car is also knacked.
Sean Brosnan does what anyone would do in these circumstances. yes, with his "conquest" from the night before, Bianca Bree, the real life daughter of Jean Claude Van Damme, or if you like TRLDOJCVD, he goes for a stroll around the local precinct, presumably to show off what a twat he looks like with the collar of his jacket up and maybe to do a bit of light shopping too.
there he meets one of his army buddies, Dave or something, and Dave has knowledge that helps the plot. despite you having absolutely no f*****g clue whatsoever where in England this film is set, Dave (or whatever) informs Sean that the power being out "stretches as far as Leeds". wow. so we know the film is not set in London or Leeds, at the least.
on this stroll about, Sean and TRLDOJVCD meet another Sean that is the son of a famous actor, in this case Sean Pertwee.
Sean Pertwee plays one of those mad, deranged, mumbling tramp sort of characters that tries to imbue wisdom, warnings and advice on everyone. a sort of quasi-reverse Falstaff off of Shakespeare plays, if you like, except he isn't. that just sounded like a class way to describe him.
it sounds more class, at least, than saying he just turns up in a hoodie with a load of biro over his face.
i hope you are enjoying all of this thus far, really. i imagine that people reading this have no intention of seeing the film. if you have seen it you won't want to read of it, at the least.
for those of you wondering if i have missed out JCVD, yes and no. he appears in some of the flashforward sequences, but that's about it. patience, he is coming.
anyway, after a day of no electricity and no radio, everything is still all pleasant and calm, with everyone just chilling during the day, whereas at night it is all back to that house they live in for a jolly game of charades. well, Oscar at the least is playing charades.
a nice bit of a tribute to popular 70s and 80s TV show Give Us A Clue, this is, except it introduces a mild dose of homophobia to it all. it is probably the somewhat homophobic overtones that might well have seen Una Stubbs refuse to do a cameo in the film. she is probably quite well known for her liberalism and thus would want no part of it, what with elements of attempted narrow-minded humour on the go.
the internet says that Una Stubbs is alive, so she could have been in it if they had offered her a part in it, i suppose. Lionel Blair is alive too, apparently, and i think he was in Give Us A Clue too. quite strange an unusual to find the internet saying two celebrities are alive, but there you have it.
that making UFO a bizarre tribute, or tip of the hat, to Give Us A Clue would have improved the film considerably probably tells you all that you need to know of the film.
anyway, day two comes along, and the nice, calm, English sensibilities of just getting on with things goes out the window with everyone deciding to have smart food riots whilst indulging in minor racism.
in the interests of a minimalist cast, however, these riots and that are not all widespread, as Sean and TRLDOJCVD can go driving around empty streets and towns, looking for "things". at one point they decide to have a look for some petrol, which allows for a cameo sort of thing off of actor Julian Glover.
because when you need to add a touch of class to a film, nothing says prestige more than getting Julian Glover to play a petrol station owner. 1987 saw him appear in not 1, not 3 but an incredible 2 films relating to South Africa. 2012 (or whenever this was made) sees him playing a petrol station owner. go figure.
i am assuming that this casting was done to strengthen the advertising credentials of the film. Julian Glover was, after all, a minor and mostly ignored character in Remington Steele, a TV series that featured the father of Sean Brosnan. "come and see our film, look at how many people in it are connected to Pierce Brosnan". that seems to have been the general idea.
now that i think i am not sure that Lionel Blair had anything to do with Give Us A Clue. he may have been a partial, incidental guest every now and then, but i don't think he was a host, captain or champion. maybe he was a patron of charades or something, probably still is. oh hang on i checked and yes he was one of the captains.
just how far panic has set in features in one of the more disturbing scenes in the movie - and rather well made ones, to a degree - when Sean Brosnan and TRLDOJCVD are in a car that gets knacked by another car. them two are OK, right, but the people in the other car are mostly knacked.
Sean, with no evidence at all, decides that all hospitals and that will be really busy or just broken, and thus decides it would be best to simply do a spot of minor murder on the injured driver rather than try and help him.
lovely, that. a scene of gravitas and drama that is somewhat out of place with the dire drivel that makes up the rest of the movie. presumably this was thrown in to show off that Dominic Burns, and indeed elements of the cast, could make a proper movie but just opted not to at this stage. either that or it was a total fluke.
another dazzling scene - the last such thing in the movie - happens at the same time as the above, back in that mega-house they all seem to live in. for reasons i could not quite work out the one lass, Maya Grant (unsure if she is related to any celebrity), is left alone in the house. this leads to a pretty dynamic scene of fear and terror as she walks through a darkened, is-it-empty house.
it might well be easy to make a tense, taunt scene involving darkness, in fairness, but this one is really effective and again is far, far superior to anything else in the rest of the movie. if you were a film student, or wanting to make a spooky scary film of some description, then UFO is possibly worth a £1 flutter. considering how much people in England throw at bookies for fun and amusement, actually this might be a halfway decent gamble.
and after that brief glimmer of hope that the film might be decent, let's get back to the last part of it, which is all really rather rubbish, alas.
rather rubbish is perhaps also this review, really. sorry if it is all disjointed and features far too much of Una Stubbs for the liking of the average reader.
anyway, at some point - and i will not say why to not give all of the film away - Sean Brosnan and TRLDOJVCD decide to go to a chemist. interestingly, it is guraded by a lone copper for no given reason. no reason that you can work out either, really, as he tells them that the chemist has already been looted 2 or 3 times. except it looks quite well stocked.
actually, the reason why the scene is in is for some fancy fighting, probably to show off how class, for the benefit of potential casting agents who have somehow made it this far into the film, Sean Brosnan is at doing all that kung fu stuff, especially in slow motion.
as is required by law, this film does have a certificate classification. a "15" no less, meaning that no one under the age of 15 is legally allowed to watch it. this also means that some poor bustard at the BBFC had to actually sit through this sh!t and determine what "qualities" it had and who it should be appropriate for. i would not be shocked if they quit not long after.
the copper, it seems, was probably one of the invading aliens. them that are you would have thought the main point of the film but are seldom featured or mentioned. i think it is something to do with having a purple triangle on their body, or a proclivity to guard chemists in the hope of twatting someone that was related to a supporting cast member of Mrs Doubtfire, that lets the audience know they are aliens.
anyhow, Sean Bean (or indeed Brosnan, according to the Child of the Condiment Phoenix) (but the Child of the Condiment Phoenix says that Bean is a better idea) and TRLDOJCVD decide to just skip whatever it was they wanted at the chemist and go back to the house. where Sean Pertwee returns, steals Sean Brosnan's gun and starts doing some fancy waving about with it whilst urging everyone to read a particular passage out of the Bible. something in Matthew, i believe.
after the gun waving, some unfortunate casualties of gun waving, some procrastinating and a bit of general standing around in the rain looking cool, Sean Brosnan suggests that it would be a really good idea to go and see his old mate, who happens to live closeish on a farm and was a dead excellent, super supreme leader of all sorts of "Black Ops" hardcore military stuff.
yes, Jean Claude Van Damme turns up proper, about an hour into the movie. here he is, looking hardcore in a kitchen.
to explain the part of JCVD in this movie, other than the presence of TRLDOJCVD, one really only has to refer to the advice given by Bruce Campbell in the magnificent film They Call Me Bruce. his advice to young filmmakers in that is to scrape together a budget of US$1million and throw a fair bit of that at a recognized but minor and possibly rubbish actor to ensure that their movie gets noticed. henced Ron Jeremy appearing in a number of mainstream movies. and Larry Fishburne (or however you spell it) in Predators.
that imdb thing says the budget for UFO was in fact $2.5million. hence Julian Glover, Sean Pertwee and Jean Claude Van Damme, for no more than 5 or 10 minutes each, being in it.
the gift idea of JCVD does not work out too well.
yes, that is Oscar in the background, and another girl who i have not mentioned. is she important to the plot? sort of yes, sort of no. if you are all that bothered then you will have to watch the film.
the other thing of interest that JCVD does is have a classy kung fu fight with TRLDOJCVD. yeah, that does kind of leave a bit of a sour taste in my mouth too. you have to remember, though, that JCVD is Belgian, and very little is known at all about the society, history and politics of Belgium. in many respects, Belgium remains the last undiscovered place on earth, a final frontier if you like. this might be all perfectly normal in Belgium, then.
it seems that JCVD and TRLDOJVC have made a few films together. do they have class kung fu in all their films together? no idea, maybe i guess. perhaps someone has somehow smuggled the last 6 years of Will Smith films to Belgium, right, and that has led to a decision to turn JCVD into "the Belgian Will Smith", under which it has been determined that JCVD must appear with TRLDOJCVD in all films from now on.
as JCVD has had a career spanning some 30 years it would be strange that now is the time they have decided he must become "the Belgian Will Smith", but then again i suppose that the old saying "better late than never" is true sometimes.
and yes, since you asked, yes you do, in the last few minutes of the film, get to have a look at all these class alien and ufo things that the film promised to deliver.
but bad human actors are, and always will be, cheaper than fancy special effects. so we get to see a lot more of them than we do fancy la-de-dah aliens.
the - to put it bluntly - rejection of JCVD's classy offering of a radio as a gift of appeasement causes everyone (that survives the alien rejection) going totally bonkers, right, with it very graphically and crudely going all very Straw Dogs and the darker moments of something like 28 Days Later or even World War Z.
that all, to a degree, thankfully gets interrupted and somewhat stopped with the inexplicable and for no good reason arrival of them soldier types wearing class Bono glasses who do some fancy rescue stuff and, indeed, fancy shooting stuff too.
confused, you will be.
the ending of the film has cause some confusion and debate around those 6 or 7 people that have had the audacity, nerve and feeling of absolutely nothing better to do with their lives than to watch UFO all the way through to the end. sort of.
the last, last, last shot of the film, look you see, seems to suggest that this all two sets of aliens having a class battle over Earth. if the two different space ships on display are signs of two different alien cultures.
and that's when the credits and that all start, along with some horrid music.
phew! i think that's a pretty exhaustive and complete a review / rundown of the magic of UFO as you could wish for. if you wanted even more detail, well, best you go and spend £1 on the DVD, or whatever price you can find it for. amazon can sell it to you for more or less than that, but always more when you add the postage costs into it all.
but if you do go and watch it, well, i warned you.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!